Hello from Branson!
Spring has finally arrived. Hurrah! After the brutal winter most of our country has experienced, I'll bet you are as glad to see it arrive as I am. It is definitely one of my favorite times of the year and the Ozarks does it up right. The dogwoods and redbuds are in full flower throughout our forests. And in town, the forsythia and daffodils have created an explosion of sunny yellow color over our newly greening lawns. Love it. Absolutely love it.
Some news for you. I just received the cover art for the Calder Christmas book, and its definitely a Christmasy one. By the way, the title of the Calder Christmas book will be SANTA IN MONTANA, so don't go to your book stores looking for a title with the Calder name in it. You won't find it. Again, SANTA IN MONTANA is the name of the Christmas book that has all the Calders returning to the Triple C for a family gathering with Chase.
My other news – my partners and I have just purchased the Old English Inn in Hollister, Missouri. It was built in 1909, so it is entitled to bear the distinction of "old". For those of you who don't know, Hollister is the twin city of Branson. Like Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, Hollister is situated on the other side of the bridge from downtown Branson.
In its heyday, Hollister was the destination for sportsmen who came to fish the White River and hunt in the Ozark forests. And today, the downtown business district of Hollister is listed on the National Registry of Historic Districts. All of the downtown structures were built in the Tudor style of architecture, including Ye Olde English Inn. When it first opened in 1909, it proclaimed itself to be the first fire-resistant hotel because it was constructed with foot-thick concrete walls, floors, and ceilings. Today the building is still structurally sound and retains a great many of its original finishes. The hotel portion has been closed since the eighties. So we are in the process of renovating the hotel, the River Stone restaurant, and The Black Horse Pub.
Since we purchased it in late March, people have come forward to tell us that they were told Harry Truman stayed there when he came to Hollister to fish. Someone else said Cary Grand and Bing Crosby also had been guests. Just the other day, Dino Kartsonakis who has his bakery just down the street from the hotel, told me that he had heard Clark Gable has stayed there. And Bob Barker is supposed to have spent his honeymoon at the Inn. Is it true? I don't know, but you can bet I'll be doing some research to find out.
The whole project is exciting. Right now we hope to have the restaurant open in May and the Pub roughly a month later. Our goal is to have the hotel ready for occupancy by Labor Day weekend.
I have the feeling this project will make a great background for a future book. Don't You?
- Janet Dailey
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