Excelsior Springs Historic downtown district suffers yet another setback as the old Royal Hotel, located at 210 South Street is being demolished brick by brick after part of its 122 year old structure tumbled in to the street recently.
The Royal, according to a walking tour brochure is the oldest of three hotels (Elms, Oaks Hotel and The Royal) with construction beginning in 1898. It began it’s storied life as Wholf’s Tavern, then as Snapp’s Tavern until 1905. Between 1905 and 1910, the six-story addition was added to the west part of the hotel, doubling its room capacity for guests visiting Excelsior Springs to partake of the healing waters there.
At the time, at least four major railroads served the bustling resort town known for its Lithia, Sulpher and Saline springs that were, to coin a phrase, good for what ails ya.
The Royal actually bottled its own mineral water known as Royal Salt Sulpher and was sold by the bottle to guests at the hotel. The resort hotel also offered men’s and women’s bath department with multiple tubs and treatments such as Scotch Needle Baths or active bubble baths in tubs fitted with hundreds of jets of water that physically lifted the bather off the bottom of the tub. On a side note, it is the only hotel in downtown Excelsior Springs with no history of fire.
This hand colored postcard was published by Smith Syndicate of Excelsior Springs, MO. It was mailed to Miss Ellen Hermann of Scandia, Kansas on April 18, 1917. The personal message on the back reads: “Will drop you a card this morning to let you know I am still at the old stand and will continue to be here yet for a while as far as I know. Attended a dinner given last night by the young men’s bible class of the Presby(Presbyterian) Church. I gave several readings. Best regards to all, as ever, Alice.
The Royal had sat vacant for many years and was recently purchased at auction with plans for redevelopment. The owner was attempting to secure Historic Tax Credits to aid in funding the redevelopment. City officials estimate demolition will coat over $150,000. Materials salvaged from the site will go to offset that expense.