Visit the Museum
The Museum is located in the Martin Hotel Museum at 118 N. Monroe St., Versailles, Mo and is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Hotel History-Samuel & Elizabeth (Gray) Martin came to Versailles, Missouri by covered wagon in 1853 from Patrick County, Virginia, bringing with them four children and two of Mr. Martin’s brothers. One of the brothers died in enroute and was buried in St Charles County, Missouri.
Within days of their arrival, they were approached by a woman who offered to rent them a small log structure for the amount of $100.00 per year. One year later, they purchased the log structure with two extra beds and a dining room for $300.00, bought an entire block of land for the taxes owed and moved the log building the present hotel site. A picture of the log hotel and the present structure are to be seen in the north wall of the lobby.
The Civil War was hard on the Martin family, since they had come from the south. At one time, when Federals were about to shoot Samuel Martin on the Courthouse Square, his crippled daughter, Sally, hobbled on her crutches to the scene and begged for her father’s life. The commanding officer released him saying the girl needed him more than the North did.
In the old hotel guest registers, in the museum are signatures of many Civil War soldiers who stopped for board and lodging, many with an I.O.U. following their name,
An addition, which houses most of the Museum, was built on to the log structure in 1877.
The two-story brick building, now adjoining it on the south was built in 1884, after the original log structure was moved off the property.
The guest rooms of the hotel were furnished with a bed, a washstand with a bowl and pitcher, wardrobe, chair, and a chamber pot. A coil of rope at a window in each guest room served as a fire escape in case of a fire. Hotel rates were $1.00 per day; 25 cents for a bed and 25 cents each for three meals.
The assembly room of the Martin Hotel was the dining room, where long tables held home cooked food served from the hotel kitchen. A cistern in the courtyard furnished water for the hotel.
Other attractions in the museum include the old barbershop, weaving room, quilt room, war relics room, beauty parlor, and an example of an early rural school room and many others to numerous to mention.
Stagecoaches coming through from Jefferson City to Springfield stopped in front of the hotel to let off passengers, among them traveling salesmen, called “drummers” who displayed their merchandise in the “salesroom” of the hotel.
Samuel Martin died in 1906 and his widow Elizabeth and their daughters Lucy and Sally operated the business for many years. Elizabeth “Grandma” Martin died in 1930 at the age of 104 years. Lucy Martin was the last direct linked Martin to be Proprietress of the Hotel. She died July 20, 1954.
The Hotel lobby, through which you enter, still has the old Seth Thomas clock on the wall, where it was wound every Sunday morning by Elizabeth Martin. The keyboard on the wall behind the original hotel desk holds the keys to the guest rooms upstairs.
The library contains bound volumes of the Morgan County newspapers from 1877, some of the old Martin Hotel guest registers, and other miscellaneous information pertinent to the history of Morgan County.
In the parlor, we have a Square Grand Piano, built by the Emerson Piano Company, and demonstrated at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Also in the parlor, we have a chandelier that was originally a carbide light, a folding covered wagon rocker (one of two in the museum) and several pieces of lovely old furniture.