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The Oaks/Snapp Hotel in Excelsior Springs, Missouri is the second Snapp Hotel, built after a fire destroyed the first Snapp Hotel on January 7, 1912. It was designed by the prominent Kansas City architect Frank J. Jackson, of the firm Jackson and McIlvain (who also designed two of the Elms Hotel buildings). James Snapp preferred to build the new hotel himself, and engaged an experienced superintendent, formerly with the Fuller Construction Company of New York and Chicago, and rented the heavy equipment needed. It is built with red brick, five stories high and constructed entirely of steel and reinforced concrete with exterior trim of terra cotta and cut stone. It is of free-style Spanish architecture.

On Thursday, May 15, 1913, a formal opening of the Snapp Hotel was held for the people of Excelsior Springs. Persons were invited to tour the facilities during the afternoon and stay for a reception and ball that evening. The opening attracted quite a crowd of Kansas Citians, although most of the out-of-towners waited for the Saturday night dance, which was the formal opening for visitors and tourists. The hotel contained 150 rooms, private and connecting baths. Most rooms had outside exposures. One of the most appealing features of the exterior was a veranda 78'x25' built in pergola fashion with porch swings, settees, easy chairs and reading tables.

The first floor consisted of main lobby, a connecting ballroom for lounging and reading, a large dining room which seated a capacity of 200. The dining room was covered with a heavy, rich Wilton carpet with draperies to match. Every Saturday night a large party was given in the ballroom at which the guests and their friends, as well as many persons from Kansas City and other cities of the immediate vicnity, frequented. The first floor also offered a cocktail lounge and coffee shop. The coffee shop was patterned after a famous Spanish Inn of Old Mexico. Nicknamed "Ginger Snap", it was done in tile and stucco, with wrought iron grills. It was open to the public, as well as hotel guests.

A beautiful sun room ran almost the entire length of the hotel building and offered recreation and amusement for hotel patrons. Splendid putting greens in the sun room provided golfers exercise summer and winter alike. Ping pong and bridge were also played here. The ground floor also provided a beauty shop and a bath department for ladies and men in the South Wing. The bath department was furnished throughout by Frank S. Betz of Hammon, Ill., and represented the latest improvements in bathing equipment, including the only sun-ray bath equipment in Excelsior Springs. It was managed by Mr. Max Meloy, graduate of the Chicago School of Massage and Therapeutic Gymnastics, who had previous experience at Battle Creek and other famous health resorts. The spa offered the Snapp American version of the famous Carlsbad Treatment. Elevators took guests direct from rooms to the bath department.

The dining room cuisine included fresh milk, cream, butter and eggs, as well as poultry and all vegetables and fruits in season, supplied by the Snapp Farm, one mile distant. Tennis courts adjoined the Hotel Snapp and horses were brought directly to the hotel for those who wished to ride on one of the winding bridle paths in Excelsior Springs.

The New York Giants professional football team stayed at this hotel (after it became the Oaks Hotel) while practicing here in the fall of 1953. The hotel was at that time operated by Eppley Hotel, Inc., one of two Excelsior Springs hotels operated by the company. It was managed by Fred H. Hagel, president.

The building owner, James W. (Jim) Snapp came to Excelsior Springs when news of the mineral waters spread and opened the first hardware store here. He operated this a number of years and then began the hotel business by purchasing Wholf Tavern (now the Royal Hotel) and named it Snapp Tavern. He later sold the tavern to Mrs. L.G. Hill. Immediately he commenced with plans to engage in the hotel business on a larger scale and erected the first Snapp Hotel in June, 1907.


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The letter "S" for Snapp was incorporated into the design of the building. The Hotel Snapp was built by James Snapp. Click on photo for enlargement.