The Marco Mars Apartments, 512 57th Street, was originally built in 1908 as the Hotel Orth. It was later renamed the Hotel Miller in 1931 and the Badger Hotel in 1939.

Downtown Kenosha was once a hotbed of hospitality

A comprehensive look at Kenosha's lost and forgotten hotels

By Steve MarovichKENOSHA.COM

Marovich brings a diverse skill set to with his years of experience as Carthage College sports information/assistant athletic director and educational background in political science, along with a 10-year stint as a restaurant line cook and sous chef.

Downtown Kenosha currently has three full-service hotels in the Wyndham Garden Kenosha Harborside and two recent additions in The Stella and The Apis.  

The Wyndham Garden, 5125 Sixth Avenue, was originally constructed as a Holiday Inn in 1971 and later transitioned into a Holiday Inn Express. The hotel lost its franchise in 2006 and became a Best Western Hotel until losing that franchise in 2016. New ownership took over the property late that year and converted it into a Wyndham Garden in early-2017. The Stella opened in 2019 and the Apis in 2020.

There used to be a lot more hotels around. There are also a couple of existing residential hotels that are ghosts of what they used to be.

Let’s take a walk through time, starting in 1837:

City Hotel (1837)

The first of two establishments to carry the name City Hotel was a log tavern located on Market Square on the northwest corner of what is now Sixth Avenue at 56th Street. Later, that site became the First National Bank of Kenosha.

Halliday House (1843)

Northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th Street

The Halliday House, the first brick building in Kenosha and once the most-palatial hotel in Wisconsin, burned on Jan. 31, 1871, in a fire that killed seven people, including four children.

Halliday House

It was originally the Durkee House, erected in 1843 by Charles Durkee on the site where the Bode Furniture store later stood, the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th Street. It had been in use for a little more than 22 years prior to the fire.

The building that replaced the Halliday House was also plagued by fire. Bode Brothers furniture and home furnishing store was built on the same corner in 1912 and burned to the ground on Super Bowl Sunday in January 1986. The site is now known as Harbor Park Parcel A and remains undeveloped.

American Hotel (1858)

Not much is known about this hotel, which was located at the southwest corner 56th Street and Fifth Avenue and renamed as the Exchange Hotel sometime after 1875.

Grant Hotel (1875-1922)

5729 Sixth Avenue or the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 58th Street

The Grant Hotel on the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 58th Street.

One of downtown Kenosha’s first hotels, the Grant Hotel was constructed in 1875 by Levi Grant. In 1903, it was purchased and renamed the Eichelman Hotel. Later, the name changed to the Hotel Borup and the Hotel Maywood. The building was razed in 1922 in favor of the current Schwartz Building.

Tenhagen House (1875-1910)

5148 Sixth Avenue

This boarding house closed in 1910 and is now a vacant lot just north of the Harborview Office Center at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 52nd Street.

Park Street House (1875)

5607 Seventh Avenue

The Park Street House opened around 1875 in a building that no longer exists on the southeast corner of 56th Street and Seventh Avenue. The building on that site currently houses a Subway Sandwiches shop.

West Side Hotel (1899-1963)

2923-25 60th Street or the southeast corner of 60th Street and 30th Avenue

Originally built as the West Side Hotel around 1899, the business was renamed the Cummings Hotel in 1901 and retained the name until 1916. It was called the Edelweiss Hotel between 1917 and 1920 and returned to the name West Side Hotel from 1921 to 1949. After that, it was known as the Roosevelt Hotel from around 1950 to about 1963 and was razed sometime after that. In the late-1920s, there was also a West Side Hotel Annex a few doors east at 2915 60th Street.

Brassville Hotel (1899-1977)

1201-1205 63rd Street

Located just south of the former American Brass factory site, the Brassville opened around 1899 and served as a residential hotel for 78 years until about 1977. It was razed sometime after that and a single-family house now sits on the property.

Hotel Fischer (1899-1936)

508-512 56th Street

Located just east of the original Rhode Opera House, the Hotel Fischer was the third hotel building on that site.  

The City Hotel in 1886.

The first hotel on the site was the second iteration of the City Hotel (the first was a block west on Market Square).  The second City Hotel was built in the early-1850s at what is now 508-12 56th Street. Peter Rhode purchased the building in 1886 and renamed it the Commercial Hotel in 1887 before it was torn down in 1895. A second building, a three-story brick structure followed, which was known as the Hotel Central beginning around 1903.  

The third building, a four-story brick structure, was erected by Kenosha industrialist George Fischer in 1911 and was called the Hotel Fischer. At the time, the adjacent Simmons Company had embarked on a new venture — the manufacture of brass beds. The Hotel Fischer was built largely to meet the rising demand of the factory workers for temporary quarters. The Hotel Fischer was torn down in the summer of 1936. The adjacent Union Dye building to the east survived into the 1970s before being razed. The two buildings were eventually replaced by two one-story commercial buildings, which today houses the Ono restaurant, Swede’s Pub and the Slip 56 Bar & Grill.

Schlitz Hotel (1899-1960)

5164 Sixth Avenue or the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 52nd Street

The Schlitz Hotel was one of two downtown hotels to carry the name, both of which were “tied houses” with connections to Milwaukee’s Schlitz Brewing Company.  

The Schlitz Hotel not long after opening in 1899.

A “tied house” was a tavern with an exclusive relationship with a specific brewery to sell that brewer’s products. Sometimes the taverns were owned by the brewery and leased to an operator. Other times, brewers made tied house deals with independent tavern keepers.

Opened around 1899, the Schlitz Hotel eventually lost its corporate relationship and operated under a series of names, including the Grand View Hotel (1927-29), the Lakeview Hotel (1929-43), the All American Hotel (1943-45), the Guttormsen Hotel (1945-49) and the Shorecrest Hotel (1950-60).

Guttormsen’s Recreation Center at 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue.

The hotel was razed sometime in 1960.  Directly to the rear of the hotel was Guttormsen’s Recreation Center, which was razed for the Harborview Office Center in the early 1990s.

Hotel Southern (1899-1925)

522 61st Street

The Hotel Southern at 522 61st Street.

The historic Samuel B. Scott House, built in 1855, operated as a fashionable boarding house between 1899 and 1925.

Sterling House (1899)

5601 24th Avenue

Another establishment adjacent to Nash Motors, the Sterling House apparently operated an upstairs hotel around the turn of the century at the southeast corner of 56th Street and 24th Avenue. While the hotel operation disappeared, the Sterling House Tavern operated between 1937 and 1950 and later became a bar called Speedy’s Too.

Hotel Kenosha (1903)

5610 Seventh Avenue

615-17 57th Street

606-10 57th Street

There have been three iterations of the Hotel Kenosha. The first, circa 1903, was located at 5610 Seventh Avenue. That building was eventually replaced by a current small condominium building and the onetime home of Louie’s Pizza on the main floor.

The second Hotel Kenosha, from about 1899 to 1941, was located at 615-17 57th Street. That building, which no longer exists, was located on the site of what later became the Kenosha National Bank drive-thru window.  

Navy Club and Hotel Kenosha (1899-1941) at 615-617 57th Street.

Starting sometime in the late 1920s, the hotel added an annex in an 1875 building across the street at 606-10 57th Street. The annex took over space that had been known as the Park Street House, the Park Street Hotel or the New Park Hotel in the early 1900s.

Probably when the 615-17 location was razed between 1941-45, the hotel and its operation moved across the street with the Hotel Kenosha name and continued to operate from about 1941 to 1970.

Hotel Dania (1906-08)

5527 Sixth Avenue

The Hotel Dania, which only operated for a year or two, was located in an 1863 building that still stands, although the facade has undergone multiple renovations. The building is currently the Rose & Rose Attorneys Building.

Dorff Hotel (1906)

2517-19 60th Street

This building first went up in 1906 and opened as the residential Hotel Richelieu around 1910. It was subsequently renamed the Palmer Hotel in 1920, then the Lincoln Hotel around 1924 and finally the Dorff Hotel from 1947 to 1956. At least part of the structure still stands at the office for a La Pesca Milagrosa, a non-profit housing support group.

Badger Hotel (1908)

512 57th Street

Originally built in 1908 as the Hotel Orth, this building still stands. The facility was renamed the Hotel Miller in 1931 and later the Badger Hotel in 1939. The latter operated through 1969 and is currently the Marco Mars Apartments.

Hotel Jacobs (1910-28)

703 56th Street

The Hotel Jacobs was a unique building with a large turret, built around 1910 and located on the southwest corner of 56th Street and Seventh Avenue. From 1918 to 1928, it was known as the City Square Hotel. The building was demolished in 1928 when Seventh Avenue was widened between 56th and 57th Streets.

Lakeside Hotel (1910)

515-17 57th Street

This 1875 building has housed a variety of businesses over the years including photographic studios, a dance studio and apparently for a short period, a hotel, probably on the third floor.  It’s currently being renovated as an event facility.

English Court Hotel/Hotel Fischer Annex (1912-27)

5514 Fifth Avenue

The English Court Hotel, which later became the Hotel Fischer Annex, was located about where the rear door of Slip 56 is now, extending to Fifth Avenue. The hotel was directly across the street from the Simmons Company’s main office. The hotel building was razed sometime in the early 1930s.

The Plaza Hotel (1912)

5707-13 Seventh Avenue

The Plaza is Kenosha’s oldest operating hotel. Built in 1912 on the eastern side of the 5700 block of Seventh Avenue, the current residential hotel is known as the Wi-Star Plaza Hotel.

The Plaza Hotel is now the Wi-Star Plaza Hotel.

Hotel Kirar (1918-76)

5627 24th Avenue

Hotel Kirar and Kirar Tavern at 5627-29 24th Avenue (circa early-1920s).

The area surrounding the Nash Motors plant in Kenosha’s Columbus Park neighborhood had multiple residential hotels at one time. One of the oldest was the Hotel Kirar, which opened in 1918 and retained its name until 1959. That year, it became known as the E&M Hotel, and that name stuck until 1972 when it was renamed the Cheetah Lounge and Hotel. In 1976, it became known as the Outrigger West Hotel for a year or two. Most of the old hotels and bars in the area were razed by the city starting in the 1980s.

Algonquin Hotel (1921-not built)

812 56th Street or the northeast corner of Sheridan Road and 56th Street

An advertisement from 1920 for the unbuilt Algonquin Hotel.

What would have been the grandest hotel in Kenosha was not built. Announced in 1920 with a hoped-for completion date of October 1921, the 10-story Algonquin apparently ran into difficulties with financing. The Kenosha Civic Center Building currently occupies the site, which is now earmarked as the location for a new Kenosha City Hall.

Madison House (1923)

2211 60th Street

Another short-lived hotel on the southwest corner of 22nd Avenue and 60th Street, the property now houses a gas station and convenience store.

Dayton Hotel (1925)

521 59th Street or the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 59th Street

The Dayton Hotel circa 1940.

Certainly downtown Kenosha’s most iconic old hotel, the eight-floor Dayton Hotel opened on June 20, 1925.  

Its builder and first owner was Jacob Gottlieb, a local resident and established businessman. He had previously attended Morgan Park Military Academy in Chicago and had hoped to enlist for World War I. Unfortunately, he was not accepted due to poor eyesight, but his patriotism ran deep, and he later named the hotel after his friend Captain Edward Dayton (4th Infantry Regiment, WI Army National Guard).  

The Dayton operated as a hotel for 40 years, and past guests include the Three Stooges, Sen. John F. Kennedy in early 1960 and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967.

Hotel’s amenities included a dining room, a coffee shop and the Town Casino Theatre Bar and Cocktail Lounge, a Hollywood-style nightclub, which opened on Dec. 18, 1942.

After a few ownership transitions, the Dayton began the change to single-room occupancy in 1965 and became a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) by 1974. It began housing military veterans during this time, many dealing with mental health issues following their service. 

LaSalle Hotel (1929-77)

1607 65th Street

Originally built as the Southway Hotel in 1929 in the area south of the American Brass factory, the residential hotel was renamed the Hotel Del Conte in 1933 and ultimately the LaSalle Hotel or the LaSalle Hotel for Men in 1939. The building came down sometime after 1977 and is currently a single-family home.

Northwestern Hotel (1875-1937)

5331 13th Avenue

5425 13th Avenue

This long-operating hotel, in the shadows of Kenosha’s Chicago & North Western train station, apparently had two locations.  The first site, just south of 52nd Street, lasted from at least 1875 until 1925 when the hotel moved south about a block.

The second location would have been about where the city parking lot is now at the front of the Metra station, just south of 54th Street. That location lasted until sometime between 1933 and 1937. The entire area between 54th Street and 52nd Street was razed in the 1980s for the current Stationside Village apartment complex, which opened in 1990.

Maple House (1896)

1213 55th Street or the southeast corner of 55th Street and 13th Avenue

The Maple House at 1213 55th Street was constructed in 1880.

The Maple House got its start as a complex of three buildings near the southeast corner of 55th Street and 13th Avenue.  The William Seymour House at 1207 55th Street was the first piece of the puzzle. Seymour, a Kenosha pioneer, lived in the house until he died in 1869. Sometime after that, his home was converted into a boarding house known as the Garfield House, with a small building connecting to what is now known as the Maple House a few doors to the west.

The current Maple House office building at 1213 55th Street.

One of Kenosha’s iconic buildings, the Maple House was built in 1880. At the time, the building featured a turret on the northwest corner with a grand cupola, topped with a Schlitz Brewing Company globe. The cupola and the distinctive Schlitz globe did not survive later renovations.  

The three-building complex, with the one-story Wisconsin Restaurant in the middle at 1209 55th Street, was operated as one business for a time. Around 1924, the Garfield House portion of the complex was no longer being used, and in 1925, the Maple House portion was renamed the Hotel Wisconsin.  

That name stuck until the business became Kenosha’s second Schlitz Hotel in 1939. The other Schlitz Hotel, located at 5164 Sixth Avenue, lost its brewery name in 1927. On 55th Street, the name stuck until at least 1958. The building was vacant from the late 1950s to the early 1990s when it was rescued from the brink of demolition and restored after the Pearl Street Historical District was established in the mid-1980s. The building is currently privately owned and leased as commercial office space.

Rambler Hotel (1899-1933)

2200 57th Street

Another residential hotel adjacent to Nash Motors, the Rambler Hotel first opened  as the West Side Hotel around 1899. It was renamed as the Rambler Hotel around 1906 and operated under that name until 1933 or so before being razed. It is now a vacant lot.

Cream City Hotel (1910-81)

2206-08 57th Street

Originally built around 1910, the Cream City Hotel retained its name until it was changed to the Lovelace Hotel between 1973 and 1979. The business was renamed Bill & Bob’s Hotel in 1980 and torn down sometime after that. It is currently a vacant lot.

McWhyte Hotel (1920)

This short-lived hotel was located at the corner of 14th Avenue and 27th Street between 1920 and 1921.

Hotel Manor (1929-31)

1214 60th Street

The hotel building is long gone, and the State of Wisconsin Community Corrections Division building that replaced it was burned to the ground during the August 2020 civil unrest.

Arcade Hotel & Tavern (1930)

2113 56th Street

This 1916 building still stands, just east of 22nd Avenue. It apparently operated as a hotel for a few years in the early 1930s.

The former Arcade Hotel & Tavern at 2113 56th Street.

Park Place Hotel (1937)

6036 Eighth Avenue

An apartment hotel was located at 6036 Eighth Avenue in 1937 with a dining room and a Chinese tea room. The Queen Anne home, known as the Charles Allen House, was listed by the Wisconsin Historical Society before being torn down in 1975. Charles Allen was the older brother of Nathan Allen Jr. The two brothers were the sons of Allen Tannery founder Nathan R. Allen. The site is currently occupied by a 1994 addition to the building at 6032 Eighth Avenue that houses the Here We Grow Academy day care center.

Midway Motor Lodge (1964)

Midway Motor Lodge at 1800 60th Street

The Midway Motor Lodge and Nino’s Steak Round-Up opened in 1964.

Opened in 1964 with 91 rooms, convention and banquet facilities, an indoor pool and Nino’s Steak Round-Up. By the late 1990s, the property had become a Budget American Motel and an eyesore and was razed by the city in the early-2000s.

Special thanks to the Kenosha History Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries