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Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

Lincoln Hotel

Lincoln Hotel
Lincoln Hotel
National Park Service

Constructed from 1917 to 1918, the Lincoln Hotel is a local landmark in the south portion of the central business district in Scottsbluff.  Architect A. Bandy designed the six-story building for the Nebraska Hotel Company.  For years, the hotel was a source of civic pride and an emblem of material and cultural accomplishment in the rapidly developing city.

The Lincoln Hotel is an important example of early 20th century Classical Revival commercial architecture in the region.  The six story building stands out from the low scale commercial buildings around it and derives its exterior architectural distinction from its Classical Revival facades. The hotel is supported by a reinforced concrete frame, with integrally poured columns, beams, and slabs forming a uniform grid. The frame is expressed externally as spandrel beams and columns on the east and south walls; here it is infilled with brick panels. The brick is laid as curtain walls on the north and west facades, hiding the concrete structure.  The hotel has a flat roof with decorative terra cotta and brick parapets bordering three sides.

The historic importance of the Lincoln Hotel lies in its association with the hotel industry and, more specifically, the Nebraska Hotel Company. During the 1910s, modern hotels penetrated secondary markets of smaller Nebraska towns. Local communities pursued hotel companies, such as the Nebraska Hotel Company, to develop hotels in their towns. These “grand hotels” were a source of civic pride and prestige for many townspeople, and the Lincoln Hotel in Scottsbluff was no different. When approached with the opportunity to develop a “first class hotel,” the Scottsbluff residents courted and even donated money to the Nebraska Hotel Company entrepreneurs.

After opening in 1918, the Lincoln Hotel immediately became a centerpiece of Scottsbluff commercial and social life. Advertised as “Mighty Like a Home,” it hosted the majority of overnight visitors in the town and fed a steady stream of travelers and townspeople in the Lincoln Restaurant on the first floor. The basement of the hotel boasted a beauty parlor for women and a cigar shop for men. Meanwhile, the Scottsbluff Room on the sixth floor was the scene of numerous social events and served as the meeting hall for numerous community organizations.

In 1921, the Lincoln Hotel’s parent company, the Nebraska Hotel Company, filed for bankruptcy. That same year, ownership of the Lincoln Hotel passed to hotel entrepreneur Eugene Eppley.  Eppley’s hotel empire oversaw management of the Lincoln until 1956, when he sold the hotel to the Sheraton-Midcontinent Group. Shortly thereafter, Sheraton sold the hotel to the Fields Nebraska Corporation. Less than five years later, the Fields Nebraska Corporation declared bankruptcy, and the control of the hotel fell into the hands of a series of short-term proprietors who allowed the hotel to deteriorate. By the 1960s, the Lincoln Hotel was no longer Scottsbluff’s premier hostelry as motels located along Highway 26 became the preferred places to stay.  In 1965, Hiram Scott College bought the Lincoln to be used as a student dormitory. In the late 1990s, Metroplains Development of Saint Paul, Minnesota acquired the hotel and adaptively reconfigured the building for use as subsidized senior housing. Though only a shadow of what it was in its heyday, the Lincoln Hotel still stands as a testament to the ambition and determination of a young community attempting to define itself through the opulence and prestige associated with a “grand hotel.”

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The Lincoln Hotel is located at 1421 Broadway in Scottsbluff, NE.  The building is currently used to provide subsidized senior housing and is not open to the public.

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