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This week in history: March 6-March 13

In 19th century St. Louis, the Southern Hotel was the largest and arguably the grandest hotel.  Located at 4th and Walnut, it was certainly the place to be, as well as being one of the last business ventures for its owner Robert Campbell.  However, a fire destroyed the hotel in 1877.  It was rebuilt, but Robert passed away before he could see the hotel reopen in 1881.  The Southern Hotel continued to be a well known St. Louis landmark until it closed down in 1912.  It was torn down in 1933, a great loss of St. Louis architecture and history.  Today we post a reminder of that history.  On March 13, 1879, just a few months before Robert’s death, J.M. Randell writes from DC to tell Campbell about his meeting with potential investors for the hotel.  We hope you enjoy this reminder of a lost piece of St. Louis.

Breslin & Cooke, Proprietors,
Washington, D.C.

Col Robert Campbell
15th & Lucas Place
St Louis  Mo

[Back of Envelope]
10:30 AM

Willard’s Hotel.
Breslin & Cooke, Proprietors
Washington, D.C. March 12th 1879

Col Robert Campbell
My Dear Sir
I received this morning a note Thomas Allen Esq President of Iron Mountain RR asking my  views regarding plans for Southern Hotel which he desires for his own private information  I endorsed the Barnet Plan subject to  some improvements  I regret I am not in St. Louis to help this  matter along, believing I could explain to Mr Allen much better  than I can by writing  I received the Old Plans with Breslin a  few moments since and have suggested a change of location of the  Ladies Ordinary which will make a most perfect

[Pg. Break] Building. This inquiry of Mr Allen looks as if the  Southern will be rebuilt  I sincerely hope it which will relieve  you of much annoyance and expense

By the heading on next page you will see our present  location enjoying sunshine where we expect to remain for one week longer. We hope you and your family are all well.  I suppose I  need not add if there [spelled their] is any thing going on that  my services could be made useful [spelled usefull] to you that  you have but to command and I obey

Let me know how you are all and when I may expect to see  you.

Mrs R joins [spelled joines] me in love and regards to  self Mrs C and the young gentleman
Truly Yours
J M Randell
Regards to Mr Hugh and family

[2nd letter]

Willard’s Hotel.
Breslin & Cooke, Proprietors
Washington, D.C. March 13th 1879

Col Robert Campbell
My Dear Sir
Since writing you  yesterday I have received yours of 9th forwarded from New York  and have anticipated its contents  On my return to New York I  will stop over in Philadelphia to see Kingsley of the Continental and talk Southern Hotel as I learn he is not making money at the Continental and has plenty of means and might be likely to take hold of such an enterprise  I shall sound him at all events. I  have a friend preparing the way for my coming

I am glad to hear you are all so well and wish you were  here with us to enjoy the sun shine and splendid weather of  Washington  All join me in regard to self Madam and the young  gentleman   Hoping to see you soon
I am Truly Yours
J M Randell

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