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Darlene E. Kelley
donkeyskid@webtv.net                              
May 15, 1999
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Historical Collections of Ohio
The Kelley Family Book compiled by Hermon Alfred Kelley   1897   
And Then They Went West
by Darlene E. Kelley    1998   
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    After the steamboat Islander was put into commission and it became
generally known by the companies operating steam passenger ships between
Buffalo and Detroit and upper Lake ports, that the Islander was making
regular tri-weekly trips between Kelley's Island and Sandusky, they
would take passengers for Sandusky and leave them at Kelley's Island.
It often happened that a party of several travelers would thus arrive
unexpectedly at almost any hour day or night.  In as much as the only
house on the island that was of sufficient size to accomodate more than
two or three persons, was that of Datus Kelley, it fell to his lot to
accomodate them with board and shelter until they could leave the
island. Such a visitation was by no means welcome, and the patience and
resources of the good and hospitable Mrs. Kelley were taxed to their
upmost.  No charge was made in the early days even when the travelers
would had to wait a day or two before they could leave.  An occasional
traveler would insist on paying for accomodations but that was
exceptional.  The demand for accomodations became so large that a three
story addition was built to the original house and Addison Kelley and
his wife then took charge of it and opened it in the spring of 1853.  It
was called the Island House then for the first time.  Mr. and Mrs. Datus
Kelley remained in the house as boarders.  For many years the Island
House was one of the most celebrated hotels among the islands and during
season, was filled with guests from all parts of the United States.  It
had the honor of being the first hotel of any importance on any of the
islands, those at Put-in-Bay having been constructed many years later.
The season began with the spring bass fishing which attracted a large
number of sportsmen.  About the first of July came the ladies with
children for the summer.  The fall fishing attracted more fisherman.
The grape crop brought buyers from many large cities and the growing
stone business also brought guests for the hotel.  It is interesting to
know that the rates at that time for transients, were one dollar a day
while boarders or families were charged two dollars per week, children
and nurses half price.  This statement is taken from an article
published in 1876 in the Islander and written by Sarah W. Rush, a
granddaughter of Datus Kelley, her father being William S. Webb.  She
was the wife of Mr. Jacob Rush who was owner of the hotel at the time
the article was written.  Mrs. Rush stated that these rates were
continued up to 1854 when board by the week was increased to three
dollars.  The transient or single day rate was unchanged. In 1857 the
rate was raised to $7.00 per week. In 1858 board by the week remained
the same as before but single day rate was raised to $ 1.25 and rates
remained so until 1861 when on account of high war prices, the rate
advanced to $ 9.00 per week and $ 1.50 per day.  The house was remodeled
in 1862 and again in 1865.  In that year, Mr. Addison Kelley gave up the
hotel business and moved into his new stone mansion on Water Street
facing the lake near Inscription Rock.  Mr. J.D. Bourne then took charge
of the Island House and opened it for guests July 4th. 1865.  At the
death of Mr. Datus Kelley which occurred January 24th,1866, the Hotel
came under the management of Mr. A.S. Kelley who acted as executor of
the estate.  Mr. and Mrs. Bourne remained in charge of the Hotel until
the sprng of1869, when it was sold to Messrs. Watson, Colby, and Hicox
of Mansfield for $7,000.00.  They sent Mr. C.C. Townley to run it.  Mr.
Townley was a decided acquisition to the island and entered heartily and
sympathetically into all its activities and became a general favorite.
He contributed many interesting articles to the "Islander".  Mr. Townley
returned to Mansfield after the hotel was sold April 1, 1874 to Mr.
Jacob Rush.  Mr. Rush made extensive additions and improvements and
installed a steam pump on the lake shore to supply the hotel with
running water.  The hotel was full of guests and very popular during
Mr.Rush's ownership, but unfortunately it was totally destroyed by fire
November 2nd,1877, after the season had closed and so there was no loss
of life.  The hotel was rebuilt by Mr. George Schardt, but again burned
down and the lot remained vacant until it was purchased by the Civic
Club and dedicated for Park purposes, May 30th, 1924.

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