Jump to Navigation

Hotel Cottage Register

Montezuma, Kansas

1887-1890 and Scrapbook

Microfilm: MF 7187.2




Guest register of Hotel Cottage, Montezuma (Gray County), Kansas. Alternate names include Cottage Hotel and Montezuma Hotel. The register lists name of guest, residence, time, room, and remarks. Alternately used as scrapbook, journal, and copybook, ca. 1897- .


1887-1890 and [ca. 1897]


1 volume


Hotel Cottage (Montezuma, Kan.)


Hotel Cottage register and scrapbook


Microfilm: MF 7187.2
Manuscript Collection No. 5045


Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)


The Hotel Cottage (or Montezuma Hotel) was established by Dr. T. J. Wheeler in 1886 or 1887 in Montezuma, Kans. Dr. Wheeler was a member of the Western Kansas Town and Land Company which organized Montezuma in 1886.

While Dr. T. J. Wheeler apparently established and operated the hotel for some time (he is the only owner mentioned in extant reminiscence), the proprietors listed in the register varied from W. E. Homman through September 1887, Wood & Co. from September 1887 through April 1888, G. B. Farrell from April 1888 through September 1889, and L. D. Pierce from September 1889 through August 1890. The hotel is presumed to have closed by 1895, the year the state legislature declared the town dead.

For a brief period the hotel gained local fame as a sanatorium due to its close proximity to an “electric well.” Locals claimed a flame appeared each night above the pump rod of the well and that its waters possessed “unusual curative properties.” Dr. Wheeler’s wife, a resident of the hotel, claimed the well water cured her of rheumatism and arthritic condition. See the Garden City Sentinel, July 30, 1886.

Scope And Content

The one volume register begins in 1887 and proceeds through August 1890. This period corresponds roughly with the life of “old” Montezuma, established in 1886 (Finney County) until the legislature dissolved the town in 1895 (Gray County). The area experienced a revival when the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway built the Dodge City-Colman cut-off in Gray County in 1912. The “new” Montezuma grew up just south of its older namesake. An early contender for the county seat of Gray County, Montezuma voted to support the town of Ingalls against its northern rival Cimarron in exchange for a railroad and station to be built by developer and entrepreneur Asa Titus Soule in 1888. This railroad was removed just a few years after its completion.

The Hotel Cottage register includes entries for name of guests, place of permanent residence, time, room, and remarks. The entries proceed by order of registration and are divided by month and day. The remarks column may include references to purchases or business affiliation. Only the first twelve pages of the register are numbered. The first twenty-three pages were subsequently used as a scrapbook sometime after 1890 and the entries on those pages are covered with newspaper clippings and manuscript copies of verses. Some of the clippings have been partially removed. The register has also been used as copybook for handwriting practice. Many of the original entries have been over written.

Guests of the hotel came from all over North America. A few guests from European countries are also included. The most well known guest listed in the register is Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones, the Buffalo rancher and promoter from Garden City, entered Saturday, July 5, 1890. The register also includes many entries of stage drivers and railroad men, usually including the name of the employing stage line or railroad.

In her book Tale of Two Towns (1961), Helen Ward Rennie includes a photo plate of one page of the register and devotes a page of text to a discussion of its contents. Rennie indicates that a Mrs. Earl Rexford (Della Barger) brought the register to her and that it previously belonged to Dr. T. J. Wheeler. See Helen Ward Rennie, Tale of Two Towns (Dallas, Texas: Royal Publishing Company, 1961), 166-167.

Index Terms

Access Points

Personal Names
Jones, Charles Jesse, 1844-1919

Corporate Names
Cottage Hotel (Montezuma, Kan.)
Hotel Cottage (Montezuma, Kan.)
Montezuma Hotel (Montezuma, Kan.)

Geographic Names
Gray County (Kan.) - History
Montezuma (Kan.) - History

Hotels - Kansas -Montezuma -- Registers
Guest books - Kansas -- Montezuma
Signatures (AAT)

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use

This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is assumed that the donor did not possess literary rights at the time of loan/donation, consequently copyright is presumed to be owned by the author ’ s heirs or assigns. Microfilm. Topeka, Kan.: Kansas State Historical Society, 2006.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Hotel Cottage register, 1887-[ca.1897], Ms. Collection 5045, Library & Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society, Microfilm: MF 7187.

Acquisition Information

Loan: Irwin and Genevieve Marrs through Kathleen Holt, 2006.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Michael A. Church, April 2006.