This Week in Sapulpa History: The France Hotel Opens

Rachel Whitney
Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum

A new fifty room hotel was being planned for the city in 1908. This hotel was to be known as the France Hotel, named after its owner P.B. France. The hotel would be erected on the northwest corner of Hobson Ave and Elm St. The plans called for a three-story brick building, with a fifty foot frontage along Hobson, and a hundred feet on Elm.

This week in Sapulpa history, the France Hotel opened on July 22nd, 1909. “The new hotel is a beautiful one and is a great credit to the city.” The $20,000 hotel had the finest hostelries in Eastern Oklahoma*.

France Hotel, circa 1909.

“The ground floor is to be given over to the lobby as a sample room and drug store. The second and third stories contain fifty guest rooms fitted with every modern convenience.” The furniture came from Griffin Furniture Company, located at 6 N Main St, was worth around $5,000*.

*Note: the cost of $20,000 in 1909 would be around $600,000 today; the $5,000 then would be worth around $150,000 now.

Modern Hotel is Coming, Sapulpa Light, June 5, 1909.

For the grand opening, at noon, “an excellent dinner will be served for fifty cents a plate.” A large ad included what would be served to the attendees for the grand opening. The list included “prime rib of beef with yorkshire pudding, boiled ox tongue al a monaco, coconut pie, ice cream and assorted cake,” and much much more.

New Hotel Announced, Sapulpa Light, May 15, 1909.

France Hotel became one of the top hotels in downtown Sapulpa.

In just a few short years, downtown had a lot of building-activity, erecting hotels, businesses, and entertainment venues. In 1914, a new Wilson Furniture building was being planned, the Central Light and Fuel Company was built, a new garage from an old skating rink, frame work on the third floor of the courthouse was being remodeled, and the Empress Theatre’s remodel was almost complete—was all being built around the France Hotel.

Impressive Dinner, Sapulpa Evening Light, December 31, 1909.

Big changes came to the Hotel on July 20, 1915. The France Hotel announced it would add another story, making it a four-story building. The house west of the hotel would be moved next to the alley, and a private hot water plant would also be installed.

New Improvements, Sapulpa Herald, July 20, 1915.

“The frame dwelling on the west side of the hotel will be moved down to the edge of the alley out of the way of the hotel and in between the grounds will be fixed up into a small park with a croquet ground and likely a tennis court also in the back.”

With the new plans, Mr. France proclaimed, “[this will] make one of the most attractive corners for the best equipped hotel in the city.” He believed that this next “wave of prosperity” was on its way.

The fourth floor of the Hotel was never installed, however.

Ownership changed hands by the 1920s from Mr. France to C.C. Warren. Warren was the Security of Chamber of Commerce and worked as a postmaster in town. Warren kept the business booming until the mid-1930s.

Old France Hotel, Sapulpa Herald, December 10, 1937.

In December 1937, C.C. Warren announced that he planned to remodel the Hotel to be a two- and three-room apartments. The remodel and construction included “modern, up-to-date living quarters for rental to persons of average income. Garage space will be included back of the building, also.” A new roof, decorations, and conveniences were being planned for the new apartment house.

Unfortunately, the following year, it was announced the project was not going to be able to continue. The France Hotel building was later demolished and had long disappeared by early 1940s.