Sedalia, MO

Historic Hotel Bothwell built in 1927 is still active in Sedalia, Missouri

CJ Coombs
Sign for the Bothwell Hotel in Sedalia, Missouri.Photo byDavid Reber, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hotel Bothwell is an old hotel located at 103 East Fourth Street in Sedalia, Missouri (Pettis County). This historic hotel was built in 1927. The architect was a Chicago firm, H.L. Stevens & Company, and the architectural style is Classical Revival. The hotel was built with reinforced concrete and made of tan brick and stone trim. On September 8, 1989, this hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also located in the Sedalia Commercial Historic District.

John H. Bothwell opened this hotel on June 10, 1927. It cost $400,000 to build. It originally had 109 rooms. Interestingly, in 1959, actors Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming were at the hotel promoting the television series, Rawhide.

In 1988, the hotel became a facility for senior living and changed its name to Kensington Bothwell.

I think it's very interesting that in 1998, Doyle Furnell, a former bellboy for Hotel Bothwell, actually bought and restored this hotel. The hotel lobby is so beautiful.

The Hotel Bothwell is a significant remnant of the rapid commercial development of Sedalia following 1900. (Source.)

In small towns, having a hotel in your community seemed to represent your town was thriving. It was standard to have a grand lobby, a dining area with a coffee shop and restaurant, and commercial storefronts at the ground level. Hotel Bothwell is an example of a hotel that was a part of the movement of hotels in growing communities.
Hotel Bothwell, an Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice International, Sedalia, Missouri.Photo byHotel Bothwell/Facebook.

Some hotels had spectacular ballrooms. Some represented a meeting hall where people in the community could socialize and meet. The growth of these hotels would change with the Great Depression.

The Bothwell has represented a well-preserved commercial hotel from the hotel movement in Missouri. It's still the largest example of an early 20th Century commercial hotel in its region in Pettis County.

The Sedalia men leading the hotel campaign had in mind a building comparable to the modern commercial hotels in large cities like St. Louis. Their selection of the H.L. Stevens architectural firm emphasized their placement of great significance on the architecture and design of the hotel. (Source.)

Sedalia, Missouri was platted in 1857. Much of its early development was centered on railroad lines and businesses like grocery stores, drugstores, and dry goods. In the late 1800s, the development of industries began with mills, brickyards, and agricultural machinery companies.

The Hotel Bothwell was built during the last significant phase of commercial growth in Sedalia between 1915 and 1930. (Source.)

Other notable buildings constructed in the time frame of the hotel include the courthouse (1924), Smith High School (1925), Sedalia National Bank and Third National Bank buildings (1929), Bothwell Memorial Hospital (1930), and many homes.

If you live in Missouri, then you can probably think of one of the main reasons why Sedalia would need a hotel or two. The Missouri State Fair. Annually, thousands of people, including tourists attend the Missouri State Fair which continues to operate today.

John Homer Bothwell and Sedalia

Sedalia was home to John Bothwell from 1871 until 1929 when he died. He is a notable figure as far as the growth of Sedalia and understanding progress. He also founded the West St. Louis Water & Light Company in 1902. He was active in Pettis County politics and was an assistant prosecuting attorney and circuit court judge.

The idea of a new hotel in 1924 was also associated with the announcement that two highways were going to intersect in Sedalia. One was Highway 50 going east and west, and the other was Highway 65 running north and south.

In 1925, Bothwell, a well-known Missouri lawyer, gifted Sedalia the means to construct a hotel, local hospital, and school. Bothwell was a landowner which included having built the Bothwell Lodge in 1879, which is also a state historic site. He was also president of the Sedalia National Bank. Bothwell wanted a nice hotel where the families of patients could stay as well as accommodate the needs of other professionals. The city also needed lodging for the people attending the state fair.

The hotel opened under the management of the Sweet Hotels Company. This was the same company that managed hotels in Kansas, The Savoy in Kansas City, and The Tiger in Columbia.

The first floor of the hotel and its storefronts played a role in the community. There have been shops, restaurants, and bars operating in the space. By the 1930s, the commercial development of Sedalia was slowing down. Due to the Depression, Hotel Bothwell was granted a moratorium on rent so they could keep the business going.

And the business of this hotel is still going strong.

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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