ON THE NAVAJO HOTEL, FENTON
historic building on Main Street in Fenton, facing a spur of
Gravois Road, has long been known as the Navajo Hotel,
although its years as a hostelry are long over. The
origins of the building have been something of a mystery.
building sits on Lot 9 of Block 1 of the original
subdivision called the Town of Fenton. The 1878 county
atlas shows no building on either this lot or the adjacent
Lot 10 at the corner of Ferry, both of which were owned by
William Enright. William and his wife Catherine sold
both lots on March 5, 1883 to Edward Desalme (St. Louis
County Recorder of Deeds, Book 19, page 634). The name
is now usually written DeSalme.
to Della Lang (River City: The Story of Fenton, Missouri,
1992), Edward DeSalme was a blacksmith and his family lived
in Fenton. He owned Lot 9 for only about six weeks,
selling it on April 19, 1883 to John H. Lippelmann (Book 21,
page 243). The 1893 county directory shows Lippelmann
as a manufacturer living in Kirkwood, and he may never have
lived in Fenton.
and his wife Charlotte sold the lot on February 22, 1986 to
James E. Longworth (Book 86, page 132). Longworth was
a native of Fenton, born in 1851 to William A. J. Longworth
(1829-1895), a merchant who served as postmaster of Fenton
in 1868. Mrs. Longworth was the former Lucy A.
Patterson of Florissant (1835-1925), a member of the large
family long settled around northern Halls Ferry Road.
Both parents were buried in the cemetery of the old Fenton
Methodist Church on Main Street, which is now gone but was
recorded by the DAR about 1950.
Longworth borrowed $1,200 against his property the same day
he purchased it (Book 83, page 89), and he again borrowed
against the property in 1903, this time for $1,500 from his
brother Cornelius P. Longworth, with a third brother,
William M. Longworth serving as trustee (Book 139, page
418). These loans may reflect the construction of a
building on the property. A rectangular building is
shown on Lot 9 in the 1909 county atlas, but it is not
marked as being a hotel, although three other buildings in
Fenton are labeled "Hotel and Saloon" or
"Saloon & Hotel."
Longworth died in Fenton on July 11, 1927. He had
never married, so his property went to his surviving
brothers. William M. Longworth, born in 1855, was a
policeman in Fenton; he had already died single in 1923 and
was also buried in the Methodist cemetery. That left
Cornelius P. Longworth (1859-1937), a wholesale grocer
living with his wife Mattie and family at 5017 Cabanne
Avenue west of Kingshighway; and the fourth brother,
Jefferson D. Longworth, who had moved with his wife Eleanor
to Clay County, South Dakota. On July 6, 1928,
Jefferson and Eleanor quit-claimed their interest in this
property to Cornelius for $200 (Book 951, page 182).
Cornelius had to borrow the money (same book and page).
September 10 of 1928, however, Cornelius and Mattie
Longworth sold this property to Catherine M. and Frank Holz
(Book 945, page 64). Note the spelling:
Catherine, not Katherine. Della Lang is not correct in
writing that Mr. and Mrs. Holz purchased the building in
1924, but they might have begun to manage the hotel at that
time. On the other hand, when Catherine died two years
later, her certificate of death stated that she was a
housewife at home. She was a native of Germany, born
February 19, 1864, the daughter of Ferdinand and Anna
Wunderlich. Francis X. Holz was also a native of
Germany, born October 9, 1861. When he died, his
occupation was given as retired steel worker. It seems
likely, therefore, that the Holz Hotel, as it was then
known, was managed primarily by the three daughters,
Margaret, Helen and Sarah.
Catherine Holz died on December 11, 1930, it took years to
settle her estate (Probate Court, estate Numbers 11541 and
11699). In the meantime, however, Frank Holz deeded
this property to his daughters as early as April 30, 1931,
reserving "the right and use" of the property
during his lifetime. He died December 15, 1939, but
the sisters, all single and unmarried, continued to manage
the hotel until July 10, 1946, when they sold to Garret
Hitzert and his wife E. Patricia Hitzert (Book 2258, page
1). A 1948 ad published by Lang calls the busines
Hitzert's Hotel Navajo, while a photograph from the period
shows the sign over the door as Navajo Bar & Cafe.
St. Louis County Parks
October 27, 2010
from Esley Hamilton): The original date of the building is
still a mystery to me, though the 1929 date for its
remodeling still seems to be about right.
FROM CURRENT OWNER
The Tea Room once was a hotel that was owned by the first
Mayor of Fenton. They had their Town Hall Meetings
here. It was well known for their Sunday fried chicken
had come back into the old hotel having their offices in the
rooms upstairs. Fenton Historical Museum was in the
it is being served as a Tea Room since 2001. Rumor has
it that this old building is haunted.