The Square, Newport’s Heart
Architectural Integrity Binds the Space
Post Civil War prosperity brought business, housing and industrial expansion to Newport. Between 1871 and 1876, three-story brick buildings were erected on each corner of the square, anchoring the square and neighboring businesses.
The Miller Hotel – 1871
1 N. 2nd Street
Constructed by Capt. B. F. Miller, the property became the Graham Hotel in the 1890s. When the First National Bank purchased the property in 1914, it was occupied by two banks, a barber shop and a jewelry store.
The hotel, ca. 1900, when it was known as the Graham. (Looking Northwest)
The Gantt Hotel – 1875
2 N. 2nd Street
Rebuilt by Jesse L. Gantt after an 1874 fire, this three story hotel stands to this day. Over time, new ownership led to name changes: Central, Mingle, Newporter, Newport, and now, Senior Apartments.
Competition between the Mingle and Graham hotels in the late 1890s led both to install central steam heat, running water and electric lighting. Consequently, these hotels plus railroad service attracted many groups to Newport. One 1902 weekend convention of mechanics doubled the population of Newport!
The hotel, ca. 1960, when it was known as the Newport. The Towpath was the name of the restaurant. (Looking Northeast)
The Butz Building – 1875
1 S. 2nd Street
Jesse Butz, Sr. constructed the edifice and operated a dry goods and clothing store. Subsequent businesses have filled the first floor while apartments have occupied the 2nd and 3rd floors.
The Butz Building, ca. 1900. (Looking Southeast)
The Centennial Building – 1876
4 S. 2nd Street
The Centennial Building was so named because of its construction by dry goods dealer Philip Bosserman on the 100th anniversary of the Nation’s independence. For decades, the third story of the facility, with its 16 foot-high ceilings, was the largest public auditorium in the community and the stage for traveling productions, local thespians, conferences and politicians
The Centennial Building, left, ca. 1932. Center,
the former Miller/Graham Hotel. (Looking Northwest)
For almost a century and a half these corner buildings have created structural and visual balance for Newport’s commercial district.