Last week we ran a postcard photo of the old Central Hotel, and after it ran we had a couple of calls letting us know that it did not stand where the Gun Tavern is located. Instead, we found that it used to stand a little further south—in the area where the Round Up is now located. The source we used had picked up the wrong name by mistake and we apologize for the error.
The Central Hotel was one of many hotels in the town of Cedar Springs during the early days of the village. It’s not known exactly when it was built, but it was a town landmark, and advertised as early as 1902 in a track and field day program. It was bought in 1905 by the J.M. Hart family, and they ran it for many years.
According to the Cedar Springs Story by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, people recalled the hey-day of the hotel, “when buggies lined up for blocks, and guests from nearby towns waited to get inside for one of Mother Hart’s famous dinners.”
The hotel was destroyed in a fire on July 23, 1943. One of the people that called us this week, Shelby Reyburn, of Algoma Township, told us that his brother-in-law, Floyd White, discovered the fire. Only a lad of 16, Floyd was in town with a friend early in the morning, when he saw the smoke. Shelby said Floyd ran in and saved at least one man’s life—a Gordon Thompson—by waking him up. “He said it started in the pressing and ironing part of the laundry,” said Reyburn.
The fire burned three businesses and half a block on Main Street. The Central Hotel, Cedar Springs Cleaners and Mulford Lunchroom all perished in the blaze, at an estimated loss of $35,000. The hotel, operated at the time by George Oppenneer, suffered the heaviest loss at $25,000.