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Upstairs Downtown: The McCabe Building & the Hotel McCabeTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by Heritage Images
The McCabe Building, at left, and Hotel McCabe in the early 20th century.
Photo by Kaycee Anderson
One of the third floor hallways in the McCabe Hotel, looking east toward the top of the stairway.
Photo by Kaycee Anderson
A third floor hallway of the McCabe Hotel, looking west.
Photo by Kaycee Anderson
Modern day view: Fourth and Dewey from a third-floor hotel window.
Photo by Kaycee Anderson
Third floor room
Photo by Kaycee Anderson
Secret outdoor hideaway, north side of the hotel building.

The McCabe Hotel on North Platte’s Dewey St. was built in 1916. At the time, it was one of the best, featuring 50 guest rooms – 28 with baths, according to the North Platte newspaper.

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This article is part of the Bulletin's ongoing series about North Platte's downtown buildings and their upstairs rooms.


When it was built, a drug store shared the first floor with the hotel lobby, and there was a large dining room and kitchen in the rear. The third floor was constructed in 1917, adding 100 sleeping rooms, according to the news report.

The hotel -- one of a handful of substantial downtown buildings -- stood next to the McCabe building on the corner of Fourth and Dewey, which had been built three years earlier in 1913, at the direction of Dr. Nicholas McCabe, a physician.

Soon after the McCabe building on the corner was constructed, it became home to a confectionary shop, a theater, a style shop and the Hendy-Ogier Ford Garage, according to City Bones, a book about North Platte’s history.

Today, the third floor of the McCabe Hotel is a maze of halls with lots of small, empty rooms. There is no updated plumbing or electricity on the top floor, although remnants remain, including a large fuse box and shared bathrooms that once connected some of the rooms.

The second floors of both buildings are in relatively good shape, connected by a narrow hallway that links nine studio apartments on the McCabe Building with 16 studio apartments on the old hotel.

The second floors have been remodeled over the years and some of their original features were obscured. But, the abandoned rooms on the third floor still have dark, wooden doors, many of which are numbered with painted numerals. The original dark wood trims the walls in the hallways.

Inside the third floor rooms, plaster crumbles from the walls in several places. Some rooms have holes in walls and some windows are in disrepair. Vandals have spray-painted graffiti in some places.

From an upper room, a five-foot-wide outdoor space is visible between the hotel and the Knights of Columbus building, which abutts the north side of the hotel.


Hauntings

The third floor of the hotel is often said to be haunted. Residents of second floor apartments say they hear strange sounds up there, manager Rob Larson said. Larson has investigated the reports, but found no one nor any footprints in the dusty hallways and rooms.

However, Larson said there have been times when things were apparently moved without explanation. He said one room has a square hole in the floor, which looks like someone pulled up floor planks and laid them next to the hole. He doesn’t know why.

On March 23, a team of paranormal investigators from Hastings (Tri-City Research and Investigation of the Paranormal) stayed overnight at the McCabe Hotel to see if they could find evidence that the third floor was haunted.

The results were inconclusive, Larson said, partly because their equipment picked up sounds and vibrations from apartments on the second floor. He said it’s possible that the team will return if they can figure out how to adjust for the natural noise downstairs.

In the big basement of the old hotel, an old fallout shelter from the 1950s runs the length of the building, complete with restrooms. It still contains some crackers vacuum sealed in tin containers — provisions available in the event of a nuclear attack.

For many years in North Platte’s history, when downtown was the place to shop, the O’Connor Drug Store occupied the first floor of the McCabe Building. Today, that space is home to Hometown Family Radio, with Doggie Creations on the north end of the building facing Fourth St.

The first floor of the hotel has been occupied by several cafes and bars over the years, but it is now unoccupied.

Years ago, the McCabe Bar was on the first floor. In the early 1970s it became Esh’s and Rag’s Lounge, then Andy’s, Doris’, Kelsey’s and most recently, The Den.



Editor George Lauby contributed to this report. First published in the Sept. 26 print edition of the Bulletin.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/24/2012
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