The Attaway Hotel, Fifth & Broadway, Monett, Missouri
Logan D. Mckee Postcard, Courtesy Monett Historical Society

As the railroad came to Southwest Missouri in the years 1869 to 1871, it was built and opened in segments, which resulted in a series of terminus cities along its line.  The "terminus" was the moving end point of the expanding railroad.  It was where freight and passenger traffic temporarily stopped and construction on the next segment of road began.  When construction of the railroad into Southwest Missouri began in earnest in 1869, the existing terminus was Arlington, Missouri, just west of Rolla on the Gasconade River.  As construction proceeded west, Lebanon, Springfield, Pierce City, Neosho and Seneca each in turn briefly became terminus cities.  Once construction was completed, the key railroad towns became the division points where the railroad branched in different directions.

The railroad's western progress attracted a nomadic tribe of construction workers, land speculators, saloonkeepers, cardsharps and prostitutes, moving from terminus to terminus.  Neosho was an established town before the railroad arrived and couldn't wait for the whole tawdry circus to depart.  On December 8, 1870, the Neosho Times wrote, "We do not desire the presence of a floating population, such as that which has cursed Peirce City.  If the gypsy tribe can be induced to locate in some hamlet between here and the State line, we shall feel deeply grateful to the railroad directors who lay out the town-plat on which the vagabonds pitch their tents." Soon Neosho had its wish, and the terminus moved to Seneca.

Still, the expanding railroad also attracted a more stable class of businessmen who saw economic opportunity in the new railroad towns.   One of these was Harrison Attaway, who opened the Attaway Hotel in Monett in April, 1888, about seven months after Monett was founded as a Frisco division point.  Born in Georgia and educated as a lawyer, Attaway first worked as a railroad messenger, school teacher and Rolla merchant.  Then, beginning in the late 1860s, he followed the railroad into Southwest Missouri as a hotelkeeper, owning the Arlington Hotel in Arlington, the Laclede Hotel in Lebanon and finally the Attaway in Monett.  During the 1870s, he also worked as a railroad constuction contractor and dabbled in Democratic politics, running for state railroad commissioner and receiving a political appointment as state coal oil inspector.  He still owned the hotel in Lebanon when he opened his Monett hotel.  Attaway died in 1890, but the Attaway Hotel remained a fixture on Broadway until 1915 when it was renamed the Jones Hotel.  Eventually it became the Broadway Hotel and was replaced by a new building about 1922.  Over the years, several Monett businesses were headquartered in the Attaway, including Madam Melba, The Great Egyptian Palmist & Clairvoyant, who could be reached through the side door on fifth street.

Below are several newspaper ads and transcribed articles relating to Harrison Attaway's career.


Please click each image to view it larger

Missouri Weekly Patriot
April 8, 1869

Springfield Leader
July 8, 1869

Missouri Weekly Patriot
November 4, 1869

Springfield Leader
February 24, 1870

Springfield Leader
September 21, 1876


18 March 1869, Springfield Leader

ARLINGTON HOTEL. -- The friends of Wilk F. Yost, Esq., in this city, and throughout the Southwest, will be pleased to learn that he has purchased an interest in the Arlington Hotel, located at Little Piney, the present terminus of the South Pacific Railroad.  Mr. Attaway, his associate, has been connected with the house for some time and "knows how to keep a hotel."  When you go East remember the Arlington Hotel, which has been refitted and is now a comfortable and desirable place to stop, presided over as it is by clever and hospitable gentlemen.

15 December 1870, Springfield Leader

At a meeting of the president and board of directors of the Laclede and Fort Scott railroad, held at Buffalo on Monday, November 28th, the grading of the road-bed from Nevada City to the west line of Cedar county, was awarded to Messrs. Attaway & White, of Lebanon, the work to be commenced within sixty days, and completed by the 1st of July next.  The entire road is now under contract, except that portion running through Cedar county.

27 April 1876, Springfield Leader

For Railroad Commissioner.
[Rolla Herald.]

For this important and responsible position we know of no one more worthy or capable, among all the candidates mentioned, than Hon. Harrison Attaway, of Laclede county.  From our own personal acquaintance, we know him to be a man of the strictest integrity and honesty, a Democrat of the purest kind, and a gentleman of rare attainment, and thoroughly in sympathy with the masses of the people.  He was a former resident of our city, and can safely count on Phelps county to back him in the convention.  The Jefferson City Tribune thus speaks of him:

"Mr. Attaway is a gentleman of unblemished reputation, a scholar and well qualified theoretically and practically to discharge the duties of this office.  Besides he is a thoroughbred Democrat.  He is not one of those Democrats whose ardor of Democratic principles and Democratic policy only endures while there is the prospect of the Democratic 'loaves and fishes' and then languishes when this prospect is [un]favorable.

"Mr. Attaway is a modest gentleman who has spent much time and money for the support and success of the Democracy of this State, and as a consequence, every county from the banks of the Osage south to Arkansas, it is believed will support him enthusiastically."

Biographical Appendix, Goodspeed's History of Barry County, 1888

Harrison Attaway, proprietor of Attaway's Hotel, Monett, Mo., is a native of Greensboro', Green Co., Ga., and was born on June 26, 1836.  He is a son of Chesley and Catherine (Healey) Attaway, both of whom were of Irish descent.  Chesley Attaway was born in South Carolina on May 15,1804, and was a son of John Attaway, a native of Virginia, who was born on the Dan River in 1751, and was a farmer by occupation.  Chesley was the youngest son.  When a young man he went to Green County, Ga., where he married and followed merchandising for many years.  His death occured in 1875, in Rome, GA.  His wife was born in Savannah, GA., in 1806 and died in 1853.  They were the parents of eight children, seven sons and one daughter, of whom Harrison is the third child.  The latter was educated in his native State, and at the age of sixteen commenced the study of law.  At nineteen he was admitted to the bar by a special act of the Legislature.   In 1856 he immigrated to Montgomery County, Mo., and two years later married Juliette, a daughter of John M. Smith who immigrated to Montgomery County, Mo., from Franklin County, Va.  Mrs Attaway was born in the former county October 16, 1843.  To Mr. and Mrs. Attaway have been born ten sons of whom five, Paul, Thomas, Daniel, August T.B. and William T. are living.  For several years Mr. Attaway taught school.  In 1864 he went to Cincinnati and for a time was express messenger between Louisville and Cincinnati.  In the spring of 1865 he was engaged as express messenger between St. Louis and Rolla, Mo., but in July he engaged in Merchandising at the latter place, continuing until 1867, when he opened a hotel at Arlington.  Two years later he went to Lebanon to manage the Laclede Hotel, of which he is still proprietor.  He opened the hotel at Monett in April 1888, and has made it first-class in every respect.  Mr. Attaway was appointed by Gov. Phelps coal oil inspector, which position he held three years, with his office at St. Louis.  He has been appointed general agent for Southwest Missouri of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association.  He is a staunch Democrat, and from 1872 to 1876 served as one of the executive committee of the Democratic party for the State of Missouri.  He and family are members of the R.C. Church.


The token was found with a metal detector in Cassville by Dustin Atnip, who supplied the photograph.

The Jeffries Collection of Monett Photographs & Documents

Home: Historical Items from Southwest Missouri

This site created by Bob Banks. Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.

© 2017 Robert O. Banks, Jr. All Rights Reserved