History of Austin House, a. k. a. Boyd Hotel, Kellogg House, and White’s Hotel


Historic Hotels / Monday, June 10th, 2019

Austin House

Joshua N. Austin was the builder and first operator of the Austin House. In August 1873, Robert E. Mason purchased the Austin House from Joshua.

In November 1873, William H. Gunsel became the owner of the Austin House. He exchanged four hundred acres of land in Vernon County, MO for the hotel property owned by Robert E. Mason. In addition to the hotel, Mr. Gunsul ran an extensive livery stable.1Kendall County Record, November 20, 1873.

William H. Gunsel renovated the hotel, and purchased a nice billiard table for the hotel. He assured Mrs. Aldrich, a leader in the local temperance movement, that not a drop of liquor would be kept in the premises.2Kendall County Record, December 25, 1873.

When Kendall County Record, editor John R. Marshall made a trip to Millington he was invited by Mr. Gunsel to visit his hotel and have dinner.3At this time, the noon meal was called dinner. The evening meal was supper. Mr. Marshall noted the Austin House as a new and well-arranged building. He described the office, near the front entrance, as a square room with nicely grained woodwork. There was a counter and new billiard table, but no saloon. The food was served in the dining room with a good washroom nearby. Mr. Marshall described the dinner as good, and properly served. The bedrooms were described as convenient to reach, clean and orderly, good sized, and well lighted. The parlor was described as a fine room and the dance hall as a large room. John’s opinion was Mr. Gunsel was an excellent landlord, and recommended the Austin House for good accommodations.4Kendall County Record, January 29, 1874.

In July 1875 the Austin House was the only hotel in Millington.5Kendall County Record, July 8, 1875. On February 1, 1876, Will Gunsel left the Austin House.

At the time the 1876 Biographical Director of Kendall County was published, Mr. A. Horton was managing the Austin House. Apparently the sale of the hotel unraveled because in January 1877, Will Gunsel resumed management of the Austin House.6Kendall County Record, January 11, 1877.

A visitor to the Austin House described the experience. “The house of W. H. Gunsul, or Austin House, as it is commonly called, is ably kept. I found the house in good order, newly painted, clean and comfortable. The proprietor is gentlemanly and courteous, with good accommodations, and a livery stable attached to the premises. A party of ladies and gentlemen was enjoying a game of croquet. The court was in a cozy little place at the end of the house near the railroad.”7Kendall County Record, August 15, 1878.

In May 1879, the Austin House was closed. It was suggested that boarders and transients could find a place to stay in Millington at the boarding house ran by Samuel J. Bartlett.8Kendall County Record, May 22, 1879.

Kellogg House

In May 1881, George Kellogg reopened the Austin House with livery and feed stable attached and renamed the hotel, Kellogg House.9Kendall County Record, May 23, 1881. Many visitors used the Kellogg House as a summer resort.10Kendall County Record, June 23, 1881. In 1882, the people of Millington were happy to hear the Kelloggs had renewed their lease for a second year.11Kendall County Record, March 19, 1882.

Boyd Hotel

In March 1883, A. A. “Abe” Boyd assumed the management of hotel, recently managed by George Kellogg and renamed the place Boyd Hotel.12Kendall County Record, March 29, 1883.

Before reopening the hotel in August 1883, Mr. Boyd repainted, and furnished the hotel with a large amount of new furniture. Daily guests and weekly boarders used the hotel, and Mr. and Mrs. Boyd were noted as accommodating and pleasant landlords. 13Kendall County Record, August 9, 1883.

In June 1888, the hotel was given a thorough cleaning from cellar to attic, papered, painted and otherwise repaired. A notice was published in the Record that he would be prepared to take boarders and open his hotel to the public in a few days. 14Kendall County Record, June 6, 1888.

In July 1888, Abe Boyd decided to move his livery business to Streator, Illinois. After moving his horses and carriages there, he was unable to obtain a suitable location for the business so he brought everything back to Millington.15Kendall County Record, September 12, 1888.

Mrs. Boyd and their children had remained in Millington while Abe was in Streator. Shortly after his return to Millington, on the night of December 14, 1888, the Boyd Hotel caught fire. The fire had a head start and was burning rapidly before its discovery, resulting in a complete loss to the building. The bulk of the furniture as well as Mr. Boyd’s horses and carriages housed in an adjacent barn were saved. The building and contents were not insured creating a significant loss to the Boyd family.

The Boyd family found shelter in another Millington Hotel called the Underwood House, which was located in rooms over Pluess & Conger’s store. About nine a.m. December 26, 1889, less than two weeks after the previous fire, a fire began in the attic of the Underwood House. The fire had made considerable headway before it was discovered and was impossible to extinguish. The building also housed the post office and Pluess & Conger’s store. The bulk of the contents of the hotel, post office, general store, and the rooms over the store were removed. Nothing was saved from the cellar or the attic of the building. However the streets were muddy and many of the items removed were damaged. The building, owned by Mrs. J. W. Eddy, was insured for $3,000. Pluess & Conger’s merchandise was insured for $4,500 and Mr. Underwood’s household goods were insured for $500.

White's Hotel

June 1, 1887, James White assumed management of one of the hotels in Millington, which was referred to as White’s Hotel. James was a barber and operated a barbershop in conjunction with the hotel.16Kendall County Record, June 8, 1887. He was still operating the hotel and barbershop in 1894.17Kendall County Record, July 11, 1894.White’s Hotel

June 1, 1887, James White assumed management of one of the hotels in Millington, which was referred to as White’s Hotel. James was a barber and operated a barbershop in conjunction with the hotel.18Kendall County Record, June 8, 1887. He was still operating the hotel and barbershop in 1894.19Kendall County Record, July 11, 1894.

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References   [ + ]

1.Kendall County Record, November 20, 1873.
2.Kendall County Record, December 25, 1873.
3.At this time, the noon meal was called dinner. The evening meal was supper.
4.Kendall County Record, January 29, 1874.
5.Kendall County Record, July 8, 1875.
6.Kendall County Record, January 11, 1877.
7.Kendall County Record, August 15, 1878.
8.Kendall County Record, May 22, 1879.
9.Kendall County Record, May 23, 1881.
10.Kendall County Record, June 23, 1881.
11.Kendall County Record, March 19, 1882.
12.Kendall County Record, March 29, 1883.
13.Kendall County Record, August 9, 1883.
14.Kendall County Record, June 6, 1888.
15.Kendall County Record, September 12, 1888.
16.Kendall County Record, June 8, 1887.
17.Kendall County Record, July 11, 1894.
18.Kendall County Record, June 8, 1887.
19.Kendall County Record, July 11, 1894.

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