Memories of the Hotel

"It is funny what an impact that hotel had on us as kids."

By Naomi Roberts (Barr)

My brother-in-law sent me the link to your website..I don't yet know how he found it. I drove through Kimball in 2002 as I moved with my three sons from Portland OR to Columbus OH. I was devastated by the way it had been let go and vandalized. When we lived there in the early 1980s, it was a thriving and beautiful hotel. How exciting to see it has gained new interest!!!! I hope you are able to renovate and restore the hotel.

My family owned and operated the Wheat Growers in the early 1980's. My parents who owned it are Marty and Suzi Barr who now live in Beaverton Michigan (Editor Note: Suzi passed away just last December. Our condolences to Marty, Naomi and the rest of the family). We lived in the hotel while we owned and ran it and could tell you lots of stories. We even ran the restaurant for a short time. My mom was well known in town for her donuts and brownies that she made and sold to Kimball businesses every morning.  Some people may also remember that we used to make crock pots full of bean soup and sell it in the lobby along with mom's donuts and brownies. We also had vending machines that we sold sandwiches, burritos and other snacks in.

I have a memory of cheating and putting extra meat on the sandwiches. Dad had a scale that we were supposed to use to weigh the meat and I always put on more than I was supposed to. We also had (I think) three bus lines that ran there. I was young but if I recall, they were Star, Greyhound and another. We had overnight guests as well as guests who lived there. It is funny what an impact that hotel had on us as kids. My sister and I just talked about it yesterday! I wish you the best of luck and will keep an eye on the website to see how things develop. As a single mother of three teenage boys, money is tight so although I cannot contribute financially, my thoughts and prayers will be with you.

"I have always had fond memories..... it was my first home in Kimball."

By Kay Siewert Clinger

My Dad, Kyle Siewert, was transferred from the JC Penney store in Fremont to the store in Kimball in 1944.  Our first home in Kimball was an apartment on the second floor of the Wheat Growers Hotel.  At the time my family consisted of Dad, Mother Marjorie, and younger brother Richard.  I was 11 years old at the time.  My sister, Kathy was born after we moved from the hotel. Our kitchen was not located next to the rest of the apartment.  It was across the hall where the meals were cooked and eaten. The Hotel was run by Vern Moore and his wife Gladys. 

The Moore's were very tolerant with my brother and myself and as long as we did not get in the way of guests, we pretty much had the run of the Hotel.  They would let us sit on the south side of the lobby in the sun and rock who I believe was the Moore's grandson (Dick). My brother Dick was just a little boy and got his first pair of cowboy boots which he found very hard to manage and he fell all the way down the stairs to the lobby.  A farmer brought in two little baby lambs and they were placed by the back to help control the weeds.  Dick and I would go out and bottle feed the lambs.  It was one of our favorite things to do.

The Hotel had many dances and the ladies all wore long dresses.The Hotel was the social center of Kimball. Dr. A.L. Miller was running for political office and he hired some people including myself to stuff envelopes in the basement during his campaign.  He paid me twenty-five cents when we would do this. In June 1956, my wedding rehearsal dinner was held in the dining room in the basement.  The dinner was served by a lady named Jewel. I have always had fond memories of the Wheat Growers Hotel since it was my first home in Kimball.