This week’s photo in the series of Glenwood Photographs taken in 1876 by N.J. Trenham, is the “Durkee Hotel.” Located where Phil Stumpfs office is today – behind Palmer Creations (the former Glacial Printing office).
According to J.G. Whittemore in 1940, “Mr. Durkee’s Hotel located on Lot 6 Block 19. Built by Kirk J. Kinney in 1866, it was used for offices and a store. Upper rooms housed County Commissioner’s offices and all business was transacted there from 1866-1872. Pictured are George Thompson, Joseph Peacock, Mr. Stanley, Mrs. Durkee and Mr. Durkee.”
A note on another copy of the photo claims it was built in 1870 by Judge Lathrop.
I find it interesting that this was likely the actual “second courthouse” used for early commissioner meetings. Since Mr. Whittemore’s recollections are the only evidence I have at this point, I am not ready to assert that as fact. But, this large building is a likely candidate, since the building we call the “second courthouse” was probably not built until the mid 1870s.
Regardless of when it was built, it probably did not become a hotel until shortly before the photo was taken. The need for hotel accommodations in Glenwood was critical in 1876 because the Fountain House Hotel, which stood where Glenwood City Hall is today, burned to the ground in February of 1875. According to an article originally published in March 11, 1876 edition of the Pope County Press, “P. & O. Schjerden run the Glenwood Hotel and are doing as well as could be expected in a contracted and uncomfortable building.” The newspaper also featured an ad for the “Glenwood House by P. & O. Schjerden A New Hotel just opened opposite the Post Office. (Where the Nelson, Kuhn & Nordmeyer Law offices are today.) Good Beds, and Good Accommodations for both man and beast. Board by the day or week at reasonable rates.” No mention was made of any other hotel or accommodations in town.
So, our assumption is that the building in this photo was converted into a hotel at some time between March and August of 1876. The sign on the roof clearly reads “Hotel”.
It may not have remained a hotel for very long. There is an ad in the July 12, 1879 Pope County Press, for the Durkee Hotel, but it may not have been at the same location. The ad mentions a sign “Five Balls” on the corner of Green & Franklin Streets (where the Village Inn is Located today). It is not entirely clear if that is the location of the hotel – or just the sign.
A bit about D.M. Durkey. In 1866, he laid out a townsite on the Northeast side of Westport Lake. It was never developed into a community, but Mr. Durkee ran a trading post and rooming house there for many years as it was along the Red River Ox Cart Trail.
SIDE NOTE: Researching the businesses that were here in 1876 is extremely challenging because the March 11 edition of the Pope County Press is the ONLY local newspaper we have from 1876. We have microfilmed copies of the Glenwood Eagle from 1871-1874, then nothing until that single copy from 1876, one full year from May 1877-1878, then a single copy from July of 1879, then nothing until 1882. That is 8 years with only one year and 2 single newspaper editions! We know newspapers were published in those times, but as far as we know, no copies survived. Most of what we know is based on tax records and notes based on the memories of early residents.