Abandoned hotel in Ohio

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio
Date added: April 18, 2023 Categories: Ohio Hotel
Main Street & Depeyster Facades, looking southwest (2012)

On September 8th, 1920 the Stockholders of the Kent Hotel Company, along with their families, were given a private tour of the new Franklin Hotel. They enjoyed a banquet with a menu that began with Buffet Russe (caviar), Pamplemousse Supreme (grapefruit), Celeri, Olives. A second course of Consomme double en tasse (soup), Supreme De Turbortin Bonvalet Concombres a l'etuvee (chicken with a bearnaise sauce served in bread, with a side cucumber), Tournedos a la Henri IV (beef with a bearnaise sauce), Sorbet. A Third course of Pintade Rotie aux Chataignes Asperges au beurre (roasted Guinea hen with chestnuts and asparagus) and a salad course of Salade a la Kent. The dessert menu featured Glaces (ice cream) Friandises (sweets), Delices des Dames, Fruits and Cafe.

The Stockholders toured the new hotel discovering that this hotel had electric lights, radios, telephones and private rooms with a bath. Two additional celebrations were scheduled, all which engaged the Mason-Dixon Jazz Orchestra for entertainment purposes. A second banquet for both stockholders and the general public occurred on September 11th, 1920 and a public reception was scheduled on Sunday September 12th, 1920 between the hours of noon and four.

The Board of Trade's first meeting was held on February 11, 1910. Martin L. Davey served as chairman. The board was feverishly formed by the leading citizens of Kent to respond to the need to rebuild the Seneca Chain Company plant which was destroyed by fire on December 10, 1909. With a plant in Mansfield the officers of the chain company were saying that they could enlarge the Mansfield plant. However, the officers promised if $100,000 issue of preferred stock would be taken by local people, they would rebuild in Kent. The newly organized Board of Trade, with John A. Wells as president and W.W. Reed as secretary, along with a committee headed by Judge David Ladd Rockwell, Jr. and Elmer E. France and members W. S. Kent, Mayor H. C. Eckert, I. R. Marsh and John G. Getz successful steered the campaign and sold the $100,000 in stocks. The Board of Trade supported several endeavors that served as civic progress. These progressive men organized the Board "to promote, foster, protect and advance the commercial, mercantile, and manufacturing interest of Kent and vicinity" as expressed in the bylaws. Shortly after the board's first accomplishment, the board held a contest to come up with a slogan for Kent. A $5 award was awarded to Ralph Heighton with the slogan "Kent, Home of Hump and Hustle". The name of the Board of Trade was changed on December 14, 1920 to the Chamber of Commerce.

The Board of Trade held their meetings in the second floor of the Kent National Building from 1910 to 1930. The board was instrumental in bringing the State Normal School to Kent in 1910, and later changing the name to Kent State University. They sponsored the Mason Tire and Rubber Company in 1915. They led the drive to attain $8,300 to purchase the land on which the L. N. Gross Company erected their plant. They sold $64,000 worth of stock in 1927 to secure the Twin Coach Company. In addition, they brought the Loeblein Company and the Black and Decker Company to Kent. They help fund the rebuilding of the dam and widening of the Main Street Bridge. They were instrumental in the zoning of the city. They sponsored several organizations including the Welfare Association and the Community Chest, which served to distribute money to non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross, the YMCA, Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Scouts, and the Children Welfare League. The Franklin Hotel was another successful civic movement driven by the Board of Trade, launched in early 1919 to fill a much needed void in the town's landscape.

Dudley. M. Mason, president of the Mason Company, initiated the idea of a modern hostelry for Kent. Kent had been without a hotel for nearly twenty years, since the Revere Hotel closed in 1899. The industries were emerging and strengthening, the Kent State Normal School was growing, and construction of buildings was booming. Along with railroad traffic, bringing travelers to Kent, the city was in dire need of a high quality hotel for visitors. Two lodging establishments lacked the ability to handle the demand of travelers; they were the Johnson House, at 234 South Water Street and the Commercial Hotel at 139 Franklin Avenue. The Board of Trade, later changed to the Chamber of Commerce, was instrumental in selling the stock of the Kent Hotel Company.

The campaign to sell stock for the new hotel was initiated at a Board of Trade meeting held on March 24, 1919. The Board of Trade members were to be active salesmen for the stock. The 300 member board was each urged to purchase $100.00 worth of stock and to encourage sales of stock to at least two friends. The terms of the stock sales were 10% of the payment due at application, 10% due on the 15th of each month for nine consecutive months. The easy payment plan "Buy and Boost" was further pressed through the Boost the Hote! slogan printed in the Kent Courier which read:

Boost your city, boost your friend;
Boost the Booster to the end,
Boost the street on which you are dwelling,
Boost the goods that you are selling,
Boost the people 'round about you,
They can't get along without you,
Cease to be a Chronic Knocker
Cease to be a Progress Blocker,
If you'd make your city better,
Boost the Hotel 'Til we Get 'er
Signed by R.U.A. Booster

The Board felt that the hotel would mean more to Kent then a new factory employing 50 people. An article was written in the Kent Courier about the Hotel Deming in Terre Haute, Indiana, where a similar local fund raising campaign had been successful. An architectural rendering was posted in the newspaper on April 10, 1919. The image was meant to inspire, an architect had not yet been chosen, and the design is not the hotel that was built. Temporary offices for the hotel were located at 144 South Water Street. To increase interest in the hotel stocks, organizers held a naming contest for the hotel. The prize was $150 and the conditions of the prize were that the hotel stock holders would vote on the entry names awarding a second prize of $30 and third prize of $20 as well. The name was to have a historic relation to Kent. By June the name Franklin Hotel was chosen. Kent was originally named Franklin Mills. Eleven men had suggested the name, so the prize money went to Dr. M. J. Slutz, while the second and third prize purse of $50 was distributed to the ten other men.

In late August a meeting was held to bond the first mortgage with Stanley and Bissell of Cleveland. Roy H. Smith, W.A. Cluff, W.S. Kent, and Professor Marker conducted the meeting to move the $75,000.00 bond forward. By September of 1919, the Board had selected H. L. Stevens as the architect. An article referenced Stevens work on both the Olmstead Hotel in Cleveland and the Ashtabula Hotel, which was under construction. The Barnett Site had been selected and by September 11, 1919 the old mansion had been raised and excavation work had begun. By December 18, 1919 the excavation and foundation work was completed and the walls were being erected employing Alliance Tapestry brick.

The Kent Hotel Company consisted of 210 Kent citizens that included prominent local businessmen, bankers, architects, attorneys, doctors, public officials and clergy. The Kent Company was organized to operate the new hotel. The agreement was a five year lease. The board of directors consisted of R.H. Smith, P.B. Hall, J. H. Diehl, J.G. Getz, W.B. Andrews, W.R. Zingler, R. Gombert, F. W. Albrecht, W. S. Kent, D. M. Mason and W. A Cluff.

Members of the Board of Trade that were stockholders in the Kent Hotel Company included numerous community and business leaders. Here is a brief biography of the more prominent individuals. Dr. William Baird Andrews, one of the founders of the Kent Rotary Club, was a local surgeon for the Erie and Baltimore and Ohio Railroads. Norman N. Beal owned a Lumber and Sled business. Beal was mayor of Kent from 1927-29 and again in 1931. William A. Cluff was an executive of the Mason Tire and Rubber Company and served on the Kent State Board of Trustees. Martin L. Davey was manager of the Davey Tree Expert Company, served as Mayor of Kent from 1914-1918, in the House of Representatives from 1918-1929 and was Governor of Ohio from 1935-1939. Davey was the director of the Franklin Hotel in 1922. Elmer E. France, Postmaster and an owner of a dry goods store, was the manager of the government bonds sales during World War |. John G. Getz owner of Getz Brothers hardware store and served on council and on other city commissions. James S. Green was an officer of the Williams Brothers Company. David H. Green owned the Mark Davis clothing store. George E. Hinds began his career as the station agent for the Erie Railroad. Later he worked at the Kent National Bank where he served as a board member in 1904. He was a founding member of the Kent Free Library and treasurer of the Kent Board of Education. W.O. Hollister, the first mayor of the incorporated city in 1921, served as president of the Board of Trade. He was mayor again from 1921-23. Burt G. Kneifel and Milton Kneifel were brothers who owned the Kneifel Grocery Company. Burt served on several boards including Kent Board of Education and Portage County Hospital. Coe Livingston was proprietor of the Livingston Clothing store. He was the first retailer to light the front of his store with Tungsten lights. He also operated the Kent Opera House from 1906-1907. Harry C. Longcoy owned the Longcoy Brothers Meat Market. James B. Miller, manufacturer of the Miller Keyless Lock (padlocks and combination locks), was once a railroad superintendent who began the prosperous Railway Speed Recorder Company. He served as councilman and was Kent's first Ford dealer. He served on the Board of Education. The T.G. Parsons Lumber Company was represented by Edward S. Parson, secretary, and John T. Parson, vice president. William W. Reed was trained as a dentist and later owned an insurance agency with his son Glenn Reed. Judge David L. Rockwell was mayor of Kent from 1900 -- 1902. He was nominated for Lieutenant Governor and Superintendent of the Department of Ohio State Building and Loan Associations. He was an active member of the Board of Trade from 1910 through 1929. John W. Salter was the manager of the Lamson-Sessions Company and vice-president of the Kent Machine Company. He served on Kent city council, the Kent Welfare Association and served as a director of the Chamber of Commerce. Roy Smith was vice president and director of operations with the Lamson-Sessions Company. He served as mayor in 1929, and as a city trustee. Earl C. Tatgenhorst owned the Sanitary Milk Company. Hale B. Thompson, pharmacist, purchased his fathers pharmacy in 1906. William Alfred Walls, educator, was principal of Kent High School from 1907-10, and later Superintendent. He was also a professor at Kent State University and Akron University. An active community member he served on the Board of Trustees for the library, and the Welfare Association.

Emmett F. Garrison was secretary and treasurer of the City Bank. William S. Kent operated the Kent Courier from 1892 - 1908. Kent had an active political career and was president of the Kent National Bank from 1908-1923. The Normal school named Kent State University after him in 1911. Frederick Allen was the director of the Williams Brothers Milling Company and the Davey Tree Expert Company. Fred Bechtle was a news dealer and proprietor of a men's furnishings business. He served as Portage County auditor from 1918-1919 and served as clerk of Franklin Township. Leo Bietz owned and operated a dry cleaning business. Samuel C. Bissler and son Ira S. Bissler owned a furniture store and funeral parlor. Charles A. Williams and his brother S. T. Williams established the Williams Brothers Mill in 1879. Charles son Dudley A. Williams was president of the Williams Brothers Company. John G. Evans, along with Maxwell G. Garrison, an attorney and president of the City Bank and Charles A. Williams owned a tailoring shop. Maxwell G. Garrison and served as county and city treasurer. Fred E. Haymaker owned a Garage. Frederick H. Merrell, clothing proprietor, was one of the original incorporators of the Seneca Chain Company and manager of the Post's Band. Henry L. Spelman, dealt extensively with Kent real estate. He has an ice business known as Warwick and Spelman. His son Marcus B. Spelman works with him on all aspects of his businesses.

C.G. Kistler was a local architect who designed the L.N. Gross Company plant in the Art Deco style. He also designed the Theater Block and the Blisser Block. Carl H. Curtiss was an attorney, he served as Portage County prosecutor from 1915-1918. P.W. Eigner was a jeweler and president of the Kent National Bank. Mr. Eigner was president of the Kent Building Association and served as an officer on the Kent Planning Commission. Britton S. Johnson, an attorney, served as Attorney General of Ohio from 1911-1915. He was appointed Mayor of Kent in 1918 and served as prosecuting attorney of Portage County. Dr. Joseph H. Krape practiced medicine in Kent from 1894 until 1957.

Porter B. Hall was Kent's Fire Chief. Reverend John H. Hull was the minister of the First Congregational Church in Kent. He is best known for organizing the first Boy Scout Troop in 1915. John G. Paxton, editor of the Kent and one of the founders of the Kent Tribune.

The Kent Hotel Company hired Harold L. Stevens and Company of 30 N. Michigan Blvd, Chicago, Illinois to design the hotel. H.L. Stevens and Company was a prolific hotel architectural firm. They designed hotels all over the United States including hotels in Washington, lowa, and Minnesota. Stevens designed the Olmsted Hotel in Cleveland in 1915. Stevens provided both architectural and construction services. They were one of the premier hotel architects in their ability to promote their "fire-proof' design, which employed reinforced concrete that created an economically feasible building to construct. The Franklin Hotel exhibits many of the traits of Stevens's hotel design. The building employs reinforced concrete construction with fire block walls faced with brick, classical detailing, and a two-story wing which could provide additional hotel space in the future. The interior layout reveals a two-story lobby space with marble stair, although modest in size, a balcony area on the second floor that looks over the lobby, a restaurant/cafe retail space adjacent to the main entry, and an assembly room that serves as event area for both banquets and entertainment. The hotel had 50 rooms, 35 which had private baths.

Concurrently with the Franklin Hotel, Stevens had designed the Ashtabula Hotel, located at 4762 Main Avenue, Ashtabula, Ohio. The hotel is six stories in height. The design is similar to the Kent Hotel, An early 20th century Revival style with modest details. The hotel was a prominent building in the downtown retail area and provided social accommodations, including a 300 seat ballroom, dining services for 125, and a lounge-restaurant. The Ashtabula Chamber of Commerce and a few interested citizens started planning the hotel in 1919. They too felt that their city lacked the proper hotel facilities. They entered into an agreement with David Olmsted, owner of the Olmsted Hotel in Cleveland to aid them in the construction of a hotel.

Many of Stevens' hotel projects employed citizen financing. Rotarian E.J. Huckenbury of Harrisburg, Pa advertised H.L. Stevens's hotel designs to promote his financing services for hotel projects. The Bonneville Hotel in Idaho Falls, Idaho was financed by 421 local citizens under the Idaho Falls Community Hotel Corporation in 1926. H.L. Stevens firm is also known for hotels in Dayton, Sandusky and Warren. He designed the Onesto Hotel in Canton and the addition to the Hotel Metropole in Cincinnati.

The Onesto Hotel is most likely the grandest of his designs in Ohio. The Georgian Revival building had commercial storefronts, and stone accented arched windows at the lower level. The main body of the building features 6/1 windows toped with a balconet at the eleventh floor. The $1 million dollar project in 1929 was conceived by Frank Onesto, a second generation Italian immigrant. The exterior was reportedly fashioned after the Pittsburgher Hotel in Pittsburgh and the interior after the Palmer House in Chicago. The Onesto featured a grand ballroom which housed most of Canton's notable social events.

The hotel was given the name Franklin honoring the village of Franklin Mills. What is now known as Kent, was named Franklin Mills from 1805 - 1867. Franklin Mills (Kent), Ohio was established in 1805 by Jacob Haymaker who had purchased eight township lots, containing 2,093 acres for $5,600.00, in the township of Franklin. Jacob had chose the location due in part to the existence of the Cuyahoga River; and the settlement, like most Western Reserve communities, developed as a result of mills that took advantage of the power a river could provide once dammed. The settlement grew slowly and it was not until 1836 when the Franklin Land Company sought Franklin Mills (Kent) to capitalize on the proximity to the river and invest in what was believed to be a perfect setting for manufacturing. The canal connecting Cleveland to Pittsburgh was under construction and with the canal, dam and bridge builders came doctors, lawyers, druggists and merchants. In 1850, a group of farmers formed a stock company and with $20,000 worth of stock the Center Flouring Mill Company was incorporated. In 1863 the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad arrived in Franklin Mills (Kent). The railroad linked to the Erie in the east and the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton in the west, thus extending the trunk line between New York City and St. Louis.

In 1880 the census of Kent was 3,309, a gain of 1,008 during the past decade. This increase in population increased the needs for public works. The first electric lights were turned on June 5, 1889. Waterworks, telephone, public schools, the Kent newspaper and additional railroad lines were introduced to Kent prior to the turn of the century. Manufacturing also grew at the late turn of the century, including the Kent Carriage Works, the Miller Lock Company, and the Standing Rock Manufacturing Company.

In early 1900, W.A. Patton successfully managed to sell $5,000 in stock to form the Kent Chain Company. Success was immediate and in May of 1901 the company merged with the Seneca Manufacturing Company in Cleveland becoming the Seneca Chain Company. Again, money was raised through subscribership to build three buildings along Mogadore Road to house the milk factory, later known as the United Milk Products Company. In 1906 the Davey Expert Tree Company was organized by John Davey and son Martin L. Davey. In 1911, the Ohio State Normal School (Kent State University) through donation and subscription was relocated to Kent. In 1915, The Mason Company was organized by brothers O.M. and D. M. Mason. On June 23, 1920, Kent received the title of city. The population had nearly doubled from 4,488 in 1910 to 7,070 in 1920.

The site for the new hotel was the old George Barnett homestead at the corner of East Main and Depeyster streets. The corporation purchased the property from Dudley Mason on May 17, 1919. The Barnettt house was razed and construction began on June 9th. The five story, fifty room hotel constructed of concrete and masonry dominates the downtown landscape. Stevens Neo-classical design provided a variation from the rest of the commercial blocks along Main Street, which represent Italianate, Victorian and early twentieth century styles. The site of the building is at the crest of the hill, providing both a commanding view of Kent and serves as a visual landmark to the surrounding area. The location, oriented away from the noise and smoke of the railroads, is within walking distance of the railroad depot.

Under the direction of Henry G. Walter, hotel manager, Ernest Maffey, chef, and Alfred Jurgen, pastry chef, the hotel held its first event on September 8th, 1920. The event hosted the Kent Hotel Company stockholders, giving them a sneak preview of the hotel and a gala to remember.

The Akron jazz orchestra "The Silverstines" provided the entertainment. The stockholders viewed the new hotel which was fully furnished. The lobby boasted "Caen stone", a marble from Caen, France. The hotel rooms featured wall paper and walnut woodwork. The beds were supplied by Bissers Furniture they were San Hygiene box Springs and mattresses. The furniture was supplied by M. O'Neil Company of Akron. The halls were carpeted by Sterling & Welsh of Cleveland. The kitchen was equipped with supplies by Kinney, Levan Company of Cleveland and included a Garland range, Crescent dishwasher, Kent knife polisher, Sterling peeler and Robert's bake oven. The total cost of construction amounted to $250,000. The hotel was advertised as being a "European Plan" hotel with a dining room, coffee shop and a garage. A special Franklin Hotel Supplement was printed in the paper on September 16, 1919 listing the business associated with the hotel. Local business included Tabor Ice Cream, City Laundry and Cleaning Company. Hoover Special vacuum cleaners, Brandt Company quality foods. An interior image of the dining room was also featured. The first conference held at the hotel was for the entire sales force of the Mason Tire and Rubber Company on September 9th and 10th. The first man to register at the hotel was H.C. Smith of Kansas City, who had come to attend the Mason Conference.

Weeks before the opening, the hotel held a popularity contest as a promotion at the opening. The Hotel offered $150 prize for the most popular Kent Girl. Votes were to be cast starting on Wednesday September 8th at the stockholder opening and to cease on Sunday the 12th after the public open house. The Aitkins and Kynett advertising agency in Philadelphia had written a raving review about the new hotel stating that the beds could cure any case of insomnia and that the manager knew something of real meals.

The hotel was a hub of community life. By October of 1920 Manager Walter had resigned due to health conditions, and William R. Zingler, a council member, was appointed the new manager. Singler was one of the original stockholders and board member of the Kent Company. He promoted the hotel as "The House of Courtesy" and the place to be in downtown Kent, offering noon and evening meals for $1.50 and a businessman's special for 85 cents. He added Bessie B. Hathaway as a full-time stenographer to its staff as an amenity for businessmen. He also installed a new electric sign. The hotel was known for its Sunday chicken dinners which were served for both lunch and dinner. The billiards room which had four tables, barbershop with three chairs and cigar stand were run by Roy Marlow.

Zinglier resigned in May of 1921 from his position as manager and was replaced with R. H. Berry. The hotel then went into receivership when bank notes worth roughly $22,000 were petitioned against the company. In 1922, due to financial difficulties the hotel went up for public auction. Martin L. Davey and members of the Board of Trade formed the Franklin Kent Company and purchased the hotel from Howard M. Bissell, who won the bid of $70,000. The other leading stockholders were John L. Harris, E.N. Gregg, W.A. Miller and H.C. Wagerien. They placed C.P. Putchin as hotel manager. On April 28, 1924 tragedy struck and the 62 year old C.P. Putchin was killed when a cable broke on the hotel elevator plunging the cab from the second floor into the basement. From 1924 to 1929 Fred Altendorf managed the hotel. In 1929, John L. Harris managed the hotel until 1934 when the hotel was sold again at Sheriff's sale. A lot of investors had lost their investment.

The new owner of the hotel was the Kent Hotel, Inc., with Florence B. Adams as president. The hotel was renamed the Hotel Kent. Russell O'Conke was appointed hotel manager. O'Conke had worked in hotels in Michigan, Toledo and Cleveland, including the Hollenden (razed) and the Statler. He was managing the Portage Hotel in Akron prior to his position at the Hotel Kent. The most financially successful times for the hotel were during the period which O'Conke served as manager. He celebrated the opening of "Ohio's Most Modern Hotel" after renovating the building in 1937. He also marketed the hotel as "Ohio's Finest Small Town Hotel". He converted the lobby to the "Pompeiian Room." He claimed that his picture was used as an ad for Sinclair Lewis 1934 novel "Works of Art about the hotel business." Social clubs continued to hold their meetings at the hotel. A variety of businesses were located at the hotel including the Automobile License Bureau and a tavern called the Deck, which was in the basement through the 1980s.

In 1956 the Eastwood Motel opened on State Route 59. It boasted an AAA endorsement and advertised as "A new ultra-modern motel." The hotel industry was changing, people demanded private baths and amenities including air-conditioning. People were traveling less by rail. The automobile allowed people to travel farther distances which limited the need for regional travelers to require overnight accommodations.

In 1962 the hotel was renamed Hotel Kent-Ellis, when Frank P. Ellis became manager. In 1964 a third hotel, the Motor Inn, a modern, up-to-date motel opened half a block away to the east. Then in 1970 the eight story tall University Inn opened at State Route 59 and Interstate 76. The hotel's financial difficulties spiraled and the hotel was sold to Joseph Bujack". The hotel was converted to student housing. There were several fires in the late 1970s, damaging the upper floors. In 1977, Kent's Health Department condemned the building. During the 1980s the upper floors were vacant with no heat, with many of the windows broken or left open. In late 1985 the windows were fixed shut and a pizza shop and two night clubs were located on the first and basement floors. Joseph Bujack sold the building to George Vilk in 1994. Vilk began restoration, the project was never realized and the building has been vacant for nearly twenty years. In 2011 the city of Kent purchased the building and then sold it to the current owner, Ron Burbick, with intent to rehabilitate the building.

The hotel provided a place for events. Private homes were often used for celebrations but proved too small for most events. The Knights of Columbus had refurnished the old Kent homestead on East Main Street to serve as a place for meetings. The Kent Masonic Hall was often employed for events. Several country clubs sprouted in the 1920s to provide a social place for the affluent. Twin Lakes Country Club was organized in 1922 by a group of Kent, Ravenna and Garrettsville men who recognized the need for a recreational and social center. A nine hole golf course was completed in late 1923 and the clubhouse was formally opened with a dance and banquet on May 28, 1927. Architects Albrecht and Wilheim designed the building which was funded by Harry Stein. However, the club would have been exclusively for members and guest of members. The club closed in 2009.

The Franklin Hotel was most often used for club meetings and receptions due to the large banquet room which could accommodate up to 200 people. The French chefs and the ladies parlor room made for an attractive ambience. The assembly room provided a hardwood floor for dancing and the promenade overlooking the lobby created a space of distinction. The hotel served as campaign headquarters for Governor Martin Davey and after his election, the state Democratic Party headquarters. The large combination dance-dining room offered a place for guests to dine and dance to music from "The Highlanders." On special occasions guests were treated to superior entertainment from famous musicians including Glenn Miller, Harry James, and Guy Lombardo. It had the first bar following the repeal of prohibition. Amelia Earhart had been a guest of the hotel when she gave a lecture on the subject of "Flying for Fun" at Kent State University when she was on tour in 1934. After renovating the building in 1937 O'Conke "raised a few eyebrows, hosting a convention of gay men there a few years later." During World War II a Victory Garden was cultivated in front of the hotel between the sidewalk and the street.

Building Description

Located at 176 East Main Street, the Hotel Franklin is in the central commercial district of Kent, Ohio. It is located at the crest of the hill at the southwest corner of East Main Street and Depeyster Street. The hotel was designed by H.L. Stevens and Company in the Neo-Classical Revival style. The five-story hotel is a reinforced concrete and masonry building, indicative of H.L. Stevens' hotels. The floors are flat plate reinforced concrete slabs supported by reinforced concrete columns; predictably larger in the basement and smaller as they ascend. Supporting the floors are concrete beams 14 inches deep and 12 inches wide. The building is divided into four structural bays wide and three structural bays deep. A two-story wing is located at the rear (south elevation) of the building. The hotel is built on a sloping site; the northeast corner at the high end, the northwest corner at the low end. The building's exterior features classical detailing. The interior contained a relatively large two-story space which was decorated with marble and plaster finishes. This space, as with most of the interior, has suffered from neglect, deterioration, and has been stripped of its finishes.

To the west of the Hotel is new construction built in 2009, which blends nicely among the historic buildings that line East Main Street. The buildings to the west of the hotel are mostly two and three-story buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. They make up what is considered Kent's downtown or central business district.

The primary facade faces East Main Street and is the north elevation. The frontage along Main is 80 feet. The base of the north elevation is composed of a stone water table, which wraps the building and continues along the east elevation. A portion of the stone, west of the entry, has been replaced with a textured concrete block. The basement has four bay-wide openings in the fourth through seventh bays, but they have been filled in. The basement space, which has always served as a retail space, is accessed by six concrete steps to the door which is located in the western most bay. Originally, the billiards room and barber occupied the basement. Access to the basement can be obtained from both the north and south entries.

Above the water table, the hotel is faced with a course textured red brick, historically noted as Alliance Tapestry brick of running bond. This is a finish course that hides two width of structural fire block. The fenestration pattern is divided into eight bays. The first and second floors read on the exterior as one floor. The four central bays have arched openings. Fan lights are accentuated with a white marble keystone. At the spring of the arch a white marble block is placed to support the brick arch. Three stone rosettes of a flower motif that depicts a four leaf clover or a quatrefoil are located between each of the arch openings. Stone trim surrounds the first and second floor windows in bays one, two, seven and eight. The stone has been painted white. A transom panel is located above the first floor windows and a spandrel is located below the second floor windows. The second floor windows, which were above the display windows in the last two bays on either end, were multi-divided casement windows. These windows are presently a replacement window, without divisions. The top three floors have double hung eight over four wood windows. They have brick sills and lintels. The window sash have been removed and are stored in the building. The window openings have been boarded in.

The main entry at one time had a flat metal canopy that was connected to the building with metal rods. The door on the interior reveals a single door with side lights and transom. Directly to the east is a second entry, which is at grade. It leads into the retail space, and also was a single door with transom and side lights. A canopy was located over the entry, but tucked under the lintel before protruding over the sidewalk. The building is capped with a pressed metal cornice. It lies at the parapet level, which is decorated with stone panels at each bay. The cornice has dentils with the flower motif in the recessed areas between the dentils. The cornice wraps the building and continues along the east elevation.

The frontage along Depeyster is 140 feet. The east elevation is divided into two sections, the five-story portion and the two-story wing. The five-story portion is divided with four bays of windows, matching the first bay of the north elevation. The wing is simpler. The windows are divided into three bays and are narrower. The first bay to the south on the first floor has a service door. A stone lintel runs along the top at the parapet level, rather than a metal cornice.

The south elevation is composed of both the five-story portion and the two-story wing. The brick is a common brick and has been painted a brick-like color. The windows on both portions are not as evenly spaced and vary in width. They are a combination of metal windows on the upper floors and glass block on the two-story wing. The glass block is not original to the building. A fire-escape is located along the west end of the elevation and runs from grade to the second floor roof and then again from the third floor to the fifth floor. The elevator penthouse and smoke stack clear the roof of the five-story portion. At the first floor level a round opening finished in brick most likely served as a vent for the kitchen. Access to the building is located at the basement level, at the service steps. Graffiti adorns the third floor wall.

The West elevation is mostly obscured by an adjacent building. Only the top three floors are revealed. The brick is a common brick laid in a common bond, with a header course every seventh course. The facade brick turns the corner slightly, delineating the difference. A painted sign covers most of the elevation; it is faded revealing two eras of signs, reading "Hotel Kent" "Kent-Ellis" and "free parking." A single four over four double-hung metal window is located centrally on all three floors. On the interior, this window provided natural light to the corridor.

The roof is a flat roof with a brick parapet. The rubber roof system appears to be in fair condition. Two scuppers are located along the south wall - they have a stringer plate to shoot the water away from the building. The north and east elevations have stone coping, while the south and west elevations have terra cotta coping.

Historically the first floor served as public areas. The interior of the first floor is divided into four structural bays. The coffee shop resided in the first bay and had its own entry. The lobby occupied the second and third bays and included the elevator and stair core. The hotel desk was east of the stairs. A dining room was located in the last bay. The wing housed the kitchen, service stairs to the assembly room above and a private dining room at the west end.

The second floor housed the upper portion of the lobby and dining room, along with six hotel rooms, which were located along the east elevation. The Assembly room was located in the wing. The third through fifth floor housed hotel rooms. The rooms along the north elevation had private baths. The rooms along the south elevation had sinks only. In total, they were 50 rooms with 35 private rooms with bath.

The building had been almost completely gutted. All partition walls have been removed except for a few on the first and second floors. Only the coffee shop partition walls remain intact on the first floor. A few partition walls remain on the second floor. The balcony knee wall on the second floor has suffered some damage. All finishes in the interior have been compromised. The flooring on the first floor, in the lobby area, reveal a tile floor; although the amount of debris obscures the condition and to what extent. The rest of the flooring is concrete, most likely all other spaces had carpeting. Baseboard trim work remains intact in some areas. The window surrounds were limited to plaster returns and exists in most locations. The windows had walnut sills and aprons, which have been painted where they exist. Plaster has been severely damaged and is almost completely non-existent on the first and second floors. The basement has been stripped of historic detailing as well.

The main stair is centrally located and is adjacent to the elevator. This core runs from the basement through the fifth floor. The marble on the first to second-floor stair remains and appears to be in good condition. The stair treads on the upper floors were most likely carpeted; they reveal a reinforced poured concrete system. They are switchback with a semi-circular landing. The newel posts are intact; they are most likely cast-iron with a simple pressed design. The stair has been blocked off at the basement level with concrete block.

A stair runs between the basement and the second floor in the wing. This also provides the only entry to the building from the south elevation. The stair is a poured reinforced concrete switchback with a rectangular landing. It has simple pipe railing.

The exterior characteristics are intact and although worn, the buildings elements reveal all of the Neo-Classical detailing. The canopy and signage are all that are absent. The windows have been removed and stored, and the openings have been boarded to protect the building from the elements and vandals. Although the interior finishes have been removed the interior spaces on the first and second floor maintain their open and airiness characteristics that exuded in the hotel lobby. The exterior reflects its early 20th-century hotel appearance and retains its historic presence on East Main Street.

Other buildings designed by H. L. Stevens and Company

Leopold Hotel 1899/1910 Bellingham, WA
Hotel Randolph 1912 Des Moines, IA
Martin Hotel 1912 Sioux City, IA
St. Andrews Hotel 1912/1916 Minneapolis, MN razed 1986
Hotel Jefferson 1913 Iowa City, IA
Hotel Olmsted 1915 Cleveland, OH (razed)
Hohenschuh Mortuary 1917 lowa City, IA
Brown Apartment Hotel 1918 addition Des Moines, IA
Hotel Olympia 1919 Olympia, Wa
Savery Hotel 1919 Des Moines, IA
Hotel Ashtabula 1920 Ashtabula, OH
lowana Hotel 1920 Creston, IA
St. Nicholas Hotel 1920/24/31 Springfield, IL
Penn Alto Hotel 1921 Altonna, PA
The Churchill Apartments 1922 Chicago, IL
Laganda Hotel 1922 Winfield, KS
Ruskin Hall, Univ of Pitt 1923 Pittsburgh, PA
Burritt Hotel 1924 New Britton, CT
Stonewall Jackson 1924 Staunton, VA
Parke Apts 1924-25 Buffalo, NY
New Miami Hotel 1925 addition Dayton, OH
Onesto Hotel 1925 Canton, OH
Hotel Van Curler 1925 Schenectady, NY
Hotel Walt Whitman 1926 Camden, NJ
Bankhead Hotel 1926 Birmingham, Al
Hotel Metropole 1926 addition Cincinnati, OH
Hotel Norfolk 1926 Norfolk, NE
Bonneville Hotel 1926 Idaho Falls, ID
Hotel Bothwell 1927 Sedalia, MO
Pittsburgher Hotel 1927 Pittsburgh, PA
Hotel Vicksburg 1928 Vicksburg, MS
Hotel Nevada 1929 Ely, NV
Hotel Kirkwood 1930 Des Moines, IA
The Landmark Hotel 1930 Sandusky, OH
Hotel Capital unknown Lincoln, NE
Hotel Judson unknown Chicago, IL
Plaza Centre Hotel unknown Iowa City, IA

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Under construction (1920)
Under construction (1920)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Under construction (1920)
Under construction (1920)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Historic photo (1930)
Historic photo (1930)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Historic photo (1930)
Historic photo (1930)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Historic photo (1931)
Historic photo (1931)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Historic photo (1940)
Historic photo (1940)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Main Street & Depeyster Facades, looking southwest (2012)
Main Street & Depeyster Facades, looking southwest (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Main Street Facade, looking south (2012)
Main Street Facade, looking south (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Main Street Facade, Entry detail, looking south (2012)
Main Street Facade, Entry detail, looking south (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Main Street Facade, and West elevation, looking southeast (2012)
Main Street Facade, and West elevation, looking southeast (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Depeyster Facade, looking west (2012)
Depeyster Facade, looking west (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Depeyster Facade and south elevation, looking northwest (2012)
Depeyster Facade and south elevation, looking northwest (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio South elevation, looking north (2012)
South elevation, looking north (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio First Floor lobby, looking southeast (2012)
First Floor lobby, looking southeast (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio First Floor lobby, looking northeast (2012)
First Floor lobby, looking northeast (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Marble stair, looking south (2012)
Marble stair, looking south (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio First Floor lobby from second floor showing elevator and stair, looking southwest (2012)
First Floor lobby from second floor showing elevator and stair, looking southwest (2012)

Franklin Hotel - Hotel Kent, Kent Ohio Third Floor, typical upper floor configuration, looking southeast (2012)
Third Floor, typical upper floor configuration, looking southeast (2012)