Former Holland Hotel site becomes senior center
If you think the Jack Tar was the only big hotel in downtown Orange, you would be wrong. Before the Jack Tar, the city had the Holland Hotel, which was on the corner of Division and Fifth streets, across from where the Jack Tar was later built.
The Holland Hotel opened on Nov.1, 1902. It burned about 1955 and was then demolished. The lot has stayed empty, though it served as the parking lot for the Jack Tar for many years. The City of Orange now has plans to build a new Senior Citizen Center/Meals on Wheels building on the site of the old Holland Hotel. The development is part of the downtown master plan.
Orange had other hotels when the Holland was built, but the other inns weren’t fancy enough for the wealthy people in the lumber industry who lived in Orange and were contributing to culture. So some leading citizens invested in the venture to get a first-class hotel for visitors and for gatherings.
The Orange Opera House was at the northwest corner of Division and Sixth streets. It was built by Frances Ann Lutcher, the wife of Henry Jacob Lutcher, who was an owner of the Lutcher and Moore Lumber Co. based in Orange. The Holland Hotel was a suitable place for performers and visitors to stay. With a ballroom and dining room featuring gourmet food by chefs, the Holland was also a place for Orange’s society to dine and hold receptions before and after events at the Opera House.
William Stark of the Lutcher and Moore Lumber Co. was one of the investors leading the project to build the hotel. The investors hired Burt McDonald to design the hotel. He had designed hotels in Chicago and other large cities. William S. Eden was the head of construction and Charles Rein of the Rein Publishing Co. in Orange oversaw the project.
The hotel ended up with three stories of red brick and turrets on the corners. The ballroom and lobby had marble floors and ornate carvings. It was also decorated with Greek-style statutes. The west side of the second floor had a large gallery overlooking the Opera House for women to sit and socialize because it was not proper for Victorian Age women to hang around a hotel lobby.
Furniture in the Holland came from France and England. Today, the Heritage House Museum has some pieces that were originally in the old hotel.
The hotel featured high-class technology for the times. It was equipped with electricity and had long-distance telephone service. The rooms also had electric ceiling fans.
Fifth and Division was the perfect spot for the hotel because it was near two train depots. One depot was at the end of Division and the other was on Front Street near Third Street. The city’s largest livery stable for renting horses and carriages was across the street from the Holland.
A large barbershop, for men only, was on the street level. The hotel also had a gift shop.
For the next half century, the hotel was the site of elegant balls, parties and dinners. Politicians and leaders came and stayed, often speaking to clubs.
H.J. Lutcher Stark, the son of William Stark, started the Orange Rotary Club, which met at the hotel. The Orange Jaycees held the group’s first meeting at the Holland.
The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team conducted spring training in Orange during 1921 and 1922. The team players and management stayed at the Holland.
In 1949, the hotel closed for a while for a major renovation. The red brick was covered in white stone and the rooms were remodeled. The hotel opened as The New Holland Hotel.
However, the fire stuck about five years later. The owners didn’t want to fix the major damage and the hotel was eventually torn down. Investors then built the Jack Tar across the street. That hotel served Orange until it closed in the mid-1980s, when it was turned into a retirement home.