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 North Manchester, Indiana

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Sheller Hotel

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Source: News-Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Section

Sheller Hotel Traces Origin To Year 1847

North Manchester's Sheller Hotel traces its origins to 1847 when the Lantz House was opened. The Hotel continues to keep nearly all of its 20 sleeping rooms filled today, over a hundred years later.

The old registers at the hotel include the names of entertainers Lillian Russell and Fay Templeton, dated 1904. Frank James, brother to Jesse James, stayed in the hotel in 1904 when he came to town to start the races at the old fairgrounds.

Rev. Lloyd Douglas also stayed in the hotel when he first came to North Manchester to begin his ministry.

The present building located at 202 Walnut Street is thought to have been constructed in three sections. A frame building was constructed by Henry Lantz in 1847 and was probably located on the corner of Walnut and Second Streets although some old timers have said it was located nearer the alley.

The frame section was moved in 1881 and the brick front portion was added by Rufus Grimes who operated the business as The Grimes House. Grimes had previously operated the American House which was located on Main and Walnut Streets. The American House was of log construction and it burned on January 25, 1883. The brick portion of the Grimes House was made of bricks made locally and those bricks have just recently been painted over because they were beginning a deterioration process.

Horace B. Sheller, better known as "Holly" or "Pop", made the addition of the third floor and the kitchen section in the early 1890s. The addition left a two foot thick brick wall between today's lobby and dining room in the hotel.

Pop Sheller built a thriving business from the hotel. Hacks would run to the train depot several times a day to pick up passengers arriving in town. The hacks ran from a livery stable located where today's Post Office now stands offering a convenient location to the hotel.

Many of the hotel's guests were drummers, or salesmen, who would stay several weeks showing their merchandise. They displayed their goods to prospective customers in the trunk room which was located near the present liquor store.

Pop's son Charles, was born in the hotel as the family occupied three front rooms as their living area. Charles took over the operation in 1935 and his wife, Jane, continues its operation today.

Some of the original equipment is still in use in the kitchen. Of special interest is a five foot long and nearly three inches thick white marble top table that "Pop" used for making candy. A taffy pulling hook also remains in the kitchen. Dough boxes, pots and pans of better quality than many available today are also used in the kitchen which "Pop" added when he took over.

Source: North Manchester Journal, January 14, 1897

The Hotel Sheller

It is the proud boast of North Manchester that in no city in Northern Indiana can be found better hotel accommodations than those afforded by the Hotel Sheller, located at the corner of Walnut and Second streets, this city. The genial and courteous proprietor, "Holly" Sheller, is a born hotel man, as all will attest who have been so fortunate as to partake of the good cheer afforded by his popular hostelry. Mr. Sheller is an experienced hotel man and commands the patronage of the best trade by affording every comfort and convenience which the most fastidious guest might exact. The Hotel Sheller has found great favor with the traveling public and is recognized at home and abroad as North Manchester's leading hotel. The best evidence of "Holly" Sheller's personal popularity and the high standard at which he maintains his hotel is the fact that ninety-nine per cent of the commercial travelers who visit North Manchester become his guests. Commercial travelers possess an unerring instinct which guides them to the best hotels along their respective routes, and their presence in such large numbers at the Hotel Sheller is proof strong as Holy Writ that they concede it to be the leading hotel of North Manchester. Another magnetic attraction possessed by the Hotel Sheller is "George." There is but one "George" in all this wide world and he can be found only at the Hotel Sheller.

Source: Aurora (1923) Ad:

Hotel Sheller
The Place for Manchester students to bring their friends.
North Manchester's

Source: Aurora (1925) Ad:

Special Dinners.
Courteous Service
Hot and Cold running water
½ Square North of Post Office
H.B. Sheller Prop.

Source: Aurora (1936) Ad:

Unexcelled for its
Clean Rooms
Good Beds
Excellent Meals

Special Arrangements for Clubs and Parties

Source: NMHS Newsletter, May 2006

The Hotel Sheller

One of the great stories of history in North Manchester is the story of the historic Hotel Sheller. There are so many aspects of this story. One might be the tale of the great and glamorous who have stayed there when they made their brief appearance on local stages: Lillian Russell, Faye Templeton or Dolly Fox. The author, Lloyd C. Douglas, lived at the hotel when he was a young pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. Thomas Marshall, Vice President, was a guest at the hotel.

Up until about 1925 what was called the wide-open system was used at the hotel. This system was outlined in a sign on the counter, placed there whenever no clerk was at the desk at night. The sign read, "Please register. Take a key and find your room. Pay at the desk after 5:30 a.m."

The result was described by a Chicago man in a letter to the Chicago Tribune telling of an experience that had happened on his travels. He told of stopping at the Hotel Sheller, a "homey looking hotel", late one night and ringing the bell for service. No one answered and when he found the note on the table, he followed the directions and had a good night's sleep.

When he came down in the morning there was still no one around, and he left and went home without ever seeing a single person. But he did mail the money for the room.

In an interview in 1983, Jane Sheller said that during her first years at the hotel, "We wouldn't have lost pay for more than four or five rooms using that system."