Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kelly Hotel Welcomed Guests

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
April 14, 2009
This postcard shows the Kelly Hotel soon after construction.
This photo shows the Kelly Hotel (left) and the current Frederick Leader building. The Leader building was then known as the Mosby-Schwartz building and housed offices of Mosby-Schwartz Real Estate. A sign on the west side of the building announced “POOL HALL.” At the time, the current Leader building had a second floor (removed in the 1940s), which housed several lawyers’ offices. In the earliest years of statehood, many county offices were located in the Mosby-Schrwartz building. The Leader’s first offices were in the back part of the building. By 1916, the building was referred to as the Mosby and Fyle Building and the newspaper had taken over the whole first floor.
Kelly Hotel hosted early visitors to Frederick
In Frederick’s early days, most visitors arrived by train. They would disembark at the Frisco Depot, which was located at the tracks on West Grand, and they didn’t have to look far for accommodations. The Kelly Hotel was located just one block away at the corner of 8th and West Grand.
There may have been other places to rent a room in early-day Frederick, but by all accounts the Kelly Hotel was the nicest.
It was located next door east of the current Frederick Leader building. The hotel was an impressive three-story brick structure. It contained 50 rooms and a large dining room. Its builder was A.H. Krause, the contractor who constructed most of the buildings in downtown Frederick.
Although some written accounts and early-day pictures indicate that the Kelly Hotel was built soon after the city of Frederick was organized in 1902, a 1916 Tillman County industrial publication accurately places its construction in 1908. An early photo shows the hotel in place prior to construction of the Leader building.
Excerpts of the 1916 industrial article read as follows:
“The hotels of the city are the mediums through which the prospective residents or visitors to the city get their first impression.
“Frederick has a hotel which is without a question of doubt in keeping with the balance of the progress that has made the city so conspicuous. The Kelly hotel is known by every traveling man as one of the best along the line.
“The Kelly hotel was established in 1907. The building was built by W.H. Kelly, now deceased, in 1908. At that time the building was not as pretentious as it is today, an extensive addition being built by Mrs. Kelly the year following her husband’s death, and since that time she has conducted the hotel on the plan originally started by her husband to give efficient service and satisfaction to everyone who stops at this place.
“The Kelly hotel has in the neighborhood of 10 employees. Some of these have been with Mrs. Kelly since the hotel was first established.”
“The Kelly hotel is valued at about $35,000. It is equipped with 50 bedrooms and a dining room that will seat 32 guests. The rates charged are $2 a day.”
Four years later, in 1920, a Kelly Hotel ad in a similar publication made no reference to Mrs. Kelly but named A.P. Marsh as the Kelly Hotel’s manager and cited it as “The best $3.50 a day hotel in Oklahoma.” The 1920 ad also said that improvements and additions were planned to double the hotel’s capacity.
“Largest and best equipped hotel in Southwestern Oklahoma,” the 1920 ad boasted. “Convenient to banks, post office, and railway station.”

The Kelly Hotel is pictured in a 1920 newspaper ad.

Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s Board of Directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at

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