Happy Birthday, Hotel Will Rogers!

Happy Birthday, Hotel Will Rogers!

Will Rogers Hotel Claremore, Okla 1970

“Hotel Will Rogers.” Location: the northeast corner of Lynn Riggs and Will Rogers Boulevards. Built in 1929 – ’30. Grand opening February 1930. Postcard “Tichnor Quality,” Postmarked 1970. “Dedicated to Will Rogers, the World’s Greatest Humorist, Claremore, Okla., U.S.A.” “Hotel Will Rogers – featuring ‘That Eastern Atmosphere, Western Welcome and Southern Hospitality’ – Just after the dedication, February 7, 1930, Will Rogers said; regarding his hotel, ‘I was more proud to see my name in electric lights in my old home town on an institution, built for service to the public than I ever was on the biggest theater on Broadway.’”

This year, February 2020, the Hotel Will Rogers celebrates 90 years of serving the Claremore community and its guests. Built in 1930, it is appropriate to share the story of this iconic Route 66 landmark, located on the northeast corner of Lynn Riggs and Will Rogers Boulevards.  Because of the forward-thinking of the Rogers County Historical Society and other investors, this grand hotel is as beautiful today as it was 90 years ago. The following is an article that appeared in the Claremore Progress, February 7, 1930, the week of the Hotel Will Rogers’s grand opening.  Our special thanks to Susan Caperton and Lue Barndollar for sharing this newspaper article with us.

“$275,000 Hotel Ready for Formal Opening –

The Hotel Will Rogers, Thoroughly Modern Hostelry Is Far Cry From Early Days When Will Rogers Was With Us – New Hotel Has 90 Rooms And All Modern Conveniences – Complete Bathing Department On The Sixth Floor And There Is Also Ball Room and Banquet Room In New Structure.

“February 7th may mean just the completion of the first week in February to many cities of Oklahoma, but to Claremore and Rogers county it is a red-letter day – a day of days – as it were when the Hotel Will Rogers is formally opened.

“For months the citizens have watched the structure grow from a hole in the ground to a complete hotel of which there are many larger but few finer. It is in every way a hotel worthy to bear the name of Claremore’s best-known son.

“It is a far cry from the shack rooming houses of the days when Will Rogers was among us to the hotel of today and when Will comes to town now for his occasional visit he may enter one of the guest rooms and imagine himself in one of the nation’s largest cities if his vivid imagination will supply something to fit in for the noises of the elevated railways and shrieking taxicabs.

“The estimated cost of the Hotel Will Rogers is $275,000 and it contains 90 rooms of which 68 are equipped with private bath and every other convenience including hot and cold water, telephones, steam heat, electric ceiling fans. Every room is carpeted and every bed is equipped with the world-famed Simmons Beautyrest mattress and the last-named feature should make a big hit with the folks who come to town with rheumatic pains to partake of the healing waters that flow from the Hotel Will Rogers’ Radium wells.

“The Radium baths department occupies the entire sixth floor with the exception of the space occupied by the Springer Clinic. There are fourteen tubs in this department and 150 baths per day may be given. Every convenience and every modern appliance has been included in the equipment of the baths department.

“Space in the baths department is equally divided. The ladies’ department occupies the east side and the men’s department on the west side of the top floor. Each of these departments has a lounging room which has various exercising machines for the use of bathers.

“There is a ballroom and a banquet room. The mezzanine floor which will be one of the attractive spots of the hotel is fully carpeted with charming draperies and writing desks. It will be a popular meeting place for the ladies.

“Concerning the personnel of the Hotel Will Rogers. The operating company is the Claremore Hotel Company with the following officers: M.R. Harrison, president; Walter Krumeri, vice president; Louis Abraham, secretary and treasurer. Morton R. Harrison is managing director. The chief clerk is Elmer Ashley and the other clerk is Archie Cooper. There are six bellhops who are attractively togged. Dorothy Clift is manager of the Coffee Shop.

“Messrs. Harrison, Krumeri and Abraham put their good money into the Hotel Will Rogers and are thoroughly sold on the future of Claremore as a watering-place to become known among the leading Spas of the country. In financing the hotel these gentlemen were assisted by the American-First Trust Co., of Oklahoma City, who handled the issue of the first mortgage bonds.

“The management established a regular income before the hotel was opened by negotiating an advantageous lease with Montgomery Ward & Co., for a period of ten years at a figure that about takes care of the interest on the first mortgage bonds.

“All Claremore is today rejoicing with these gentlemen who have accomplished all they set out to do and more and the city now has a home for those away from home to which it can ever point with pride.” [1]

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Source:

[1] Claremore Daily Progress.  (Claremore, Oklahoma), Vol. 18, No. 202, Friday, February 7, 1930.

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