The Piqua Hotel

High up on my to-do list is the abandoned hotel on Piqua's Main Street. It dominates the town square, an enormous sandstone edifice with carved gargoyle faces on the outside and dozens of rooms inside. It was built by William P. Orr and Samuel K. Statler in 1890-91 and first operated as the Plaza. Stanhope Boal renovated it in 1914 and renamed it the Favorite Hotel after his Favorite Stove and Range Company. It was later renamed the Hotel Fort Piqua.

Many famous politicians stayed here and spoke from the balcony over the main door of the grand building, including Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Warren Harding. The first bar to open in Piqua after Prohibition was here. In 1947 black people ate at a lunch counter here, pioneering desegregation a good twenty years before the South got the idea. A bookie operated here in the 1920's and 30's. It had its own electric generator because the power plant shut down at dusk. It brought the first sewer system to Piqua. In 1987 the building was boarded up.

Like any hotel, the Piqua had its share of tragedies. A man digging a trench for the sewer system was buried alive. A workman standing on a barrel of acid to clean pipes fell through and was burned badly. A porter was crushed by heavy bags on a luggage cart. A police officer and a criminal shot each other to death in the lobby in 1970. A man hung himself in one of the rooms. And when they were excavating the land to dig the basement an unexplained skeleton was found.

Today, Stanhope Boal haunts a corner room. A dead waiter also haunts the building. The Piqua Hotel is the site of many unexplained happenings even today. There are plans to renovate it, but if it hasn't happened yet I'm going to be visiting it soon.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Hotel Fort Piqua has been occupied on the street level by local stores. Many store owners live above their businesses in the upper floors, which rules out sneaking in up there unless you want to get shot. Parts are still abandoned, but overall it seems to have been renovated. I spoke to a girl whose uncle owns a store there, and neither she nor her uncle has ever seen anything strange there.

At least one of the stories about the Hotel has some basis in fact; in 1970 a police officer and a criminal were killed in the lobby. Click Here to take a look at a memorial to the officer who died.



Page, Doug. "Piqua Public Library Searches for New Home. Dayton Daily News. January 2, 2003