The Albany Hotel

Coming Soon: The Albany Hotel Sign Restored

This week we were told by the City of Excelsior Springs’ Neighborhood Specialist Laura Mize, that a Certificate of Appropriateness was applied to repaint The Albany Hotel sign back on the building. You can still see the letters from The Albany faintly on the front of the building on South Street, but the owner intends on having it fully repainted to look like it did over 100 years ago!

The Albany Hotel today • Photo by Mackenzie Cole

Historical Background (Provided by City of Excelsior Springs)

Photo from City files

This structure was constructed between 1905 and 1907, adjacent to the main frame building of the Albany Hotel at 408 South Street. The Albany was the only hotel for black people in Excelsior Springs. For the most part, the residents worked in the hotel and clinics, and were long-term renters. In 1908, the Albany was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Stanford King. Mr. King constructed this building next door to house his cleaning business, K.C. Steam Cleaning. While the 1st floor was available for commercial purposes, the upstairs was used as boarding rooms for the Albany. The two structures had 25 rooms, described in an early newspaper article as “neatly and comfortably furnished”. There were electric lights and “ample provision for sunlight and ventilation”. Guests were allowed the use of the parlor, piano, veranda and yard with its shade trees. By 1917, the owners of the Albany were Marie E. and H.B. White. H.B. White also operated a barber shop in the 1st floor of the brick structure. In 1922, the Albany Cafe was in one of the two businesses on the 1st floor of 410-412 South Street. Also in the building at one time was a grocery and a feed store. After the White’s, the next owners of the Albany were Mr. and Mrs. Roy Monroe. Across the street was the city’s hitch lot (the current parking lot is still referred to by that name). Behind the Albany was a settlement known as “the Bottoms”, which was reached by a swinging bridge across the creek. After one flood, the foundation of the frame Albany was so badly damaged as to require its demolition.

Photo from City files

The Albany has retained a fair degree of architectural integrity and is representative of a small hotel/boarding house which also housed commercial enterprises on the 1st floor. Although it was not considered the main structure of the Albany, it was owned and operated with that hotel and is the only extant structure. It was the only hotel which accommodated black people during the historic period of Excelsior Springs development. However, a black physician, Dr. D.A. Ellett, owned and operated the Star Bath House. In addition, W.A. Doxey and wife were “practical bathers” and masseurs, and had parlor across from the Sulpho Saline Pavilion. As a general rule though, the black business people involved with the mineral waters in Excelsior Springs provided services for white clientele. The Albany was the only “hotel” which was operated soley for black clients. As such, it is a significant structure for its association with not only the historic context of the city, but for its association with minority history as well. Further research may confirm its individual eligibility to the National Register. It would be a contributing element in a thematic nomination which described the “Hotels – 2nd class” property type. It is also an important local landmark, and is worthy of local designation.

1 thought on “Coming Soon: The Albany Hotel Sign Restored”

  1. Glad to hear the owner plans to restore this historical piece of Excelsior Springs history. Drive by it often and was afraid it would fall into further disrepair and be forever lost. Welcome news for this town!

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