Douglas Inn, Urbana, Ohio

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The Douglas Hotel building has been a stable of the scenery of downtown Urbana in one form or another for almost 200 years.

And now [2021], after more than a decade of sitting empty and much debate among community leaders through the years about what to do with the historical structure, the Douglas Hotel is prepping for a new chapter.

The Douglas, once considered the best hotel in Urbana, contained the Oak Room restaurant and operated until 1978. Reopened in 1979, it once again closed in 1982. Shortly after, most of the building was remodeled as low income apartments. In 2003, the building was condemned and it has been empty ever since, although there are plans to restore it.

In 2003, The Douglas Inn was described as a vast 19th-century former hotel dominating the town square, and was said to be dangerously infested with cockroaches; some of its few remaining human residents heat their rooms with the hotplates of their ovens.

This Looking Back features the northeast corner of Monument Square at Scioto Street. It was at this site that Henry Weaver erected a building (Photo 1 circa 1866) in 1833. It was regarded as one of the finest brick buildings west of Columbus. Mr. Weaver with his son Lemuel operated a business on the first floor of this building. At the time of his death in 1872, Henry Weaver was regarded as the wealthiest man in Champaign County.

Sometime early in the 20th century this building was remodeled and became the location of Moore’s Business College (Photo 2 circa 1923). Note the changes in the buildings to the east along Scioto Street in the two photos. The Moore’s Business College building was demolished in 1961. Peoples Savings Bank now occupies this location.

This is a circa 1910 photo (#1834) of the Douglas Hotel looking west from Monument Square down Miami Street in Urbana. About 1815 on the present-day site of the Douglas Hotel, John Reynolds built a frame house. The Reynolds family lived on the second floor and operated a general store on the first floor. It also served as Urbana’s first post office.

In 1819, John C. Pearson purchased the property and in 1825 erected a two-story brick building, which he established as a hotel. This brick building ultimately became the nucleus of the Douglas Hotel.

Sometime prior to 1844 Henry Weaver acquired the property and built two additional floors to the hotel, which was then referred to as the Weaver House. In 1877 the Weaver family sold the hotel and C. L. Stough became the proprietor. Around 1900 the hotel began to be referred to as the Douglas Inn/Hotel.

I have been unable to discover why the building was named Douglas Inn, and later Douglas Hotel.  If YOU know, please let ME know.



Sources for this article include:
  • A Brief Early History of the Douglas Hotel by Barbara E. Sour

  • Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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    Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022