EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
Names are always interesting and their source equally intriguing. How names originated has a fascinating aspect to a great many people.
The Phoenix Hotel (which was located at the southeast corner of South Main and Main Cross streets) had been the location of a hotel since the very early days of the community. It got its name through a contest which its management conducted in the closing days of 1899. A prize of a $10 gold piece was offered for the best name for the hotel, which was then known as the Marvin. The winner, who suggested the Phoenix Inn, was M.C. Russell, of Maysville, Ky., who was a frequent guest of the hotel.
A new management later changed the name to “Phoenix Hotel.”
Several hundred names were suggested in the contest, which attracted much interest. The management had made known that on Christmas day, in 1899, it would announce the results of the contest and the winning name and its author.
Frederick S. Andrews was the owner and innkeeper of the establishment at the time. Oliver C. Berry was “superintendent,” a title not usually associated with hotels these days.
In an advertisement in the local dailies, after the contest results had been made known, the “Inn” was described as “modern in all respects,” with rates as follows: $2 per day, with rooms with bath costing $2.50 per day.
The suggested names covered a wide range. The newspapers carried the entire list, covering a half column of space in small type. Some of them were:
Andrews Hotel, Andrews House, Algonquin, Alpine, Alabama, Blanchard, Belvedere Hotel, Brilliant City Hotel, Brunswick, Buckeye, Cosmopolitan, Concordia, Columbus, Dewey House, Eureka, Findlay Waldorf, Grand Hotel, Hancock Hotel, Imperial, Ivanhoe, Jupiter, Lincoln Inn, Mansion House, McKinley, Northern Light, New Century, National Ohio House, Olympia, Palace, Queens Hotel, Revere House, Round House, Superior, Trenton Inn, Traymore, Victoria, Wyandot, Washington, Windsor.
The Phoenix site at the southeast corner of South Main and East Main Cross streets has been the location of a hotel in Findlay since around 1830. There have been many names associated with the hotels and inns on this site over the years. Some of them are as follows:
Findlay Caravansary, Reed’s Hotel, American House, Belding House, Commerical Hotel, Humphrey House, Marvin Hotel and then the Phoenix Inn.
Other early hotels also underwent many name changes over the years.
The Fort Findlay, for instance, which dated back to 1840 as a hostelry, was preceded by these names:
Green Tree Tavern, Traveler’s Rest, Schwab House, Siddall House, Franklin Hotel, Irvin Hotel and Marvin House, Sherman House, Hotel Benton, the Tavern, Altmeyer Hotel and then Fort Findlay.
The Northview Hotel on North Main street between and Center and Cherry streets also had number of names. Some of them are:
Arlington, Gorrell, Benjamin Franklin and then Northview.
Findlay’s first hotel, or tavern as they were known in the pioneer days, was kept by Benjamin Cox, the community’s first actual settler, back in 1815. He took over a small story-and-a-half hewed log house which had been erected by a man named Thorp, who had come along with Gen. William Hull’s army in 1812 and stayed here a while. He was a sutler, or one who follows the army and sells provisions.
When Cox left the area after a few years, Wilson Vance who had come to lay out the town of Findlay after his brother, Joseph, and some associates had bought the area from the government, continued the tavern.
In 1828, William Taylor, an early pioneer, opened the “Findlay Inn,” which later changed hands but which remained a hotel for a good many years at the northwest corner of South Main and West Main Cross streets.
The next inn was opened at the site of the present Fifth-Third Bank by John Bashore. This was in 1829. In the meantime, Jeremiah Case opened a hotel on the site of the Phoenix. These two establishments were later merged and the business continued on the Phoenix site.