Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Hotel Marion in Oklahoma City

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Hotel Marion in Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

For decades, the boarded-up Hotel Marion has been in a state of slow decay near the corner of NW 10th Street and N. Broadway Avenue.

Built in 1908, the three-story brick structure features neoclassical elements such as a triangular pediment that is part of the building's elegant, crumbling facade.

Shuttered since the mid-1970s, the place was once a lively family hotel run for about 30 years by Bess Haney, the wife of a traveling salesman and mother of five.

Oklahoma City resident John Haney, 83, the youngest of the five Haney children, remembers his mother taking over operations at the hotel with zeal in 1946, when he was a senior in high school.

Bess Haney kept the Marion spotless and lent a cheery presence to the halls of the three-story hotel, John Haney said.

"She was really a nonpossessive person - she just let you live your life," he said. "She smiled all of the time, but she also worked awfully hard all of the time."

The Marion was next to an Army recruiting station, and the Haneys saw countless young servicemen from across the state off to the Vietnam and Korean wars over the years, said Kansas City-area resident Malcolm Haney, one of Bess Haney's grandchildren and John Haney's nephew.

Malcolm Haney recalled the hotel's old-fashioned soda pop machine that would dispense soft drinks in glass bottles for 10 cents.

"Bessie had an old-fashioned telephone switchboard and would patch people through to the rooms," Malcolm Haney said. "It was a warm family place and Bessie was the matriarch of the family."

Malcolm Haney and his cousins would stay at the Marion whenever their parents were out of town.

The Marion's slogan was "The nicest small hotel you'll find."

Bess Haney ran a tight ship at the Marion, her son said. She always kept a sharp eye out for "ladies of the evening," or, as she called them, "sports" - who might try to accompany servicemen staying at the hotel up to their rooms, John Haney said. …

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