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Rogers Historical Museum  


Photo of the Month

Life in the Palace of the Ozarks

Much has been written about the historic Lane Hotel. Many people are familiar with its distinctive architectural features and its former place as a center of community activity. This wonderful building continues to be an important landmark in downtown Rogers as well as in the memories of people who knew it during its heyday.

During the first half of the twentieth century, the Lane Hotel epitomized luxury. Professional service and elegant surroundings were hallmarks of the hotel. Known as the Harris Hotel by the mid 1930s and the Hotel Arkansas by the early 1950s, it was above all thought of as the “Palace of the Ozarks.”

“Make the Harris your vacation headquarters,” said a two-page advertisement in a 1950 issue of the Rogers Daily News. “Whether it is a week, two weeks or a week-end, the Harris offers you traditional hospitality that is your assurance of carefree relaxation. You can drive here in a very short time, leaving your cares behind you.” This fine reputation also extended nationally and, in one case, a late 1940s television game show awarded a honeymoon at the Hotel Arkansas as a prize. It was truly a destination.

But this reputation depended on people. The employees that brought the hotel to life promised to follow “the principles for Better Hotel Keeping” and strived to provide for the “comfort, convenience, and security of its guests and to the development of the community.” In this way, the “Palace of the Ozarks” also became a place for community members to gather. The hotel served the community as a location for wedding receptions, service club meetings, parties, lodging for visiting college sports teams, and business meetings. The Daisy Corporation, for example, often held sales meetings in the ballroom of the hotel.

For nearly half of the Palace’s history, operations were the responsibility of Forrest L. Calvin, who managed the hotel from 1943 to 1958. The Calvin family, pictured at bottom right, came to Rogers from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where Mr. Calvin had previously managed the Duncan Hotel. His leadership and experience maintained the prestige of the Harris Hotel and made it the destination for businessmen, vacationers, and community members that it was.

As a benefit of his position, the family lived in the manager’s apartment, which was located below the Orchard Room Restaurant at the rear of the hotel. Pictured at top right is the entry to the apartment in the early 1950s. The hotel business, however, changed during the late 1950s as public taste for automobile travel increased. Many people began patronizing modern motels that provided road-side convenience and allowed guests to park cars at the entrance to their rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin briefly left Rogers at that time, but returned to manage the ultra-modern Sands Motel, which was built in 1961 and located at the corner of West Walnut Street and Highway 71. In 1963 the “Palace of the Ozarks” closed. Mr. Calvin retired from the hotel business in 1970.

Kay Calvin Sanford, daughter of Forrest and Louise Calvin, grew up in the hotel during this time. She graciously shared her unique perspective on life in the “Palace of the Ozarks” with the Rogers History Club at its March 2010 meeting. Please click on the links below to listen to portions of that program.

Coming to the Palace of the Ozarks (1:35)
The Orchard Room and the Manager's Apartment (3:43)
The Chauffeur’s Room (1:35)
The Restaurant Staff (3:19)
Center of Town Activity (2:50)
Running the Elevator During Football Season (3:13)
 

More Photos of the Month

People:
Rogers Academy Class of 1896
Applegate Family
Bingham, George H.
John Black and Hugh “Tater” Black
Blackburn, J.A.C.
Blaylock, Sarah
Carter, C. Jimmie
Clarke, A.O.
Curry, Dr. William Jasper
Decker, Charles
Felker, William R.
Ford, Edsel
Funk, Erwin
Harvey, Coin
Hawkins, Harold and Frank Jr.
Hill, Fred
Jacobs, Thomas
Keck, Jack
Key, Vera
Kirksey, Birch
Lingle, Greer
Lockhart, Tracy
McNeil, Tom
Means, Joe
Morgan, Tom
Morsani, Al
Myler, John
The Sagers
Sikes, J. Wade

J.L. Shinpaugh, Rogers City Marshal
Steele, John Bell and Mary Van Winkle
Thaden, Louise
Rice, Dr. Rufus S.
Rogers, Betty Blake
Rogers, C.W.
Rogers Dough Boys
Rogers, Will

Tribble, Letsie
Truman Boling, Master Builder

Vick Will

Places:
Beaver Dam
Beaver Lake
Butterfield Trail
Camp Joyzelle
Confederate Monument
Coin Harvey’s Spring Lake and Falls
Lake Atalanta
Monte Ne
Old Highway 12 Bridge
Park Springs Park
War Eagle
The Amphitheater at Monte Ne
Silica Mining
Frisco Tunnel at Winslow
Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista
The Ozark Bluff Dwellers
Fisherman's Camp
Kruse's Gold Mine
Highway 71
Hanging Tree

Businesses:

The Apple Industry
Callahan's Station
Cattle Ranching
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Daisy Manufacturing
Decker Motor Co.
Dyke Lumber Co.
Hailey Motor Co.
House of Webster
McNeil Chevrolet
Munsingwear
Poultry Industry
Pressing Sorghum Cane
Rogers Champion
Rogers Hardware Co.
Rogers Transfer & Storage
Suzie-Q Malt Shop
Wal-Mart

Wendt-Sonis

Schools:
Rogers Academy
Rogers High School
Sunnyside Elementary School

Buildings:
The Applegate house
112 South First Street
Bank Of Rogers Building
Benton County Jail
B.F. Sikes Log Cabin
Central Methodist Episcopal Church
J.B. Steele House, 303 South First Street
Juhre Building (1894)
Golden Rule Building (circa 1894)
Lane Hotel
Love's Sanitarium
Mutual Aid Union Building
Palace of the Ozarks
Rogers City Hall
Rogers City Jail
Rogers Milling Company
Rogers Opera House
Rogers Post Office
Rogers Wholesale Grocery Company
The Key Wing
The Stroud Building (1899)
The Victory Theater
James and Sally McDaniel Home

The Stroud Home
The Tribble House
The Rocky Branch School

Organizations:
206th C.A. A.A
Home Demonstration Club
Rogers First Elks Lodge
Rogers Garden Club
Women's Study Club/Mas Luz Club
Benton County Possum Hunters
Rogers High School Football Team 1921
Rogers High School Marching Band 1942
936th Field Artillery Battalion in the Korean War
1960's Rogers High School Spirit
Arkansas State Guard in WWII

Events:

Apple Blossom Festivals
Benton County Fair
Bolin Murder Inquest 
Ozark Golden Jubilee
Rogers Centennial Posse
Rogers Diamond Jubilee (1956)
Santa's Rocket Sleigh
Sledriding
The Arrival of Santa Claus (1945)
The Brightwater Train Wreck (1907)
The Great Car Skate on Lake Atalanta (1940)
Thanksgiving (1904)
The Last Reunion of Pea Ridge Veterans

Other:

Baseball
Cars
Chemical Engine
Christmas Memories
Frisco Railroad
Halloween
Mining in Northwest Arkansas
Natural Resources
Rogers' Congregational Church
Rogers Fire Department
Rogers Police Cars
St. Mary's Hospital
Tobacco and Benton County
Still Busting near Bentonville
Roadwork
John Boat
Quilts
Tall Tree Tales

Civil Defense in the 1960's
Early Cars
Rogers Yuletide
Brick Streets
Rural Road Work

 


 

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