The Washington Hotel
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The Washington Hotel: Gone but not forgotten.
Sadly, the Washington Hotel was destroyed due to a lack of interest and concern by the majority, not the minority.  When will we learn that we cannot live in the past but must learn to live with the past, insuring its future?

The Washington Hotel as it Appeared in the Early Days
During the early days of Dade County many settlers came through and ultimately stayed on. This hotel was a host to many traveling salesmen. (Photo purchased from an online auction)
  The content of this page will remain as a memorial to an old friend that resisted death to the last moment.

A sad fate for an amazing part of Greenfield/Dade County History

The History of the Washington Hotel

As of 1990*:


Washington Hotel given to the Dade County Historical Society


According to Laura Derick, Architect, Springfield, Missouri:


Restoration would cost $90,000.00 - $100,000.00


Could be done in stages


Architectural Recommendations:


  • Initial work focus on channeling storm water away from the building, which has a lower floor below street level
  • Removing a decaying porch (now rotted away)
  • Replace the old porch with one that wraps around the buildings north side
  • Replacing asphalt shingles with a tin roof
  • Removing exterior paint
  • Repairing bricks
  • Restoring the buildings original appearance




Cave legends include Underground Railroad and weapons cash from the Civil War are under the hotel and surrounding area.




Built by the Washington Lodge of the Masonic Order as an investment for income potential.


Four story structure.


Hotel had the first flushing toilet in town and its dining room had the first ceiling fan.


Hotel was built in 1870 at a cost of $3,750.00


“Compared to standards of the modern hotels, the furnishings would be considered very primitive.  There was no carpeting.  Furnishings consisted of a chair, a bed, under shich resided the indispensable chamber pot, a commode with bowl and pitcher, a mirror that reflected a distorted image, and a few hooks on the wall.  Some rooms might have contained a wardrobe cabinet.  Needless to say, built-in closets were not included in the architectural design…The hotel dining room was the center for many community social functions.”


“Modern conveniences were installed as they became available.  The first two flush toilets in Greenfield were installed in the hotel, one adjoining the lobby, and one on the second floor.  At some time a revolving fan was suspended from the lobby ceiling to stri the air on hot summer days.


“The name of the hotel was changed to the Commercial Hotel during the 1930’s.”


“After World War I business began to wane. …For a period of years rooms and apartments were rented on a residential basis, but due to decreasing revenue, maintenance was ignored.  Eventually, the building was closed in a sad state of disrepair.  …Each year took its toll as the old building stood vacant.  More paint peeled, more windows were broken, the front steps collapsed, the veranda sagged.  The hulking structure kept its lonely, ghostlike vigil on the corner of the square, inhabited only by pigeons and rats.”


“The absence of any organized effort to save the structure prompted Smith P. Preston, a local businessman and native of Dade County, to investigate the possibility rescuing the old hotel from destruction.”


“Over the objections of his associates and his wife, he submitted a bid on the building.  The bid was rejected by the owners until they were informed that the old hotel was to be restored and converted into a museum.  On August 25, 1970, they signed the deed and Smith Preston embarked upon a seeming overwhelming project.”


“On May 29, 1971, after six months of hard work and an investment of approximately $40,000.00 the Greenfield Washington Hotel Museum celebrated its Grand Opening.”



*from Pictorial Memories of Dade County, Missouri published by the Dade County Historical Society.


**from 200th Anniversary 1776-1976 Souvenir Booklet Fact and Fiction of Dade County, Missouri published by the Dade County Historical Society.

The most severe damage!
This is the most severe damage to the building. This back corner has fallen away with pieces collected on the ground, waiting to be restored. Many of the windows are out and the tin roof needs replaced.

The only ones living here are the pigeons.