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Lincoln's Lindell Hotel

In September of 1968 the demolition of Lincoln's Lindell Hotel, then called the Lindell Palace, marked the end of one of Nebraska's noted hotels. Located at Thirteenth and M streets, the brick structure was completed in 1886. It eventually enjoyed the distinction of being the political headquarters for Lancaster County and for most of the state. The Sunday Journal and Star on April 1, 1962, included a capsule summary of the old hotel, which noted:

"Thirteenth and M was a hotel corner even before the pioneer Lincoln physician, Dr. A. L. Hoover, built his brick hotel there in the early 1880s. Earlier in that decade, Dr. Hoover had purchased the frame building known as the Townley [established by J. N. Townley] and operated as a boarding house. He moved this to one side to build the hotel." A. B. Hayes and Sam D. Cox in History of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska, published in 1889, said of the new Lindell: "This is a pleasant, quiet, home-like place, new and tidy, . . . It has a capacity of over 100 guests, and is furnished with the leading hotel conveniences."

The Sunday Journal and Star noted, "This hotel attracted paying guests whose names are familiar to today's younger generation. There was William Jennings Bryan, many times a guest, who made his last major home town speech from a balcony that disappeared in a post-World War I facelifting of the Lindell. Carry Nation was another famous visitor as she came to Lincoln on her temperance crusades." The Lindell reportedly operated without a bar for years, something of a novelty in pioneer Lincoln, so it became a headquarters for temperance organizations.

After Dr. Hoover gave up the Lindell, Miller & Paine became its owners. Subsequent owners included Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Palm and then Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Woodbury, who sold the historical gathering place in 1946. In 1952 the hotel was purchased by Lincoln businessman Bennett Martin. There was some talk in 1966 of restoring the Lindell to its 1880s condition, when costly carpets covered the floors, elegant furniture occupied the rooms, and the building's outstanding feature was its plumbing. The Lindell was the scene of glittering Nebraska Centennial festivities in 1967.

However, the Lindell had largely outlived its usefulness and in September 1968 was demolished to make room for a twenty-story bank and office building. A crowd of onlookers saw a three-thousand-pound steel ball hurled against the walls by a giant crane before they came crashing down. An auction was held prior to the demolition to dispose of "glassware, hall trees, potted plants, paintings and an old rolltop desk," among many other items. More than four hundred bidders competed for souvenirs from what was once Lincoln's premier hotel.

 


The undated photo on this postcard depicts the Lindell Hotel at Thirteenth and M streets, Lincoln. NSHS RG2158-411

 

(May 2011)

 

 

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Last updated `19 April 2011

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