Page 12 - OCHS History Magazine Summer 2014
P. 12
for both the inn and the dining room. This earned the Graystone the highest honor: a gold seal. suites and an adjacent opera house. Eventually, a second concrete block building was added to the The hotel was sold in the 1930s to Ben Bostain, who property to expand the amount of rooms available promptly renamed the property as the “Bostain Hotel.” to guests visiting the area. The “inn” thus became a During the 1940s, the hotel was refurbished and “hotel” with its larger capacity. received a fnal name change – repeating history as the Tropical Hotel (or the Tropical Motor Hotel in the In 1915, Thurman sold the Graystone Hotel property later years). The hotel’s long history in Kissimmee to Senator Arthur E. Donegan, which included the came to an end In the 1960s when the hotel was entire city block on Broadway from Possiel to Dakin razed in order to make room for the First Federal avenues, the hotel building, the Graystone Casino Savings and Loan building, which is now part of the and offce building. An excerpt from the Kissimmee City Centre. Valley Gazette details Donegan’s plans for his new property: As a remnant of this historic hotel from Kissimmee’s past, the silver tea set is an important piece of “Extensive improvements will be made in the property Osceola History. Along with the engraved “Graystone” at once, and it will be placed in such shape as to tea set, the donation package also included a few be one of the foremost tourist resorts in the state. historic photos of the Bon Air Hotel and a letter from Senator Donegan intimated the plans included an the donor. The donor, Kay Jennings MacMillan, annex on Paradise Island, which he controls, and that detailed her family’s involvement with the Graystone arrangements would be probably be made for outing Inn and the Bon Air Hotel. grounds for winter visitors.” According to the letter, her great grandmother, Jane According to a 1915 newspaper article from the Goodrich Hafeli-Wiggins, and her grandmother, Kissimmee Valley Gazette, State Hotel Inspector Naomi Caroline Hafeli Jennings, moved to Kissimmee O.G. Husband rated all of the hotels in the Kissimmee in the early 1920s. They owned the Bon Air hotel and area. During his visit, Husband looked for the managed the Graystone Hotel during the 1920s into hotel’s cleanliness, effciency in equipment, care of the 1950s. The tea set was kept within the family until “foodstuffs,” ventilation and screening, among other MacMillan decided to pass on these historical items to assorted qualifcations. Out of a scale of 100, the OCHS to save for posterity. Graystone received the highest rating in the city: a 97 Thanks to this unexpected delivery, a piece of the Graystone Hotel’s rich history will now be preserved within the collection of OCHS and will likely be on display at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum in the future for guests to have the opportunity to see this great physical memory of Kissimmee from 100 years ago. OCHS HISTORY MAGAZINE | 13
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