Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Down Memory Lane

By Mike Kramme, Washington County Historical Society | Jan 18, 2013
This Benz Hotel advertisement appeared in the 1906 Washington County Atlas.

The three-story brick building at 306 North Marion is one of the oldest structures remaining in the city of Washington. Lorenz Benz built it as a hotel in 1876. Originally known as the Pennsylvania Hotel, it has been renamed numerous times.  The building was remodeled into apartments in 1966. Named the Grand Apartments at that time, it later became the Gorham Apartments in 1977 and the Goncho Apartments in 1983.

When Lorenz Benz constructed the building, he wanted a hotel with a saloon. However, he could not have a saloon inside the city limits because Washington was voted “dry“ at the time. He chose to build on a lot just 6 inches north of the 1876 city limits.

Editor's note: Information for this article was from a history class project written by David Gorham when he was a junior high student, and the Iowa Site Inventory Form prepared by the Washington Historic Preservation Commission.




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