New Haven is a river town with both its heritage firmly rooted at the banks of Missouri River. In the mid-1870s, a smaller commercial area was evolving high on a bluff overlooking the downtown and the river.

Henry Tegeler and his wife Minnie, German immigrants transplanted from St. Louis, had been looking for a business opportunity. In 1879 they built the Central Hotel near the corner of Wall and Maupin Streets, across from Grubbel’s store and opera house. At that time there were other accommodations available in town, but the new hotel with its spacious dining room and parlor soon became a favorite with railroad employees and traveling salesmen.

When Henry Tegeler died in 1908, his widow continued to operate the Central Hotel in partnership with her younger sister. In 1919 Minnie Tegler sold the property to Ben Zeitzman, who sold the property to John and Viola McDonald in 1929.

The McDonalds were new to the hospitality industry. It was not easy starting a business as the nation sank deeper into the Great Depression, but the young couple learned quickly and worked hard. John would often meet the train downtown in search of guests, and Viola started a small restaurant. Long-term boarders occupied two rooms, and the remaining three rooms were kept available for transient customers. Train crews and traveling ‘drummers’ continued to be the most important source of business.

Despite hard times, New Haven’s Central Hotel was a happy place during the Depression. Viola McDonald gave birth to two children there, and neighborhood children mingled freely with guests and boarders. Food service had become even more important since Grubel’s store was turned into a hat factory. Every Thursday the McDonalds would slaughter and fry thirty-fice chickens for hotel guests and locals who still had enough money to ‘eat out’. An octogenarian who worked for Viola at the age of eleven said that dinnertime was often an adventure because the McDonald’s oldest son would frequently remove all the labels from cans stored in the cellar.

John and Kathryn Scherer acquired the Central Hotel in 1937, and it was around this time that the building was converted from a hotel to individual apartments. The front room became a small neighborhood store offering snacks, soda and sundries to hat factory workers across the street. During the 1940s and 50s many young New Haven couples just starting out resided for short periods of time in what was formerly the Central Hotel.

In 1951, the Scherer's sold the building to Kathryn Stocklin. She and her sister owned the hotel for the next forty-two years.

By the year 2000, after 125 years of hard use, the old hotel was showing its age. Although the building had fallen into disrepair, its classic lines and fading Central Hotel sign on the north wall still hinted at a proud and colorful past. Mark and Ellen Zobrist purchased the property in August of 1996 and began a seven-year project that included not only restoring and rehabbing the structure, but also returning it to service as a fully operational hotel with modern conveniences. What you see today is the result of that effort.


John Colter a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, married and settled in the New Haven, MO area. Colter became the first known person of European descent to enter the region now known as Yellowstone National Park, and to see the Teton Mountain Range. Colter spent months alone in the wilderness, and is widely considered to be the first mountain man.

The subject of both a historical novel and an upcoming movie, one of the most enduring legends about Mr. Colter is his escape after being taken hostage by Blackfeet warriors in 1809, commonly known as Colter's Run. After the Blackfeet killed Colter's hunting partner, a man named Potts (in retailiation for Potts killing a Blackfoot), Colter was stripped naked and told to run for his life. The Blackfoot chief gave him a head start and clad only in a blanket, Colter took off running across the plain. After a battle with a brave who caught up with him, Colter finally escaped by hiding near the shore of a small island on the Missouri River.

The John Colter Memorial and Visitors Center in New Haven was opened in 2003 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The log shelter contains interpretive signs and a monument dedicated to the honor of John Colter. The memorial adjoins a river walk which extends a quarter mile along the Missouri River levee. Interpretive signs along the river walk provide information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and local history.

Central Hotel Bed & Breakfast
1017 Maupin Street | New Haven, Missouri (MO) 63068
Phone: (573) 237-8540 | E-Mail: Click Here | Web Site: www.centralhotelnh.com
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