Hotel Racine

Hotel Racine

Hotel Racine ca. 1910 by Racine photographer Bishop

Hotel Racine ca. 1910 by Racine photographer Bishop

This building is too interesting just to have a few postcards on the site!

The first Hotel Racine was built in 1893 and torn down in 1925.

Here is a short biography of a Hotel Racine manager, George Hopper.

I found this very vivid account of a society ball at the Hotel Racine on January 2, 1895.

Hotel Racine and post office, 1911

Hotel Racine and post office, 1911

Hotel Racine and the post office, 1911, reverse

Hotel Racine and the post office, 1911, reverse

Hotel Racine, 1905

Hotel Racine, 1905

Hotel Racine, 1905, reverse, addressed to Miss Cecile Tavernia, Chronic Insane Asy., Wauwatosa, Wis., Aug. 16, 1905

Hotel Racine, 1905, reverse, addressed to Miss Cecile Tavernia, Chronic Insane Asy., Wauwatosa, Wis., Aug. 16, 1905

Racine Daily Journal, May 26, 1893
“Is this Racine?” exclaims the visitor as he walks up Main street and gazes at the electric cars whizzing past. Farther on a magnificent structure of stone and brick meets his eye and still he wonders if this is the Racine of five years ago. This is the Hotel Racine and the building is certainly a credit to the city; to the gentleman whose enterprise so successfully brought the plan to completion; to the architects, to the contractor and the able officers who have managed the affairs of the hotel association. Today the Journal presents a cut of the hotel, showing the Sixth street front. It was taken from a recent photograph by Billings and it is a splendid likeness, though not showing the building complete. Within two weeks the hotel will be finished and ready to turn over to the directors. Hugh Edwards, the contractor, has performed his part of the work to the satisfaction of all who had an interest in the building. From the picture a view of the outside appearance can be obtained, but the visitor should open the massive doors and take a look upon the inside if he desires to see one of the best modern hotels in the country. The handsome office, lobby, corridors and lounging rooms, finished in quarter sawn oak, with marble floors, are indeed inviting. But the crowning feature of the hotel is the spacious dining room, with its lofty ceiling and magnificent view of blue Lake Michigan. From the large windows you can see the light house at North Point, and the harbor studded with vessels of every description; then turning to the south the smoke from the factories at Kenosha meets your vision. Stepping out onto the verandah’s, which rise tier above tier on the southside, you find one of those ideal spots to spend a summer’s afternoon when the mercury hovers about the nineties.

The spacious rooms inside are arranged singly or en suite. There is not a dark room in the hotel and nearly every one over looks the lake and the city. No mere writing can give the hotel its just praise; it must be tried and it will not be found wanting.

This clipping is from 1908:

Dr. Marshall Dies in West

Former Proprietor of Hotel Racine Succumbs to Lingering Illness in Redlands, Cal — Survived by Wife and Daughters

Dr. John M. Marshall, former proprietor of the Hotel Racine, died on the evening of November 19, at his home on Brookside avenue, Redlands, California.

Mr. Marshall was one of the most successful hotel men in the country, and when he had charge of the Hotel Racine he conducted it in a first class and business like manner, and sold out at a profit of about $8,000. He was a man upright and honorable in every transaction, and with the guests of the house was popular, never losing an opportunity to make them comfortable.

He sold the hotel here to Mr. Solloway and went to Richmond, Indiana, where he conducted a hotel; thence to Butte, Montana, and came back east again. Last spring he went to Redlands, where he bought the Rev. D. H. Gillan ranch and residence at Brookside, expecting to make that his home.

With Mrs. Marshall he spent last summer in Europe and returned to Redlands late last September. Soon after he was taken ill and his decline was rapid.

Dr. Marshall was a native of Ohio, and at the time of his demise was 64 years of age. Deceased is survived by Mrs. Marshall and two daughters, Mrs. S. B. Williams of Nashville, Tenn., and Mrs. W. S. Longford of Atlanta. Ga.


Look at this building I saw in Dallas! I was taking a cab from the airport to the convention center and all of a sudden, I thought I was dreaming — it looks just like the first Hotel Racine, right down to the different stone used in the first story. Apparently it is called the Old Red Courthouse.


Lake Avenue side of the first Hotel Racine

Lake Avenue side of the first Hotel Racine

Dennis Tully: This view looking South, is the “Lake Avenue Side” of the first Racine Hotel in the late 1800’s. There was a large porch for the hotel guests with a view of Lake Michigan (far left). The stone wall left of center runs along the South side of 6th St. (now the parking area in the rear of the Post Office Building). The buildings at upper left would be about the present location of Memorial Hall. The building behind the nearest post would be the location of McMynn School. It appears by the gathering of people in the background that there was some activity going on across Lake Avenue towards the lake.

Clem Larrin-Krivich‎:
The back of this photo says barber shop in Hotel Racine. Typical barber shop of the time. Probably early 1900teens. Spittoons on the floor. Embossed tin metal ceiling panels. Could be gas or electric ceiling light fixtures .
25 cents might have been the price of a haircut.


From Dennis Tully: I found this mounted photo of the Hotel Racine which has some curious features. You will notice at center right there is a “swing latch” or clasp that appears to hold closed a section of the photo that is “cut out”. I wonder what is behind that door? At lower right is printed “Patented Dec ’03”
Another fantastic view of the first Hotel Racine showing the east-facing porches where people could sit and admire Lake Michigan.
The building at right was the Hotel Racine. To its left was the "Baker Block" prior to the addition of a 5th floor. At left is a view to the north along Main St. Circa 1906.
Dennis Tully: The building at right was the Hotel Racine. To its left was the “Baker Block” prior to the addition of a 5th floor. At left is a view to the north along Main St. Circa 1906.
Dennis Tully: Found this photo postcard for sale which I do not think I have seen in the past. A nice view of the Hotel Racine with the Baker Block at left and the Post office at right. Great shot of a TMER&L Street Car passing the Hotel. Notice Carpenter Rowland Insurance Co. sign on the face of the Hotel and the awnings. My guess as to the photo date is about 1905 or so.

The Second Hotel Racine

The second Hotel Racine was built after the first Hotel Racine was torn down in 1925.

The second Hotel Racine, ca. 1939
Dennis Tully: This northwesterly view of Monument Square was taken from the upper floor of the Post Office building at 6th and Main St.
The large building with the 6 columns was the First National Bank & Trust Co. To its right was Wiemann’s Dime Store and Hughs women’s wear store which were on the previous site of Racine County’s first 2 court houses.
At far right, behind the monument, you can see Zahn’s Department Store.
The red sign at far right is on the corner of the Hotel Racine building.
I am guessing that this photo dates to the early 1950’s or so.

The Third Hotel Racine — Racine Motor Inn

19 thoughts on “Hotel Racine

  1. I was a bartender at the Hotel Racine, around 1962, when one evening Glenway Wescott and Gilbert Seldes walked in and sat at a booth. Glenway Wescott was Wisconsin’s most famous (and best) living writer, and at that time I had written very little—a few stories, a poem or two—still unpublished but determined to become a writer. After I recognized him they came at sat at the bar so we could talk. A correspondence would ensue and GW later came to see me at the bookstore I was working at in San Francisco. At that time there was no grander place in Racine to drink, eat, and converse—and meet famous writers.

  2. I appreciate the interest and efforts Todd Wallace and others have invested in the history of Racine. They have encouraged me to read more and more history about the U.S. Europe is older but we have fascinating artifacts and stories here as well. Thanks so much.

  3. Does anyone remember the Mandalay Lounge in the old Racine Hotel. there was a xylophone player there by the name of Kerry Wahls. Very talented guy.

  4. I Recently found it all wood coat hanger with The name Racine hotel stamped on it I’m originally from Racine I was wondering where I can get a postcard a print of the Racine hotel so I can make a frame out of the hanger with the hotel as backdrop please let me know

  5. I recently found a wine or champagne label and a receipt from the Hotel Racine dated May 29, 1935. This is where my parents spent their honeymoon. The cost of the room was $2.75 for the night. None of us kids ever saw the scrapbook before it resurfaced Does anyone know where I can find more information?

  6. I love this, my ansester was said to have been “a maid in a big hotel in Racine,” around 1910- 1918. Where would the location of the hotel be today? I would love to know!

  7. From the summer of 1927 until December 18 of 1937, the studios of Racine radio station WRJN were located on the third floor of the hotel. Engineers & equipment were on the roof. The transmitter was moved from atop the hotel to Victory Avenue in September 1936 while the studios remained, until moving to the third floor of the American Bank & Trust building September 19 of 1937. The radio station moved 20-years later to it’s current home at 4201 Victory Avenue.

  8. Does anyone know the architect and contractor of the 2nd Hotel Racine?…looks very similar to The Brown Hotel in Louisville..The Brown still stands and is an elegant hotel.

    • Yes — from the June 3, 1926 Racine Journal News reports that the architect for the second Hotel Racine are W. Scott Armstrong and Kenneth T. White from Chicago.

  9. There are some photos of the original Hotel Racine in the North Shore Line archive at the Illinois Railway Museum. These were likely company photos taken for publicity purposes. Scanned versions of the photos along with a few other Racine photos are up at The photos of the hotel appear to be looking North along 6th and Racine? When I first scanned them I zoomed in on the poster on the streetcar and noted they appeared to be taken in May 1919. These were likely originally large glass plate negatives so the quality is pretty clear.

  10. I recently came across some shares of the “Racine Hotel Company,” dated December 1927. Do these have any value? Thank you for any information you may be able to provide.

    • 1927 would have been when they were raising money for the second Hotel Racine on the same lot. These would definitely have historic value — we’d like to see them — but probably not monetary value.

  11. My grandfather, Rudolph Becker was a barber at the hotel Racine for many years. My dad Vince Becker &I would pick him up on a Saturday after work. We would go into the lounge, there was a piano playing we would sit down for a drink, I had coke the boys had a beer,such fond memories.

  12. My father stayed at the hotel Racine #2 in May of 1959. Room 717.

    When was it torn down?

    Do you have any interior photos?


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