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June 23, 1892 - North Vernon Sun

    There are some thirteen or more places in North Vernon which offer more or less desirable attractions to the hungry and sleepy multitude which daily ebbs and flows through the city. Commercial salesmen, however (and we mean those who travel for the houses of business standing), have set their seal of approval upon one-the Commercial House-and its landlord, Mr. Edward Beck, tries to deserve their patronage and their appreciation. He is handicapped by the fact that the house is comparatively small-it affords accommodations for but eighteen guests-but about eighteen guests-but travelers say that it is one of the most attractive stopping places on their route. It is purely and simply a commercial house; no regular boarders are received; and it is to the tastes and the necessities of commercial men that the house caters.
    So far as that is concerned, Mr. Beck knows how it is himself. By nativity he is a Cincinnatian and he spent some years upon the road as a Knight of the Grip. He therefore knows what traveling men want, and he meets those wants not only with pleasantly furnished sleeping appartments, but report has it that there's nothing too good for the table of the Commercial House. One traveler, poetically inclined, said in speaking of the hotel to a SUN man "It is an oasis in the ordinary desert of hotel life," and we reckon that's the verdict of the "boys" generally.
    The Commercial is upon Madison avenue, opposite the O. and M. and J. M. and I. deports, and within a stone's throw of the Big FOur depot. The building is a two story brick, fronting upon two streets; the first floor is for office, dining room, sample rooms, etc., and the second floor is entirely given up to the parlor and sleeping appartments. It's too bad that the house isn't larger, and now some of our moneyed men ought to build a hotel in keeping with North Vernon's pretensions and have Mr. Beck take charge of it. During the two and a half years he has been landlord of the Commercial he has wonderfully built up its trade, and he doesn't hesitate to say that his patronage thus far this year has been better than ever before.
    THE SUN congratulates the landlord of our leading hotel and hopes he may continue to receive the patronage his house so well merits.
The Leading Hostelry in Jennings County
From an 1897 Supplement to the North Vernon Plain Dealer

    North Vernon possesses one of the most complete hostelries found in any of the Southern Indiana counties. In the Commercial Hotel, situated in the heart of the city, immediately opposite the B. & O.S.W, Big Four, and P., C., C. & St. L. railroad depots, and convenient to every place of business in the town, is embodied all the best features of a hotel of the first-class. It is sufficiently roomy to accommodate any possible demand likely to arise; bright and clean from attic to cellar; furnished in the best modern style; cool in summer and thoroughly heated in winter, with a table that provides an abundance of well-cooked viands, appetizingly served and a host that is the personification of good nature and geniality. It is said of the knights of the grip that their endorsement or condemnation of a hotel evidence needed to show its popularity with commercial men, the names and registrations revealing the fact that the representatives of the wholesale houses and manufactories located in all parts of the Union make this their headquarters while in the city.
    To Ed. Beck, the popular proprietor of the hotel, is due the credit for its success. Mr. Beck's first appearance in North Vernon as a hotel man was in 1890. At that time the city was without a first-class place of public entertainment, and the building which he leased was far from meeting his ideas of what a hotel should be. With characteristic forethought he immediately began to plan for an entire remodeling of the building, and in 1893, having concluded satisfactory arrangements with the owner, the whole premises were remodeled and renovated, a new wing being added, and modern improvements being introduced in every part of the structure. The transformation was so complete and radical, that when the remodeling was done it was impossible to recognize in the handsome interior any part of the old hotel. But this was only a part of Mr. Beck's plan to revolutionize the hotel business in North Vernon. At an expense of several thousand dollars he proceeded to refurnish the house, and did not rest until every room was rehabilitated and furnished in a manner that would have done credit to any hotel. It is perhaps a mistake to say he rested then, for from that time to the present he has constantly sought to beautify the premises and add to it such conveniences and comforts as the traveling public expects. A brief description of this cozy and hospitable hotel is appropriate. The building is a solid brick structure of three stories, with a basement, 50 x 150 feet in dimensions. On the ground floor are the office, sample rooms, dining room, kitchen, storeroom, lavatories and toilet rooms, the whole being arranged with a view to the public convenience. With the exception of the parlor on the second floor, a beautifully furnished appartment, hung with lace curtains and containing a sweet-toned cottage piano, several handsome engravings, and other evidences of refinement and culture, the second and thrid floors are devoted to sleeping rooms. These are furnished in antique oak, are kept scrupulously clean, and are thoroughly ventilated. In all there are twentynine bed rooms. The dining room og the hotel is unique and one of the prettiest places imaginable, a remarkable effect being produced by plate glass mirrors which are fitted into the walls and extend all around the room, multiplying people and objects indefinately. Four fans, operated by a water moter, keep this room coll during the hottest weather. The entire building is lighted by electricity, Mr. Beck being one of the first men in the city to take advantage of the newly erected electric light plant. The cuisine, as already stated, is first class, and the attendance in all departments of the hotel service such as to give pleasure to guests. Mr. Beck himself is a most attentive host, who constantly looks after the comfort of patrons and sees to their wants personally. In this he is efficiently aided by his good wife (formerly Miss Mollie Hess, of Cincinnati), who takes charge of the housekeeping department and superintends the domestic affairs of the hotel.
    The Commercial Hotel, since it came into Mr. Beck's hands, has been a factor in the growth and prosperity of North Vernon, as without the accomodations it has afforded, the city would have lacked much of the publicity it has been given by the thousands of people who have from time to time sojourned here for a shorter or longer time.

North Vernon Plain Dealer - May 14, 1908 pg1
    The New Metropole Hotel formerly the Commercial of this city, swings its doors Saturday, May 16th, all day and invites all the business men and their families for an inspection of the new hotel which has been repainted and so elegantly furnished by its hustling proprietor, Jay Cook. Mr. J. S. Winnsfeld who has accepted the management of the hotel needs no comment whatever as we feel by his many years of hotel experience that he will prove a success.
North Vernon Sun - April 30, 1909
Our Leading Hotel
    The Hotel Metropole under the present management, is rapidly becoming known as one of the best moderate priced hotels in the entire state of Indiana. When traveling men speak well of a hotel you can be reassured that it is all right and the "Knights of the Grip" have passed the word down the linee that the Hotel Metropole is a good place to stop.
    Jay Cook, the present proprietor purchased the hotel on March 1st 1908 and during the next six weeks the place was thoroughly overhauled remodeled and refurnished an on May 14th was opened to the public it is the leading hotel of North Vernon is constructed of brick, heated by steam, lighted by electricity, has bath rooms on each floor, fire escapes in every room and is modern, well appointed and well equipped. There are thirty-five rooms neatly furnished and the office all light and they and the dining room are commodious and comfortable. The table is supplied with the best of everything the market affords, everything about the place is pleasant and attractive and every effort is made to make the guests feel at home.
    While the claim is not made that the Hotel Metropole is the best in the state, it is perfectly safe to say that but few cities of the size of North Vernon can boast of as good a two dollar a day house. Landlord Cook is a well known member of the Elks.
    The Hotel Metropole is very centrally located in the business section of the town across the street from the B. & S. W. and Pennsylvania deports, and a half mintute walk from the Big Four depot.
    Some idea of how busy a place North Vernon as can be gained from the fact that thirty-five passenger trains stop here daily.

Death Notice
Edward Beck
July 13, 1916 - North Vernon Plain Dealer
    BECK-Edward Beck, aged fifty-three years, died at his home on Gum Street, this city, at about eleven o'clock, Wednesday morning, July 12th. Mr. Beck had been in ill health for some time, but had been confined to his bed only about two weeks. He had been a resident of this city for many years and was well known in business circles having been the proprietor of the Commercial Hotel for several years and later proprietor of a racket store on Walnut Street. He is survived by his wife, three sons, Raymond, Hobart and Edison, and one daughter Miss Ila. His father John A. Beck, of Cincinnati, two brothers, Harry, of this city, and Charles, of Cincinnati, and one sister, Mrs. Lily Bobring, of Cincinnati, also survive. Arrangements for funeral have not yet been announced.
    Edward Beck, son of John A. and Katherine Beck, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 12th, 1863. Died at his home in North Vernon, Indiana, July 12th, 1916, aged 53 years, one month. He was untied in marriage to Mollie Hess, twenty eight years ago, soon thereafter came to North Vernon, which has been his home during these years. Into this home were born five children, four boys and one daughter, one son, the eldest born having preceded the father into the future world.
    He was baptized and brought up in the United Brethern Church at Cincinnati, but never transferred to any other. He was a faithful and efficient member of the Knights of Pythias, becoming a member about sixteen years ago.
    He served for six years as the Trustee of Center Township.

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