Museum musings — McLeod Hotel rules

Photo courtesy of the Bill Smiley Archives. The Royal Hotel in Prince Albert.

Occasionally, people will come by the Historical Museum and drop off photo albums, scrap books, and assorted similar items. These can be invaluable sources of information, especially if the names of the people involved, and the dates of the events recorded, form part of the information contained in these documents.
One such item, donated by the family, is a scrapbook put together by Alma Hegland. It is obvious from the book’s contents, taken from a variety of newspapers and magazines, that Mrs. Hegland was anxious to preserve knowledge of our area’s history, and to pass on that information to future generations.
This scrapbook served such a purpose earlier this month when the two times great-grandson of James Nisbet visited the Historical Museum. I was able to pull that scrapbook of the shelf and share some of the articles on Nisbet which had been clipped and saved for posterity.
Before putting the scrapbook back on the shelf, I flipped through it and discovered the followed whimsical (at least I hope they are whimsical) set of rules from McLeod’s Hotel:
• Guests will be provided with breakfast and dinner, but must rustle their own lunch.
• Spiked boots and spurs must be removed at night before retiring.
• Towels changed weekly. Insect powder for sale at the bar.
• Crap, Chuck, Stud Horse Poker and Black Jack games are run by the management.
• Special rates to “Gospel Grinders” and “Gambling Perfesh”.
• Every known fluid (water excepted) for sale at the bar.
• Two or more persons must sleep in one bed when so requested by the proprietor.
• Baths furnished free down at the river, but bathers must furnish their own soap and towels.
• No kicking regarding the quality or quantity of meals will be allowed! Those who do not like provender will get out, or be put out
• Assaults on the cook are strictly prohibited.
• Quarrelsome or boisterous persons, also those who shoot off without provocation, guns or other explosive weapons on the premises, and all boarders who get killed will not be allowed to remain in the House.
• When guests find themselves or their baggage thrown over the fence, they may consider that they have received notice to quit.
• Jewelry and other valuables will not be locked in the safe. This hotel has no such ornament as a safe.
• The proprietor will not be accountable for anything.
• In case of FIRE the guests are requested to escape without unnecessary delay.
• The BAR in the Annex will be open day and night. All Day drinks 50 cents each; Night drinks $1.00 each. No Mixed Drinks will be served except in case of death in the family.
• Guests without luggage must sleep in the vacant lot, and board elsewhere until their baggage arrives.
• No Cheques cashed for anybody. Payments must be paid in Cash, Gold Dust, or Blue Chips.
• Meals served in own rooms will not be guaranteed in any way. Our waiters are hungry and not above temptation.
• All guests are requested to rise at 6 a.m. This is imperative as the sheets are needed for tablecloths.
• No tips must be given to any waiters or servants. Leave them all with the proprietor and he will distribute them if it is considered necessary.
• Everything cash in advance. Board and Lodging – $50 a month, with wooden bench to sleep on or $60 a month with bed to sleep on.
As indicated, these rules were headed as McLeod Hotel Rules. The date attached to them would suggest that they were posted in the Royal Hotel, although it is possible that they might have been “rules” for the Prince Albert Hotel. We know that Donald McLeod, the brother of Samuel McLeod, bought the Royal Hotel in 1891 and operated it until he moved to Moose Jaw in 1894. The Royal Hotel was located on the southeast corner of what is now Second Avenue and 12th Street West.
We also know that S W & R Real Estate (a firm belonging to Samuel McLeod and his family) bought the National Hotel in or around 1906, owning and operating it under the name Prince Albert Hotel until shortly after 1910.
Given Mrs. Hegland’s hand-written notation which accompanied the article in the scrapbook, I am of the opinion that it was Donald McLeod’s hotel from which the rules were taken.
The Royal Hotel started life as a one-story house which was converted into the first Prince Albert Club sometime after the Resistance of 1885. Harry Ross, in an article written about the club, described the members as being “middle age, sedate men”. Numbering between twenty and thirty members, they did not have sufficient finances to sustain the club. As a result, they sold the building to Owen Hughes, the retired sheriff, and he rented it for a short time to the Indian Department. When that lease expired, Hughes sold the building to what Ross refers to as “a hotel company”, who added two stories to the building.
We have information which shows that in 1890 and 1891, the hotel company was renting space in the building to the town of Prince Albert for their administrative office, as well as to the Masonic Lodge for their meeting rooms. Also in the building, in addition to police cells, was the classroom which Lucy Maude Montgomery attended from September 1890 to February 1891.
Who owned and operated the hotel after Donald McLeod left Prince Albert in 1894 is unknown. By 1908, Fred Hunter was the proprietor, and William G. Tickle was the manager. This partnership lasted until 1911, when William A. Hunter took over as the proprietor. More change occurred in 1913 when James Boulton and George Stalker owned the hotel. However, in a statistical report submitted by the City in October 1917, the Royal Hotel was not mentioned. This would suggest that the hotel was vacant at that time, and according to the Henderson’s Directories it is known that the hotel remained vacant until at least to mid-1920s.
Hattie Callaway (sometimes spelled Calloway) was the owner of the hotel from 1925 until 1934, with the exception of 1929 when ownership was listed as Madge Kennedy. One can only speculate why Hattie Callaway transferred ownership to Madge Kennedy for that year. It is noted that from 1929 until 1934, the Royal Hotel became known as the Royal Rooms and was listed as a boarding house.
In 1936, Peter Harmes and George Camche took over ownership of the building, changing its name to the Grand Hotel. George Camche appears to have left the partnership after the first year with Harmes managing the hotel until 1943. By 1945, the building was vacant, and it sat vacant from them until 1950, after which it was demolished. The City used the space for a time as a tennis court, but more recently it has been a parking lot for the Gateway Mall, as well as additional parking for the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts.