Stereoscope – April 2010
Excerpts from early Holdrege Daily Citizen
In the 1890’s, the Hampton Hotel was one of Holdrege’s showplaces. The building was razed in 1938. Memories of the big times within its walls lingered with many of the Holdrege residents of the time. The hotel was built with brick manufactured in Holdrege. It was located at 502 East Avenue—the present site of the Holdrege Municipal Building.The brick, three-story, 75×100 ft. Hampton Hotel replaced the frame Hampton House which stood at the same location. E. S. Hampton came to Holdrege in 1885 and purchased the Commercial Hotel, which name he changed to the Hampton House. In the fall of 1887, he doubled the capacity of the hotel, and by the fall of 1888, it was a large 2-story structure. When the new brick building was built in 1891, a part of the old Hampton was moved back on the alley to the east and used as a barn.Some 900 invitations were mailed out for the gala opening of the Hampton Hotel on a Friday night, March 6, 1891. Commercial men and their friends, as well as citizens of Holdrege were all invited. There was dancing until 11 p.m. followed by a banquet. Dancing continued well into the morning hours. Hastings, McCook, Oxford, Curtis, Blue Hill and Edgar were among the towns represented. The Citizens had this to say in their report of the event: “It is doubtful, if ever there was a finer spread in the state than the banquet at the Hampton.” Guests were loud in their praise of the new hotel and its furnishings and the banquet and regal manner they were received by Landlord Hampton and wife. It is one of the finest hostelries in the state, outside Lincoln and Omaha. The building alone cost $26,500 and it has 40 rooms for guests with all the modern improvements.”Later news stories in the Citizen indicated the hotel was sold at sheriff’s sale in April of 1898 to satisfy a tax lien. It was bid in at $16,650 by the bondholders. Various other operators followed the Hamptons before the hotel was closed. Chas. Steinke bought the Hampton in 1906, purchase price at the time being reported as $25,000. Mr. Steinke and his wife were former operators of the Central Hotel, originally the Holdrege House, which in later years was known as the Selma.The Hampton Hotel was not operating at the time the city purchased the lots on which it stood in the late summer of 1938. By September 22, 1938, the building had been dismantled and the land cleared in preparation for the erection of the Holdrege Municipal Building which now stands on the site.