Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Morgan Hotel closed. Repeatedly.

John Morgan concluded building the Morgan Hotel here. In June 1891 he continued his demanding life with the strength of a 10 year lease from Mr. Clark in hand.

The following newspaper article illustrates how things had been going for the Morgans and the hotel business.

Deseret News, December 6, 1892

A short notice in the News of December 7, 1892: “This morning Mr. John Morgan, Proprietor of the Morgan Hotel, took charge of this establishment . . . Mr. Clark consenting to relinquish the lease” [1]

It was while searching for that notice, which I haven’t yet found, that I saw the December 6th article naming Mrs. Helen M. (Mellie) Morgan in the lease dispute with Mr. Clark over the Morgan Hotel.

A year and a-half later in May 1894, the national financial crisis was reflected in the Salt Lake City arrival of a unit of Coxey's Army on its way from California to Washington.

Three weeks after the Utah Guard was organized in 1894, it was called to Ogden to control a group of unemployed workers, estimated at 1,200 men, who were moving through Utah as "Kelley's Army," a part of the Coxey's Army movement.

By May 1894 “tourists were almost nonexistent, … when members of the Morgan family stood huddled in the lobby of the hotel, peering somberly out the window. All the rooms were vacant, and as John and Mellie discussed their next move, a line of ragged and dirty men shuffled past.
“'Coxey’s Army,' said John in a voice just above a whisper.
“As the men drifted past, a turkey escaped from a street front market, flapping noisily ahead of the men. John turned to a sober-faced Mellie: 'Good thing they don’t know the hotel is empty. They might take it over.'” [2]
It was "Kelley’s Army," that was marching in front of the Morgan Hotel. Penniless unemployed men on their way to Washington. Their intent was to march on the halls of government to “influence the government on depression legislation.”

Deseret Evening News, Saturday, April 30, 1904
… The new Southern, that is to be, was built by John Morgan, at a cost of $60,000 and was opened in May, 1891, by John Clark as owner of the lease, and with Theodore Mulford, now proprietor of the White house, as the manager. But the hotel was opened at an unpropitious period—when the boom had just bursted [sic]. Then the rental figures were too much for Mr. Clark--$700 a month. In a year he was ruined financially and Mr. Morgan took the house himself and kept it for a year with Mr. Mulford still at the helm.

"About this time Mr. Morgan fell ill. He made a brave fight for the recovery of his health which had been greatly impaired by the business depression that was so widespread at that time. But death came and Mr. Morgan’s son-in-law, Mr. Snyder, tried in vain to keep the business afloat. After that the house, which was called the Morgan, was closed for a considerable time …"
Does anyone know who Mr. Snyder is, and which of John Morgan's daughters he was married to?
[1] The Life and Ministry of John Morgan by Arthur Richardson, copyright 1965, by Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr., pg. 533.
[2] The Man Who Moved City Hall; Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan by Jean R. Paulson, copyright 1979 by Marjorie Morgan Gray, pgs. 10-13.


  1. I could not get the correct link to Coxey's Army to work within this post. I'll include it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxey's_Army

  2. This was very interesting reading. I hope someone knows who Mr. Synder is.