Volume 1, Number 7
I helped in the construction of the Merriam home. Mr. James Fagan was the man in charge of the stone work. He was living here at the time and was skilled in this particular branch of building. Mr. Frank Phillips of Kansas City was the architect who designed the unusual swag roofs of Hotel Taneycomo, the cottages, and the roof of the Merriam home. This style roof allowed rain to pour from the roof without the use of eaves. Mr. Phillips and his sons were here all during the building of the various Merriam properties.
Only two or three loads of stone were brought in because most of the stone came right from the hill side where the cottages around Hotel Taneycomo are now located. This lovely porous gray and black stone (which we called "cotton rock") was pried loose from the hillside and allowed to roll to the bottom where the stonemasons could get it easily. I well remember too that we had to keep a sharp eye for "rock rattlers" for it seemed they were under every stone. Some of the old-timers who helped in the construction of the Merriam properties were:
Ralph Dunn and his son, Mitchell, Jake Ingenthron, Mr. Aney, and many others whose names I have forgotten.
My wife is the former Alpha Casey, a member of the large and well-known family by that name in Taney County.
The home of Willard and Anna P. Merriam located on the banks of Silver Creek and Lake Taneycomo, Rockaway Beach, Mo. The home was called "Whylaway" when occupied by them. It is now named "Merrywood" and is the summer residence of Williard Merriam's grandson, Bud Coughenour and his family.
|Willard MerriamBorn January 20, 1864, at Berlin, >Wisconsin; died December 13, 1923, Kansas City, Missouri.||Anna Peacock MerriamWife of Willard Merriam. Born February 15, 1869, at Chicago, Illinois; died November 29, 1927, Columbia, Missouri. (Photos courtesy of M. Coughenour)|
The Merriam home at Rockaway Beach was started in 1920 and finished in 1921.
When Mr. Merriam died, his wife Anna (Peacock) Merriam operated the Merriam interests until her death in 1927.
Three children survived:
Edith (Merriam) Coughenour, wife of Ralph S. Coughenour; Wallace Merriam - Dr. Wallace Merriam is now deceased; Helen Merriam-now Mrs. Frank G. Harris, Jr., Columbia, Mo.
Wallace and his sister, Helen, operated the Merriam interests until 1929, when Ralph S. Coughenour made a contract with the heirs and took over the management and operation of the Hotel properties until 1955 when he turned it over to his son, Ralph Merriam Coughenour (known affectionately as "Bud") who is the present operator. Bud and his wife, Virginia (Martindale) Coughenour, and their daughter Catherine, now own the
Merriam home which is called "Merrywood" and occupy it as their summer home.
At the time Mr. Ralph S. Coughenour took over operation of the hotel properties there were no facilities for hot water in the cottages and hotels. He installed the hot water system and this work was done by Mr. Vernon Casey. Other improvements were made through the years and Hotel Rockaway, Hotel Taneycomo and cottages were air-conditioned in 1957. A large swimming pool 100 x 30 feet was added to the facilities in 1955.
For the 1963 season a deluxe 30-unit motel has been built facing Lake Taneycomo and just east of Hotel Taneycomo.
Mr. Vernon Casey passed away in June, 1938, and then Mr. Dean Lewis took over as Superintendent in charge of Maintenance for the properties, and he and his wife (the former Anna Mae Dunn, daughter of Ralph and Ella (Ingenthron) Dunn) have been continuously with The Merriam Company.
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