Early in the existence of many towns in Iowa the hotels played an important role in the life of the business communities. Stories of these hotels are fascinating to read. One of the first on the Sidney square was the Crozier House, but we know little about this early hostelry.
In 1916 the Crozier House was purchased by James Reade Sr. and renamed the Hotel Sidney. Although the building has a number of uses currently, you can still see the name HOTEL SIDNEY on the front of the building on the west side of the Sidney square
In 1931 James Reade, Jr. and his wife Mildred took over management of the hotel and they and their surviving daughter moved into its first floor. Their eldest daughter died in 1926 at the age of one year and, as was the custom of that day, her body was brought to the residence in the hotel of the Senior Reades for the visitation of friends and relatives. We can only conclude that this was an unusual experience for the hotel.
For many years Hotel Sidney was important to travelers as well as locals who lived there on a monthly basis. When Sidney had a daily train service many salesmen came to town on the 8:30 a.m. train and departed the following morning at 5:00 a.m. The hotel even provided taxi service to and from the train depot located at the east edge of town to their hotel.
There was a large dining room at the back of the first floor of the hotel. It had a polished wood floor, large west windows that made the room light and sunny, and neatly arranged square tables. It was well known for its excellent food. Mildred Reade was the cook and server during their time as managers. The courthouse workers from across the street were regular customers for the noon dinners.
There was a wooden floor in the basement and some time in the early history of the hotel it was a skating rink. The Reade's daughter Donna Rae and her friends and cousins used the basement for their private skating rink.
The spacious front lobby was like many hotels with a large desk where customers could check in. A broad staircase led upstairs to the rental rooms. This lobby also served as a gathering place. Jim frequently hosted friends who came to play cards with him.
The Fremont County Historical society would like to know more about the early hotels in the county for each of them must have stories to tell. We would be interested to know more about them. If anyone has any memory of the foods served or if, miraculously, a menu might have survived since those days, we would like to know. Share information with the historical society president Lona Lewis, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Much of the information for this Attic came from THUMBPRINTS IN TIME, THE HISTORY OF FREMONT COUNTY, a history book of the county still available at the genealogy department of the county historical museum.