Originally the Reed Springs Hotel, a three-story frame building with three towers on the roof, occupied the site (on the present highway 291). A long oval racetrack was in front of the hotel. There were 108 rooms, with wall to wall carpeting. The dining room, with a seating capacity of 175, was equipped with sterling silver and linen tablecloths and napkins.
The hotel was built in 1888 by financial interests in St. Louis. The site was chosen because of mineral springs there. They were discovered about the same time as those at Excelsior Springs, 15 miles away. Iron, sulphosaline, soda and lithia waters were discovered.
Guests came from all over the United States. Among them was a young fellow who later became grand master of the Odd Fellows, Dr. F.H. Matthews. In poor health, he had gone to the Reed Springs Hotel for its healing waters. His health restored, he married a young Liberty woman and remained in Liberty to practice medicine. He later was physician at the Odd Fellows Home for 23 years.
All utilities, including heat, water and light, were provided from the hotel's own plants. At that time, Liberty had no utilities.
In 1891 Willard E. Winner, well known promoter, bought the Reed Springs Hotel, with 12 acres of farm land, and changed the name to the Winner Hotel. There was a real estate boom at the time and Mr. Winner bought hundreds of acres of land, and many business buildings. Several businesses sprang up south of the hotel, including two livery stables and blacksmith and leather shops. In the depression that followed, Mr. Winner lost all of his investments by foreclosure.
The purchase of the hotel by the Odd Fellows, for a home for widows and orphans of the members, included 12 acres of farm land and an option on 230 additional acres. The lodge had discussed the need for a home since 1883, according to the records of the late H.F. Simrall, long time Liberty clothing merchant and grand master of the lodge for many years. The dedication of the home was May 24, 1895.
Five years later the home was destroyed by fire. At the time there were 300 residents. New buildings, such as the one pictured, were erected. A hospital with a fifty-bed capacity was built in 1951. Today the facility still is in operation as a nursing home.
Kansas City Times
May 21, 1982
This Oddfellows Cemetery lies behind a huge lodge just west of Hiway 291 near Liberty, Missouri. There are approximately 600 interments. The lodge as of 2012 is being operated as a winery and venue for events.
GPS Coordinates: 39.22945, -94.40561
- Added: 21 Jan 2013
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2481275
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