Written by Marilyn Snodgrass, updated 2016
“I’ve never been there, or yes, I was there when I was a kid are some of the comments heard when talking about the hotel. I’m so glad someone has taken it over.” Most say, David and Marilyn Snodgrass are the right couple for this project.
It wasn’t until April 11, 2014, that either David or Marilyn Snodgrass had ever been inside the Orleans Hotel. It only took one look for them to realize the possibilities for them in the that old, beautiful, historic building. Both are retired, but have lots of ideas and talent. They needed a project.
In short order they bought it and in May they took possession and the rest is in the record books. A summer of cleaning and fixing and it was ready to open. The major projects have been central AC and the accessibility ramp at the backdoor. Both, among other things, were ready by the official opening on September 1st.
The Fall season brings many hunters from Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and Nebraska to the hotel. In addition, there have been meetings, parties and catered dinners to name a few of the activities. A huge open house weekend goes on all during Applefest in October. Nearly 300 people toured the hotel during one such event. Some of the comments were: “unbelievable,” “beautiful,” “I didn’t know this existed and that it is in such good shape.”
The Orleans Hotel was built in 1929. The exact date of its opening has not been determined. The original blue prints included another story on top and many more luxuries that make you think that the economy might have stopped some slowed some of that. It was originally planned to have 40 sleeping room. It ended up with 30 and then most recently several of those are being used for other things. The end result is 20 available rooms. Even though the building is structurally sound inside and out, it’s the inside that takes your breath away. It is certain that you have not seen so much beautiful woodwork, hardwood floors and beautiful staircases in one place in a long time. Not in this area anyway and not in its original condition. Even though the hotel has been in operation over the years, it has not been abused. Between 1950-55 it was full every night while the Harlan County Dam was being built. Some of the workers on the dam used this as their home during that time. Other stories tell of it being a haven for traveling salesmen. The Snodgrasses have restored the telephone room back to its original condition with a wooden telephone booth. This room was used extensively by the salesmen. A wooden phone booth has been acquired and is in the process of being installed.