Mr. McDonald was so
well respected that he was featured in the famous June 12, 1896 edition of the Twice-A-Week News. He grew up in Tuskeego and moved to Kellerton about the time the railroad came through
(1879). He, too, would later own a hotel in Mount Ayr, the Mount Ayr House. In September 1896 an addition was constructed onto the hotel. Mr. McDonald then leased the hotel to Odd Fellows, who
put Mr. E. L. Brown in charge. A year later, constables confiscated liquor from the hotel and McDonald got his hotel back. He then traded the lodging to McCandless & Woollums.
3, 1900, the Kellerton Post Office was movd to the front room of the hotel. It was a common practice for hotels to rent spaces to businesses.
In December 1903, T. W. Foley bought the Kellerton
House and would own it until 1914. Mr. Foley bought a hotel in Garner, Iowa, in 1914 and moved to Garner. We have a postcard at the Mount
Ayr Depot Museum showing Mr. and Mrs. Foley in their Maxwell automobile parked in front of the hotel about 1912.
In the meantime, a Mr. W. C. Allen built a brick hotel called the Grand Hotel one block north of the Foley Hotel. Mr. Allen opened in December 1913 and sold it to R. M. Bowlby in December 1914. Like the Kellerton
House, this hotel would pass through many hands including Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jackson.
So the old Kellerton House struggled, renting rooms out as a harness shop and tire vulcanizing repair
shop. Finally, in October 1924, Ralph Dorn bought the hotel from F. D. Burns and Artie Allen. Dorn had the
hotel torn down that winter and a filling station was constructed on the old hotel site.
In the early 1960s, the Dorn filling station was torn down to make way for the new post office, which was
dedicated December 2, 1961.
I've got some space left so I'll list some of the early owners of the Grand Hotel: W. C. Allen, 1914; R. M. Bowlby, 1915; Rich Frisby, 1916; Mr. and Mrs. J. A.
Logan, 1916 - 1918; Mrs. Frank Garton, 1919; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jackson, 1919; George Campbell, 1920; J. A. Eaton, 1920; and Will Jackson, 1922. Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Logan also owned the
Commercial House in Mount Ayr from 1910 to 1916.
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News & Mount Ayr Depot Museum
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016