Have you ever tried to research the history of a house? Recently, I learned that my ancestor, Marion (Washington Marion) Crawford, ran a boarding house called Iowa House in early Dodge City.
Since I knew nothing about the Iowa House in early Dodge City, I decided to see what the newspapers had to say about it.
W. C. Beebe has rented the house west of the postoffice, formerly occupied as a court house,, owned by A. J. anthony, which he will open as a hotel, and will be known as the Iowa house. Mr. Beebe is an old hotel man and no doubt will make the Iowa house strictly first class in every particularThe Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 14 Mar 1882
Notice to the Public
I have recently opened and fitted up the Iowa House, on Front street, one block west of postoffice, in first class style. Everything pertaining to the house is neat and new, and no pains will be spared to make it home-like and pleasant for customers. My tables will always be supplied with the best the markets afford. Thanking the public for their liberal patronage in the past, I hope to receive a fair share of the same in the future. Call and give me a trial.
W. C. BeebeThe Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 16 May 1882
Prop’r Iowa House
The proprietor of the Iowa House has been compelled to rent two or three small buildings in the vicinity of his hotel, to accommodate some of his regular boarders with lodging.The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 4 Jul 1882
Preparations are being made at the Iowa House to greatly improve the range and variety of the bill of far, so as to furnish meals equal to the very best in the city. The patronage of the house has been increasing very largely of late, and some much needed improvements have been made in the office, dining room, and other parts of the building.The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 4 Jul 1882
P. R. Hobble has taken charge of the Iowa House and no doubt make a success of the management. We wish also good luck.Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 14 Sep 1882
P. R. Hobble has sold the Iowa House to N. Mendehall of Iowa, who has taken charge of the house. The new landlord has had considerable experience at hotel keeping. We wish him success.Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 14 Jun 1883
N. Mendenhall has disposed of the Iowa House to Mr. Crawford, a brother of J. H. Crawford. The new Iowa House landlord is lately from Indiana.Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 25 Sep 1884
Even though the newspapers reported that Mr. Crawford took over the Iowa House, the advertising did not reflect that change in ownership.
In January of 1885, a fire spread from the postoffice East along Front Street destroying most of the block to the East of the Iowa House.
Caught It at Last
About three o’clock last Sunday smoke and flames were seen issuing from the grocery house of Perry Wilden. It was inevitable, in the estimation of everybody who saw them that the buildings in the post office block were doomed to immediate destruction. The first thought was to save goods and the work of relieving the business houses adjacent of their stores was commenced with vigor. a thousand people were soon in the vicinity of the fire and everybody lent a willing hand in the effort to rescue property from the destructive breath of the flames. The first building west of Wilden’s was the Union Restaurant which ended in smoke at the drop of the hat. West of that was THE COWBOY building. Before the flames reached it all of the goods in the lower story had been removed. Marsh & Sons had a splendid stock of clothing and gents’ furnishings goods in the front room and Mr. Robbins had a tailor shop with appurtenances and a choice selection of raw goods in the rear, nearly everything was saved. THE COWBOY occupied the whole of the second story. Material probably to the value of five hundred dollars was rescued form there. The power press was destroyed and a large portion of the type was badly “pied.” A printing office is one of the worst institutions in the world to handle when a fire is around. Across the street west from THE COWBOY building is the Iowa House. By heroic efforts it was saved from destruction. At one time all of the east side was in a blaze. Had this building been destroyed the appetite of the fire demon would not have been appeased until every building in the Iowa House block and been swallowed up. Across the railroad on the south the warehouses of R. M. Wright & Co., and Morris collar caught fire and were destroyed, will all of their contents. The warehouse of the York-Parker-Draper company was said to have been saved by the mineral paint on the outside. East of Wilden’s was the dry goods house of Gaede, Baker Co. The building went up a flying, but the most of the goods were saved. Next was Morris Collar’s hardware store and general curiosity shop. It was impossible to save much of his stock, owing to t he nature of the goods. His stock was valued at $30,000, most of which is a total loss. His insurance was only about $2,000. Next was the hardware store and tin shop of Charlie Shields. It went to kingdom come in a hurry, with most of the stock. Mr. Shields is one of the greatest sufferers of this calamity His stock is worth about $4,000 and he hadn’t a dime of insurance. Now here is where the virtue of Brick is demonstrated. East of Shield’s is the brick store just being erected by Jacob Collar. The brick wall was too much for Mr. Fire. His stomach couldn’t digest the brick and he quit his infernal deviltry right then and there. Jake Collar is the man to whom is indebted the salvation of the buildings in the post office Block east of his new business block.
The Times figured up the losses as follows:
Perry Wilden, loss $11,000; insurance $5,000Kansas Cowboy (Dodge City, Kansas) 24 Jan 1885
Albert Etherington, loss $2,800; no insurance
O. Marsh & son, building loss, $2,500; insured; partial loss of goods, covered by insurance
R. R. Robbins, tailor, loss $100; no insurance
COWBOY office, loss $2,000, covered by small insurance
Gaede, Baker & Co., partial loss of goods covered by $5,000 insurance
M. Collar, building and goods, loss $30,000; insurance $2,000
F. J. Durand, building, loss $1,500; no insurance
J. Collar, two buildings, loss $4,000, covered by insurance
Chas. Shields, stock of stoves and hardware, loss $4,000; no insurance
Gorman & Ramer, loss of stock, covered by insurance
S. B. McNay has taken charge of the Iowa House and will refit the building for the accommodation of the public. He will afford first-class accommodations. Mr. McNay has just returned from Iowa with his family, and took possession of the house on Monday. He is an agreeable and pleasant gentleman and will make an accommodating landlord. He is bound to succeed.Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 23 Apr 1885
W. F. Dean has taken charge of the Iowa House and will change the name of the house to the Dean House.Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas) 14 May 1885
The newspapers do no reveal any more information about the Crawford proprietorship of the Iowa House. However, in July 1885, the Crawford family built their own boarding house located North of the downtown district.