We're expecting announcements later this week about the future of the Hotel Charitone, so this seems like a good day to haul out and reprint this article about the hotel, published in the Herald-Patriot during the November, 1923, week after it received its first guests.
For the record, according to another article in this edition of the Herald-Patriot, the hotel "was opened for public inspection in Saturday, November 3 (1923). On the following Monday, the guest rooms were thrown open and a capacity house was accommodated on that night. The dining room of the new Charitone was opened on Monday, November 12, at which time the regular hotel service was started off."
It's interesting to note that when the hotel opened, the fourth floor had not been finished but was intended to be held in reserve for expansion --- and that the elevator had not yet been installed. And keep in mind while reading that little of this remains. The building was for the most part gutted some years ago during its incarnation as a furniture store.
CHARITON'S MODERN NEW HOTEL
OFFERS 75 ROOMS; COST $100,000
Building is Fireproof and of New Type in Lucas County;
Attracts Many Visitors; Junkin & McCollough, Builders and Proprietors
Hotel Charitone has been opened by the builders, W.D. Junkin and H.F. McCollough, to the public. This stately structure which stands at the northeast corner of The Chariton public square, at the corner of Grand street and Braden avenue, is the first four-story fireproof building to be erected in Chariton, in Lucas county, and, as well, in this section of Iowa. It is the biggest building project to be launched here. The opening of the Hotel Charitone is therefore an event of importance in the community.
Hotel Charitone is in the dimensions 40x125 feet. There are with the available floor space of the former White Front building, 75 rooms. Throughout, the structure is of the most modern and approved design. Its architecture and construction are new in Lucas county building types. The former White Front hotel building has been purchased by Messrs. Junkin and McCollough and will be operated under the name of Hotel Charitone.
The corner lot on which the new structure stands was purchased by the builders from G.W. Larimer. The White Front hotel was operated formerly by Mrs. Lizzie Crips. The location is one of he best building sites in the city.
Messrs. Junkin and McCollough have long been associated with Chariton business life. Mr. Junkin during his residence here was for some years editor of the Chariton Herald-Patriot. He is at the time financially interested in this paper.
Mr. McCollough was for several years connected with the former Chariton National Bank, before that institution was merged into what is now known as the Chariton and Lucas County National Bank. For the last two years he has owned and operated a dry cleaning establishment at Albia. Mr. McCollough, who has recently taken a course of instruction in the operation of modern hotels, will be active manager of the Hotel Chariton.
The new hotel structure is modern and up-to-date in the 1923 sense of the word. It is equipped with hotel conveniences of every description. It has been the plan of the builders to erect and equip such a building as will be of greatest service to Chariton and the traveling public.
Hotel Chariton is built of face brick. Every room has lavatory and telephone. There are baths, ice water is piped to each floor, while other conveniences are found throughout the various sections of the building. A refrigeration plant will have an output of 300 pounds of ice daily, while an elevator shaft extends from the basement to the top floor making provision for this equipment to be installed later.
The lobby of the Hotel Charitone is approximately 40 feet square. Its arrangement is comfortable and will accommodate many guests. The dining room opening off of the lobby is of approximately the same dimension, and like the lobby is floored with tile. Here, too, the provision has been made for comfort and accessibility. A party room just off the dining room is elaborately funrnished and uniquely lighted. This room will seat about thrity people. A good, spacious, well lighted kitchen is also on the first floor at the east end of the building. The main entrance is on the south side of the bilding about twenty feet east of the corner.
A barber shop will soon be occupied in the front basement. This is also floored with tile. Other rooms in the basement are fitted up as sample rooms and baggage rooms. The ice plant, refrigerators, the heating boilders and other equipment are also located on the lower floor.
There are approximately 100 tons of steel in the Hotel Charitone. The only wood used in construction is found in the doors, window casings, and lobby and dining room furniture. In fact all guest room furniture is of steel, modeled after the latest patterns and nicely finished. The steel furniture as furnished by a leading furniture company of this country for use specially in Hotel Charitone is the first steel furniture to be placed in an Iowa hotel. Several modern, larger hotels in eastern cities have been furnished with the new type, but in Iowa it is said that Hotel Charitone is the first to be so equipped.
Such a building as is Hotel Charitone cannot spring into place without plans mapped out and well defined. For this structure, W. L. Perkins, local architect, drew the lines which were accepted and followed as day after day the building took the intended form. P.E. Johnson and Sons held the general contract and theirs was the responsibility of constructing rapidly but well. Mr. Johnson and his sons, through the nine months required for the building, were constantly on the site and superintended and guided the labors that brought to materiality without a serious hitch this modern, steel and brick, four-story structure. G.W. Ensley & Company, local hardware firm, had the contract for the plumbing.
Hotel Chariton will fill a great need. That is has been built to serve, however, not only the pressing need of the present, but as well the needs of natural growth of the community in which it has been erected, is indicated by the fact that the builders carried to materiality a fourth and extra story. The three floors will accommodate the present patronage, it is believed. The fourth floor is ready to equip on short notice that the service of the Hotel Charitone may be extended many rooms. Looking to the future, provision has also been made in the new lobby to accommodate a downtown office of the Western Union Telegraph Company. The necessary inside wiring connections for such an office have been made.
Ground was first broken for Hotel Charitone on Monday, February 5th. Nine months after or on November 3, the building was thrown open, completed, for public inspection. A large force of men was employed through the summer that the building might be completed on scheduled time.
There is much for the eye to see in Hotel Charitone. Numerous details which cannot be listed and described must be inspected to be appreciated.
The guest will not realize, perhaps, when occupying a room at Hotel Charitone that he is in a room that cost more thatn $1,400 to construct and equip. For the hotel represents an expenditure beyond $100,000.
The view of the hotel given here shows the architectural lines of the exterior. The west and south fronts are of mat(te) face brick. The entire four walls, for that matter, are of face brick. On the north side along the entire length, there is at the top of the first story an area of 8 feet which allows the guest room windows of the second, third and fourth floors on the north to be exposed to light and air, nothwithstanding in later years a building of the height of of Hotel Charitone might be erected immediately joining. The photograph cannot show as well as can be told that the construction of the building throughout, is of steel, reinforced concrete, and brick. The whole building is thoroughly fireproof.
The entrance from the south on Braden avenue leads direct to the lobby. The lobby is a magnificent room. The ceiling is 12 feet high. The pillars are of steel encased in gypsum. The walls are finished in water and oil colors, the frieze in pleasing patterns, the wood work of oak, the clerk's desk of oak. The room is lighted by large handsome fixtures. The cigar stand is at the end of the clerk's desk, while the telephone switchboard is at the rear of the person on duty. In the lobby are found the ladies' reception corner, the lounge furniture and writing desks. In this room there is a profusion of rockers, arm chairs and davenports.
The dining room is charmingly decorated and furnished in shades of blue and ivory. The dining room furniture is of plain design and adapted expecially for their use. Windows to the street along the entire south frontage of this room are plate glass. Provision has been made in the dining room for the installation of the latest type of radio receiving apparatus. Soon, it is expected, the guests will hear with their meals the strains of orchestra music coming from either coast. In the smaller party room off the northeast corner of the dining room, the built-in china closets are of beauty. This room with its handsome furnishings will be used for parties, club luncheons and other functions.
In the kitchen there is much to awe the housewife. The large range has two ovens while meat blocks, serving tables and fixtures indicate the activity that belongs here. A refrigerator, connected with the ice plant in the basement, will at all times keep cool the dishes that may be placed in it. The refrigerator stores no ice, but keeps a constant frost temperature. A number of small compartments enable the individual and separate cooling of foods. The kitchen is a large wholesome room designed especially to facilitate Hotel Charitone dining room service. Over the kettles there is a vent shaft. The range, boileres, steamers, kettles, are all of the latst manufacture. The utensils and trays are all of aluminum.
The basement barber shop is finished in white and will be thoroughly up-to-date and sanitary in all its appointments. A shower bath is equipped in connection. This shop will be equipped and operated by Ben P. Cunningham, well known Chariton barber. The bgasement general store room is concrete floor throughout and well drained, dry and wholesome.
On the first bedroom floor the straight hall will be observed. This hall as on the upper floors, is four feet nine inches wide, carpeted. The walls and the ceiling are painted in ivory and green with celiing globe lighting. One each floor are separate public toilets for men and women, closets, plugs for the vacuum clearning system, etc.
The bedroom doors are of cypress. All door knobs are glass. There are a number of bath rooms, the tubs of porcelain built into the wall and floor. The rooms are white enameled with floors of ceramic tile.
The woodwork of the bedrooms is cypress. The carpets are in blude shades, this color predominating throughout the building. There is a consistent color scheme and all furnishings are put to harmonize with the carpeting colors. The windows are draped to harmonize and have stone color shades. Escapes from the building as required by law are found at the rear.
Opening a new hotel is more than a ceremony of opening a door. Every room must have its furniture, and in Hotel Charitone it must be furniture of the best grade. This determination led the builders to investigate and purchase the new metal furniture which is free from sagging, warping, cracking and other ills usually fallen heir to by light wooden pieces. With all, the investment in furnishing in each room represents a large sum.
Hotel Chariton is to stand in a class by itself for towns of the size of Chariton. There is now, it is said, no hotel in a county seat town in this section which approaches Hotel 'Charitone in service, comfort and moderate rates. It is the aim of the builders to put and keep Hotel Chariton in the king row with the traveling public.