Ann Selvig, from:
Allerton, Iowa Centennial,
In 1871, George McLean built the first hotel north of the tracks where the Ruark Garage is today, named it “Allerton House.” He operated this hotel until 1874. R. W. Sherritt purchased the hotel from Mr. McLean that year and re-named it “Sherman House.” It remained under this name for several years. A barn was in connection with the hotel for the travelers’ horses and buggies. Behind Sherman House, a horse walked a treadmill to pump the water. Another hotel during this period was Meekin’s Hotel owned by Isaac H. Meekin. One of the hotels in the late 1800’s was located south of the depot on the present Lora Dougherty property. The location of the other hotels is not known but in the 1800’s, the names of the hotels were changed by the owners. In 1884-85 the hotels were: Meekin’s Hotel owned by Isaac Meekin, Sherman House, Wright Hotel owned by W. A. Wright and the Pacific Hotel once owned by A. Whitson. In 1883 W. A. Wright bought out the Pacific Hotel. In 1886 there was Sherman House and another was again called Allerton House.
Around 1910 the hotel on Central Avenue was built by a company of businessmen at a cost of $10,000 exclusive of plumbing and wiring costs. It was one of the finest hotel structures in this part of the state at that time. Mr. E. E. Keller purchased it from the Hotel Corporation and operated it as “Merchants Hotel” until 1935. It was then leased to Miss Jessie Holmes, who managed it in connection with her beauty shop. There was also a lobby-office, dining room and B. E. Bettis ran the barber shop. At one time Sears and Sprow Insurance and later O. K. Engene Insurance occupied the space where Miss Holmes’ Beauty Shop was. In the 1920’s or early 30’s there was a shoe shop and barber shop in the front of the basement.
For many years the hotel rented rooms to the Railroad Conductors s Allerton was the station where the men changed passenger trains.
It was later changed to “Allerton Hotel” and has been managed in the past by Vern Bettis, Mrs. Killan, Phillip Burch, Vernon and Ethel Niday, Orion Higley and in 1969 Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Miner took over the Hotel. There are 4 single rooms for rent. Most of the rooms have been made into apartments. There are now 6 apartments which are occupied by Coy Souvie, Alta Merrick, George Shafer, Brown Donald and Ivan Shecter
“Red or White Tablecloth, You Pay the Bill”
From the Allterton News – 1938
The visit here of Robert M. Sherritt Sunday, brought to light more lore connected with the old Sherman House. Sherman House, known far and wide for its meals and service, once existed where the Phillips Gasoline Station (Ruark Garage) is now located.
“In those days,” said Mr. Sherritt, “there were always at least two tables set. One was covered with a red cloth and the other with a white cloth. If you wished ‘a white dinner’ you paid thirty five cents, if you would be content with the red covering, it cost but a quarter.”
The discrimination was necessary, it was explained, because of the large number of stockmen and traders who made Sherman House their headquarters. They always chose the red covering because it would not show dirt as quickly.