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Monday, February 20, 2006

Nixon Hotel ~ Butler, Pa.


Does anyone remember this elegant Butler hotel?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was on the Diamond where the Morgan Building is now. Great hotel!

Judy Murphy Harwood said...

We had weekly Sunday breakfast there after attending Mass at St. Paul's. We loved breakfast there in spite of the strict manners my mother held us to.

Anonymous said...

Kay Stephenson Davis said...
We ate brunch there quite frequently and had many a dinner
there with Pete and Faune Spang
and Ben and Lauretta Phillips.
Those were the good days and times.

February 21, 2006

Thalia Eberle McGrady said...

I also remember when Richard Nixon was running for President Henry Cabot Lodge came to Butler and had a rally on the courthouse steps. At that time they temporarily renamed the hotel the Nixon Lodge.

Anonymous said...

I remember eating lunch there with my Father and having rum chiffon pie! It was so-o-o good!

Garris Graham said...

Anyone have a picture of the Clinton Hotel? Like to see it. I was born on Pillow Street, a half a block away.

Richard Palmer said...

When I was going to Pitt in the late 40's, I played in small combos in Butler
with men like Pete Bartoli,Johnny Gumper, Frank DeMar and others. One night I played at the Nixon Hotel for a dance. I remember the hotel very well. It was one of our great landmarks.

Edyie Lefevre -Potts said...

When I was about 10 years old, I remember JFK coming to Butler. He said a speech at the courthouse....looked over and said to crowd........something like.....Gee you named a Hotel after Nixon, do I have a chance here? He was running against Nixon. My girlfriend and I were in the first row. He shook her hand and she swore never to wash her hand again! Great memory.

Ms. Michel Shoemaker said...

Yes, I know about the Nixon Hotel. My Grandfather, C. Stewart Shoemaker, owned it in the 1950's, 60's, & early 70's.
Signed, Ms. Michel Shoemaker

Anonymous said...

I remember the final gala held at the Nixon before it was demolished -- a very festive masked ball. I wore an expensive mauve velvet gown ~ my husband carried a feathered facial mask fashioned of peacock feathers. Fun! Anonymous.

John M. McCall said...

Charles:
I graduated from Butler High in 1946-a year after Bill Perry. I worked at the Nixon Hotel first setting up tables for banquets then as a waiter in the grill. I served the "professional" table that the regular waitresses shunned because they came in every day and only tipped by taking up a collection once every 3 months. This was the lawyers and doctors etc. who had offices close by. C. Stewart Shoemaker was one of the regulars. I left Butler when I went to Univ. of Cinn. in 1946 on the Armco Scholarship and only was back for a very short time in 1951. 2 years in the Chemical Warfare Service and then I was gone from Butler for good except for the visits to family.
The Nixon Hotel was quite a landmark in town.
John M. McCall

Rob Radaker said...

As mentioned above the Nixon Hotel was owned by C. Stewart Shoemaker in the late fifties and sixties. His son Wayne was my best friend and we used to terrorize the staff and some of the guests at times with our antics. Had a lot of fun running amok in the hotel and playing cops and robbers on the roof while making impromptu action movies.

Jerry Tonini said...

I worked as a bellhop at the Nixon hotel in early 5o"s. I recall one day the sky suddenly turned dark - like night, although it was mid-day. I was scared as no one knew what caused the sky to suddenly turn dark. Later it was reported smoke from a fire in Canada had blackend our sky. Some though it was the end of the world!

decolady said...

I recently found a postcard of the dining room. The tables were preset with glass goblets and bud vases, but the shakers, sugar bowls and ashtrays were green Fiesta dinnerware. Anyone know a date of when this postcard may have been photographed and how long Fiesta was used in the dining room?

Thanks in advance!p

Ms. Michel Shoemaker said...

If Rob (Bob) Radaker gets back onto this blog site, I'm Wayne's daughter. I've heard about you for many years, and it would be great to hear from you to see how you are doing now. Please feel free to email me at michel.shoemaker@gmail.com or contact us at the same house dad grew up in on Muntz Ave.

Ms. Michel Shoemaker said...

In response to decolady's question...I have boxes of those postcards and those exact green Fiesta ware you are inquiring about. They were used until the end of the Nixon Hotel era which was mid-70's. The postcard was probably the ones I have which were taken in the late 50's.

James said...

I remember when the sky went dark/at night there was a glow in the sky from the fire in Canada. And I remember too the name change Nixon Lodge for the election.

Charles said...

I remember the night of the "Northern Lights" too. We were playing out in our back yard on Penn Street. It was a beautiful and scary spectacle. I have seen the "Northern Lights" since then, but never as pronounced and awe-inspiring.

Anonymous said...

The day before the wrecking ball hit, my brother and I went into the hotel and saved the beautful mantel from I believe the Presidential Suite. We installed it in our parents house where it still sits. What a shame it was torn down for Bill Morgan instead of finding a way to restore/refurbish. Now downtown is trying to get a hotel which will be some ugly looking chain.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Ms. Shoemaker can explain what caused the demise of the Nixon Hotel. Did your grandfather buy it from the Nixon's when the last Nixon son died?

The Nixons are buried in a mauseleum on the way up the red brick hill to the cemetary.

Michel said...

Hello, in response to some of the questions posted in this blog-site, I have been cleaning out my attic & going through all of the newspaper clippings, letters, etc. that my grandmother, Ethel Shoemaker, saved over her lifetime. I've always heard the stories about my grandpa, C. Stewart Shoemaker, & his Nixon Hotel; but reading through all of the papers, kept in my attic, I have been able to find out so much more, & here are some answers to your questions. I came across the program for the dedication ceremony at the Nixon Hotel that was held on Sept 14, 1960 when the name changed. It states "Butler County is pleased to welcome the distinguished statesman, former Ambassador to the U.N. -- HENRY CABOT LODGE, candidate for the Vice President of the U.S., and members of his party. We are honored to have Mr. Lodge dedicate the famous hostelry known as the Nixon Hotel to that of THE NIXON LODGE. Mrs. Helen Nixon Forsythe, of Penn Township, is an honored guest among us; likewise the present owner, Mr. C. Stewart Shoemaker, and Mrs. Shoemaker." The program goes on to give the history of the Nixon Family and an excerpt states: "...In July 1906, the present Nixon Hotel was opened to the public with Simeon Nixon, Jr. and J. Brown Nixon as owners and operators...Mother Nixon had passed away at the age of 86 on May 3, 1943."
Then, looking at the front page of the Butler Eagle dated April 11, 1975, article entitled 'C. Stewart Shoemaker, Nixon Hotel Owner, Dies' in which is states "Mr. Shoemaker was the owner of the C. Stewart Shoemaker and Associates Insurance Company of Butler. He and Lloyd I. Wingert bought the Nixon Hotel in 1948. In 1953, Mr. Shoemaker became sole owner of the hotel, as well as president and general manager. He was a past director of the Pennsylvania State Hotel Association, and a member of the Pittsburgh Hotel Association." This is a little information on the beginnings of the Nixon Hotel. In my next blog, I will give some insight as to why the Nixon Hotel is no longer.
Michel Shoemaker (Grand daughter of C. Stewart Shoemaker)

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Ms. Shoemaker for her blog entries. I am looking forward to her next entries. I believe the Redevelopment Authority siezed the Nixon under condemation law because some workman from another building had caused some piece of the hotel exterior to fall and the city used this to condem the building. I believe this case went very high up in the courts and Bill Morgan, I mean the City Redelopment Authority, won and tore it down so Morgan Center could be built.
Fast forward, now downtown wants a hotel.

Gary said...

Hi my name is Gary Seybert and my grandmothers name was Genevieve Seybert and she worked for the Nixon Hotel for over 40 years so I was wondering if any of the people who had worked there remember her? She was the book keeper there for most of those years. She stayed pretty much until the end as far as I remember. I also remember running around the hotel in my younger years when the place was pretty much a ghost town. Its great remembering those days. Please let me know if anybody who worked there back then remembers my grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Give your e-mail address, Gary. Someone might write you.

Gary said...

If anyone knew my grandmother whos name was Genevieve Seybert who had worked at the Nixon(see my previous post)you can send me an email at
gseybert@hotmail.com. It would be great to hear from anyone who knew her and my grandfathers name was Bud Seybert and everyone in Butler knew him also so please write if you knew him too.

Anonymous said...

In reading the articles on the Nixon, I noted that Lloyd Wingert was a part owner in the late 40's. Mr. Wingert and my Dad were partners in a coal stripping operation in Clarion County in the 40's. Remember the Nixon but I don't think I was ever in the place.

Linda said...

Hi...I am the 2x great grandaughter of Samuel Burns who lived with the Nixon family in Butler, Pa...Does anybody have any information about him? I have e-mailed Michel about Samuel...he went into the Civil War at a very early age against the wishes of the Nixon family...please contact me at lindakress1967@yahoo.com...thank you for any help...Linda

Anonymous said...

The Nixon was built by Henry Faulkner Grenet. He was the grandson of Henry Faulkner who was a brick manufactor in Old Allegheny/Manchester area of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Anonymous said...

I never saw the inside.I think it closed when I was in 8th grade or so.It's amazing how many hotels were able to make a go of it in Butler.
I guess all the train traffic(Before my time) kept them going

Jeff Schalles said...

My parents had their wedding reception at the Nixon in the 1940s. I remember going there for Sunday dinner as a child. I was fascinated by the mirrored walls in the dining room. My mother is Helen Lowry, her grandfather owned the Lowry Hotel. I have all the family clippings and photos (and some spoons from the Lowry Hotel) which I'll be giving to the county historical society once I've sorted and scanned it all.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous comment from Aug 15, 2010 has the story close to what happened. The quick story is that Mellon bank wanted the property & the anonymous comment on Aug 15, 2010 is pretty much what happened. The case was to go to supreme court, but my grandpa died a month before the supreme court date from a stomach aneurysm basically caused by all the stress of fighting the city. Grandpa kept wanting to renovate the Nixon, but the city wouldn't grant the permits so they could get the property. I found blueprints in my attic of how Grandpa intended to to renovate the Nixon & it was going to be incredible. I can go into more detail at a later time. And to address the anonymous comment on Jan 31, 2011; yes Lloyd Wingert was a partner with my Grandpa in owning the Nixon. Then, my Grandpa bought him out after just a few years. Signed, Ms. Shoemaker

Zeno F. Henninger, Echternacherbrueck Germany said...

We frequented the dining room occasionally. I remember the mirrored walls and the water goblets. I do not remember the food except for the Melba Toast that I gorged on in lieu of the probably great victuals they prepared. I can't pick up a piece of Melba toast to this day without thinking of the Nixon.
My grandfather hosted a businessmen's lunch there. He served goat once to the amazement of the gathered clan. Unfortunately the goat was my Dad's pet "Sam".

Anonymous said...

My mother who is 94 born in Butler as was I the daughter were talking about the Nixon Hotel , my mom told me that in 1946 they were doing renovation on the hotel and my dad was driving by while they were carrying out the lobby furniture and he asked them what they were going to do with the sofa sectional and they said toss it, so my dad had them load it up on his pick up truck, I was born in 1948, we have always had it and has been recovered 3 times the last time in the 60's and stood looks great in my daughters rec room.!!

mrs said...

I want to clarify my comment from July 10, 2012. Mellon bank wanted the property to put their bank on that prime location. So the city played dirty to get it. My Grandpa kept trying to get permits to renovate, but they wouldn't grant them so they could eventually get the property under the city redevelopement authority so the Morgan Center could be built for Mellon bank. Now they say they need hotels in Butler. If you would have seen the architect's plans I have that Grandpa intended to renovate with, they were amazing & still would have been a great hotel to this day.