If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
BY MIKE AVITT
This picture was taken at the intersection of Center Street and Dunning Avenue looking northwest. In the background on the left is the Swimming Pool parking lot today.
The Mount Ayr Commercial Club established this tourist park in 1922. The park was very important as automobile travel had increased greatly after WW I. Motorists could relax here, but the park was designed for overnight camping. It was common for motorists to pitch a tent for the night, rather than rent a hotel room (motels did not yet exist). The tourist park had a well, picnic tables, and likely an outhouse.
It is important to remember Madison Street, which bordered the north edge of the tourist park, was the Waubonsie Trail until 1920. In 1922, the Waubonsie Trail became State Highway 3. So, when traveling east or west through Mount Ayr, the tourist park was right there.
Most likely, the park only lasted ten years. Luxuries, like parks, were abandoned during the Great Depression, and this area was Payne Trailer Court when I was a kid. There was also a Smith Trailer Court on the east side of town. Both are gone now.
In 1939, Highway 3 was re-routed to its present location. Highway 3 was renamed Highway 2 on January 5, 1941, and the Clinton Motel was built in 1950.
With the Clinton Motel, motorists had a modern, up-to-date facility to spend the night. Rooms were equipped with hot and cold running water, radios, and steam heat. Televisions and telephones would come later. The first manager of the Clinton Motel was Dene Foltz. The motel closed in 2005 with Bob and Linda Haley as managers.
The Mount Ayr Inn and Suites opened in July 2005 with Linda Wilt as manager. The hotel has 30 rooms and a hot breakfast. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Paul Ramsey told me he had hoped to add an indoor swimming pool and steakhouse to the Mount Ayr Inn & Suites. It could still happen. I would support the steakhouse.