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The History!

 The hotel has a unique history, sitting on the high ground above the "Big River". going back centuries.  The elite of St. Louis visited often. It was a close weekend getaway to escape the sweltering summers in St Louis. The guests came from all over the world including Africa, Switzerland, Cuba, Philippines Islands, Bombay India, London England, Berlin Germany, Austria and Hong Kong China. 

One of my personal favorites marked in the register is on Saturday, September 5th, 1931 Zarna and her trained seal Suzanne.  The famous guests include black and white film star Clara Bow, Betty Boop was created in her likeness.  Tom Mix, a black and white cowboy film star.  Pilot Charles Lindbergh and gangster Al Capone also marked their stay here. Jesse James, and his brothers as well.


Charlie Chaplin marked the register of his stay here! He was a known ’Womanizer’. A nearby elder woman says when she was a child her mom would complain about this Chaplin man carrying on with the young girls. 

Jesse James and his brothers stayed here. They are known to associate with Mr. Morse (a confederate sympathizer). One of them was a cartoonist, drawing a stone archway in the register that read "James Hotel" across the arch above. Some evidence suggests the Hotel may have helped the effort to return rebels back to the south. It is referred to as “the Secession Railroad” or “the Chip Trail".

We have eyewitness accounts from elders, they say 60 years ago as kids they use to play in the tunnel beneath the basement floor, that went from beneath our basement floor under the road to the river edge into the icehouse across the street.

Bertha Gifford lived nearby and worked here. 1 of the 1st female serial killers in the Nation. She killed numerous kids (19), and adults w Arsenic Chocolates for the kids. She worked at the Hotel and is buried nearby. She was an exceptionally gifted cook, go figure! It is believed to be her husband who she poisoned, that is seen in full body, trench coat at the window North end of the hall 2nd floor.


Al Capone used this as a rest house, speak easy, and gambling. The Historians traced his movements to here at the time that he was building his gambling & whiskey operations. He served great Whiskey from here, some of which still exists on the shelves of local grandparents that say it never ran dry at the Morse Mill Hotel. It is also a undisputed fact that Police would never dare to enter this neck of the woods, knowing it was out of their reach. Legend is the moonshiners, lived in these woods.

I renovated this building from top to bottom, cut no corners.


It's ready for the next 100+ years!

Thank you for listening.

John Patrick Sheehan

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