This article was recently published in the Marion County Record.
Random Thoughts: Wishes do come true
By NORMA HANNAFORD - Contributing writer
You never know when a wish will be fulfilled, sometimes in a moment or maybe it takes years.
When I was 15 years old, I lived in El Dorado with my parents and siblings. My dad started to develop a business in Marion. The road there was a mud road so often he stayed all night in Marion. Sometimes he took me with him, which I liked, and we would stay overnight. I always wanted to stay in the Elgin Hotel. It was big, three-storied, and made of stone. But dad, being a frugal kind of guy, chose a little hotel down across from the Santa Fe tracks. It was all right but not a big tall building made of stone.
We eventually moved to Marion where we rented a big furnished house owned by the Wheelers, while they were spending the winter in California. We often attended affairs held in the Elgin. There was a ballroom and dining room. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks owned the hotel. Traveling men often stayed there. Eventually the Sparks gave it up and the building went down hill and began falling to pieces.
One day an engineer was in Marion and became interested in restoring the dilapidated Elgin. He made it into apartments. The engineer, Van Anderson, died and it came up for sale.
It was sold in an auction to Jim Cloutier. We wondered what he planned to do with it. We found that he was going to gut the interior and restore it to its original glory, as much as possible. The first floor has a ballroom, dining room, and an attractive entrance with a beautiful stairway to the third floor, where Cloutier and his wife live. The second floor is a bed and breakfast. A thrilling event. Thrilling for me also because my two daughters and I spent a night there and were served a lovely breakfast. At last, my wish came true. I got to stay at the beautiful Historic Elgin Hotel Bed and Breakfast.