The Courtland Hotel & Spa
121 E 1st St Fort Scott, KS 66701
In 1906, Hotels in Fort Scott Ks. were in great need, due in part to the continued development of the growing United States. The Railroads that ran thru Fort Scott were major thoroughfares to the west as well as the North / South passenger and freight lines. It was a fascinating time in our local history.
The Hotel was originally constructed to accommodate numerous businesses of diverse types. The original record of, the hotels in Fort Scott KS, had it listed as the Gem Hotel. The Building has a unique design. The Lower level was built to make up as many as six completely separate store fronts. All of them had a front and a back door. One of them, the Freight Company, even had an overhead door on the back of the building. The upper level, second floor, was divided into Lodging rooms as well as a space for a Tailor shop owned by Henry Brown. The Lodging space was operated by Q. L. Cooper whom also had the Restaurant in the lower level.
As all things, things change. Over the next number of decades the hotel continued to have a plethora of diverse businesses in it. Some hotels in Fort Scott KS were converted into apartments or lost for other reasons. But the Courtland Hotel still stands as a tribute to the grandeur of the times in Downtown Fort Scott KS.
In 1993, after having been neglected of maintenance for some years, a Lady named Barbara Kelly purchased the Hotel. She had a dream to make it a Bed and Breakfast. With the help of many of our local people she was able to breathe life back into the old hotel in Fort Scott. Reports claim that there were times the dust was so thick up and down the hall that you could not see the other end. She in essence saved this “Gem” of a Hotel in Fort Scott KS. The restoration removed the old knob and tube electrical wiring and replaced it with modern wiring. It also gave the Guest rooms their own private bathrooms. Originally there was only one bathroom in the entire building and it was upstairs. She opened a Bar and a Restaurant in the lower level of the hotel and created a Check-in counter for guests checking into her Bed & Breakfast.
The Bed and Breakfast changed hands in a few years. A retired Doctor and his wife purchased the hotel and continued to run it as a B&B. They leased the spaces that were the Bar and the Restaurant out to a number of different proprietors over the next number of years.
On October 1st 2004 the ownership changed again. This time the old hotel in Fort Scott was going to get another makeover. The new owners remodeled half of the lower level of the building in order to accommodate a Day Spa. Complete with multiple therapy rooms, manicure stations and pedithrones.
The first year saw some tough times for the hotel in Fort Scott KS. It was like trying to put a Round peg in a Square hole. It just didn’t work. The B&B business didn’t seem to work and no one could figure out why. However, just after New Year’s Day 2006, 100 years after the hotel was built, realization come to light. The Hotel was not a B&B. It was a Historic Hotel in Downtown Fort Scott KS. When we started telling the world what we really are the world took notice. People from all walks of life, from all over the world, have been coming to stay in the Historic Courtland Hotel & Spa.
The restoration and modernization of the Hotel has continued over the years. There have been major upgrades to the Hotel. Including a New Roof, modern waste lines underground (remember, originally, there was only one toilet) and restored stone staircase in the window well to the Basement.
Some of the rooms have been combined in order to make large rooms that easily accommodate a King sized bed and the 50’ TVs of the modern times. Other rooms have been left as they would have been 100 years ago, only with modern conveniences in them like Air conditioning and a bathroom.