HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
This postcard shows a head-on photograph of the Metropolitan Hotel as it appeared during its heyday. Note the metal balconies on the upper story windows and the awning over the entrance. The photograph was apparently taken from a building across the street from the hotel.
The Metropolitan was built in 1870. When the Southern Pacific railroad built its depot at Commercial Street where Benton Avenue ends (in north Springfield), the Ozark House was built at Commercial and Jefferson to accommodate railway passengers. The Metropolitan, or "Met" Hotel was built on College Street in the old town to compete with the Ozark House. When it was erected it was the finest hotel in the area with high ceilings, old-fashioned bedrooms and a lobby with a grand stairway leading to the office in the mezzanine. There was a big ballroom on the mezzanine floor, which was used as a dining room during the day. Formal balls and receptions were held in the ballroom for many years around the turn of the century. The building was the second in Springfield to contain an elevator (the first being the Baker Block building.)
Colonel F.S. Jones, a former Civil War officer, organized a company to build the hotel. Businesses on the four principal streets leading from the Public Square were invited to bid for the location of the hotel. The street bidding the most money would get the hotel. College Street's was the second highest bid at $31,150 to South's high bid of $34,250. However, College Street just off the Square was chosen as the site for the hotel. St. Louis Street was third in the bidding with $26,500 and apparently Boonville made no bid at all.
The Post Office and the Western Union office were located in the Metropolitan Hotel for a time. Sometime around 1900 John O'Day, Springfield financier, purchased the building. It went into bankruptcy in 1908 while it was owned by John Irving Pearce Jr. under the name "Costello Hotel Company." The 67-year-old building was torn down in 1937 to be replaced by another modern hotel in the same lot. The later Metropolitan hotel was demolished in June of 1954.