Postcard from 1916, right after opening
The lobby of the Hotel Muehlebach, with its thick Oriental rugs, writing desks, tall lamps, potted palms, lounge chairs and a roaring wood fire, is pictured on an old promotional post card, one of a set, put out by the hotel shortly after it opened in1916.
George E. Muehlebach, Jr., started working for the brewery after his graduation from Spalding's Business College. In 1905 after the death of his father he became president of the brewery.
As a teenager, George had played first base on the Muehlebach Brewing Company’s Pilseners baseball team, spawning a keen interest in the sport. He owned the Kansas City Blues, twice American Association champions, from 1917 to 1932. Muehlebach built a half-million dollar ballpark at 22nd and Brooklyn in 1923, the only park in its league free of billboards. Under various names, Muehlebach Stadium was Kansas City’s ballpark until the Truman Sports Complex was built.
Street-view, 1930. Aren't the cars a hoot?
The original 12-story building was constructed in 1915, designed by Holabird and Roche. The site used for the hotel was one formerly occupied by the old First Baptist church, a frame building built in 1880, the gift of Col. And Mrs. W. H. Harris. Land and church cost $30,000.Services were held there until 1908, when the congregation sold the church and site for $150,000, took their pipe-organ and moved temporarily to Thirteenth and Broadway. They later built a new stone church at Linwood avenue and Park street at a cost of $100,000.For five years the old Twelfth street church stood empty, used only for ballyhoo, annual shows, an occasional menagerie and whisky advertisements.
The Muehlebachs started tearing down the old landmark in June, 1913, and financing their plans for a big hotel.The hotel was extended west to Wyandotte street in 1952 and four years later the 17-story Muehlebach Towers was added on Wyandotte. The hotel was remodeled in the 1970s and closed in the 1980s. Marriott bought hotel in 1996 as an annex to their downtown hotel. Two years and millions of dollars were spent restoring the hotel in accordance with historic preservation guidelines as the hotel is both a state and federal landmark.
After all that... NO! You don't get to see the chairs yet. That is in my next post. :)
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Star, A Writer's Haunts: Where He Worked and Where He Lived.