Harris House Hotel

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Description: Postcard of the Harris House Hotel
Location: SC58
Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Historical Article: The Harris House Hotel, located in the center of the town of Westport at Pennsylvania Avenue and Westport Road, was built in 1844 and kept by John Harris. It was known far and wide for its generous hospitality and Southern cooking. Early patrons of the hostelry were the Santa Fe Trail outfitters, the wagon masters, government sutlers and factors, for Westport was the terminus of the Santa Fe Trail.Westport's streets were lined with blacksmith shops, wagon factories and supply houses of all sorts, such as Kearney & Bernard, J.M.& J. Hunter, Baker & Street and A. G. Boone.Travelers of note who stayed at the Harris House included General Fremont, Senator Benton, Washington Irving and Horace Greeley. General Fremont left his wife at the hotel for months at a time while he made his expeditions in the far west.A family of slaves were the servants of the hotel, writes Carrie Whitney. Aunt Minerva and her husband, Mark, were the cooks. Mark would 'roach' up his hair, put on a white apron and soft slippers and fly into the dining room, where he turned into head waiter. He presided over the meat table and carved venison, wild turkey, three-year-old home-cured ham or whole roast pig, with a flourish and distinction that made him famous.The old hotel served as General Curtis' headquarters during the battle of Westport, and from its roof he could survey a wide area.Today the site of the old hotel is occupied by the parking lot of the Raisin' Rack's restaurant.Kansas City TimesApril 4, 1980
Barcode: 20000486
Item Type: Postcard


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