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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  40 - Hotels of Eau Claire

Wells House - Metropolitan House

(-as transcribed from pages 547 - 548)

In the Free Press of September 23, 1858, we find the following paragraph among the locals:

"Mr Wells, formerly of the 'Wells House,' of this place, has rented the Metropolitan Hotel and is to move into it at once. We understand Mr. Wells is a very good landlord."

And in another column:

"Mr. Smith Whittier has added an addition of 24 by 60 feet to the Metropolitan Hotel, the upper portion of which is divided into apartments for the guests at the hotel, the lower portion is intended for a store and has already been rented to Mr. William Newton, of Fond du Lac, who intends putting in a stock of ready made clothing as soon as it can be furnished."

A resident of that day, who came to Eau Claire in May, 1857, states Mr. Wells was running a boarding house at a point about where the Galloway House now stands and during the winter of 1857-8 conducted the Metropolitan Hotel. The building was located on the west side of Barstow street, about the middle of the block, between what is now Grand avenue and Main street. An examination of the files of the Free Press discloses no further mention of the Metropolitan Hotel, and it is supposed it passed out of existence some time in the early summer of 1858. The Free Press of October 7, 1858, contained an advertisement of William Newton, announcing the opening of his clothing house in the Metropolitan block on Barstow street.

The Free Press of October 14, 1858, contains an advertisement of the Metropolitan, naming Samuel Wells and John E. Stillman as proprietors. On November 25, 1858, it is announced Mr. Stillman sells out his interest in the business to Jacob Austin, formerly of Black River Falls. In the news items in the same paper we find the following:

"If anything can show forth in a proper and unvarnished manner the amount of business transacted in Eau Claire, the number of the arrivals at our hotels will be found the most reliable. As we have published them for a few weeks past it will be seen that as many as 140 arrive at our hotels during a week, and the proprietors inform us that a great many names are never booked. With the Monongahela House on the west side of the Chippewa, we may put down the number of strangers who stop at our hotels every week at 200."

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