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Old hotel mystery much clearer

Old hotel mystery much clearer

May 16th, 2018 by David Wilson in Local News

The Central Hotel, after 1887, on the site of today's Smith-Burke Park. (Photo courtesy of Moniteau County Historical Society)

With a lot of diligence, additional work, and a lot of reading, James Albin of the Moniteau County Historical Society has determined more of the facts about the house/hotel, which was at one time on the property now-known as Smith-Burke Park.

First of all, as Albin reported in Letter to the Editor, the Missouri Pacific Railroad did not own a hotel in California. That idea had been circulated following the reveal of the California Progress Inc.'s first mural, highlighting the town's railroad history.

When the railroad came through in 1858, it was unlikely there was anything on the lot in question. At that time, the land was generally sold, with it seldom mentioned if there was anything on the property.

Albin has been able to determine that the hotel was built by Thomas Smith in 1877 and originally named the Occidental Hotel. By 1887, it was known as the Central Hotel.

By 1908, it was a private residence. In 1914, Dr. John Burke bought it from Smith. Incidentally, Albin discovered Burke was married to Alice Smith, daughter of the man who had it built originally.

There is undoubtedly more to be discovered, and Albin will continue to read and follow the old newspaper articles and advertisements to get as much information as possible about this lost historic structure.