Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 14, 2010

Hemingway Roosted Here

The entrance to the old Muehlebach Hotel

Little did I realize when I checked into the Kansas City Marriott Downtown that I was about to walk the halls that Ernest Hemingway once tread.

Hemingway grew up in Chicagoland, summered with his family in the Petoskey area, and fished the rivers of the Upper Peninsula. At the age of 18 he was a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star, from October 17, 1917 to April 30, 1918.

Long story short, the Marriott Hotel property I am calling home this week includes the legendary Muehlebach Hotel, one of the great old Kansas City properties dating to 1915.

The original marble hotel desk

In Hemingway’s day there was a press room in the Muehlebach, where the ink-stained scribes hung out and did their journalistic duties. Apparently, when Ernest was fervently working on deadline late into the night (or, may I venture a guess, had one too many at the hotel bar?)  he would line the hotel room’s bathtub with towels and sleep in the makeshift bed.

There’s even a website dedicated to Hemingway in Kansas City.

I wasn’t able to see the bathtub/bed; the guest rooms of the original Muehlebach aren’t currently being utilized. They may be renovated some day and added to the hotel’s inventory of nearly 1,000 newer rooms in two modern towers, but the public spaces in the older part—the original lobby, men’s saloon, ladies Tea Room and others—are well used for meetings and special events.

More about Kansas City down the road.

The guest room floors are reserved for only the pigeons; the rooms may someday be renovated and reopened

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Responses

  1. How cool, I didn’t even realize there were old guest rooms that were still closed up. I wonder what kind of shape they’re in today…

    • They’re very small, by today’s standards…probably need to combine a couple of them to create a spacious room and luxury bath (as they did at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit—fabulous—-www.bookcadillacwestin.com)

  2. Cool, ink-stained scribe!

  3. I so enjoyed spending some time with you in K.C. Let’s do it again!

    • Anytime, Elaine. You are a hoot and a half!


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