On the corner of Third and Putnam currently sits a small parking lot. Painted on the side of the MOVP building is a mural of the hotel that used to reside and thrive here in Marietta called the Wakefield Hotel. Though it is long gone, many townsfolk remember it fondly, and recall the days when it was a place people were excited to stay in.
The land was originally a residence for the Dye family, known as Dodge Cottage, in the early 1800’s, and was home to an ever-growing family. The most notable member, in regards to this particular building, would be the late Mrs. Katherine Louise Wakefield-Ward-Dye. She was born as a Wakefield, but was married first to Captain Augustus T. Ward in 1869 which produced 2 children: Charles Augustus (Born 7/27/1870) and Willia Wakefield (Born 3/25/1872) Sadly, Captain Ward passed on August 13th, 1874, but Mrs. Ward was again married on Sept. 30th, 1875 to Mr. George P. Dye. This marriage provided 2 more children: Florence (Born 1879) and Grace Dye (Born 1880’s). From the start of this union, the family lived and thrived in Dodge Cottage, and lived happily for at least a few years before Mr. Dye passed in 1888.
Mrs. Dye never remarried. In 1890, she decided to turn the family home into a boarding house. Many of those who lived and worked in the Dodge Cottage were college students. Their work in the kitchens or as servers helped pay for their tuition or simply for a meal. In 1900, Charles Dye, Katherine's son, returned from Wisconsin from working in the newspaper industry. A Mariette college graduate of the class of 1890, he decided to assist his mother. Upon his arrival, he aided Katherine in the demolition of the family home as the new 3-story Wakefield Hotel was built. The hotel was originally constructed with 40 fully furnished rooms, with rates being anywhere from $1-$1.25 per night. After Katherine’s death in the early 1900’s due to cerebral arteriosclerosis, her son continued to care for the hotel until 1916 when he sold the Wakefield to S.A. Mulligan.
Mr. Mulligan owned and helped run the hotel but his wife’s brother, Walter Kirby, was the one who managed and cared for the property. In 1921, the hotel was sold to John M. McFarland. The McFarland family owned and ran the hotel for almost 50 years until the Dime Bank was forced to foreclose building, with the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity then purchasing it on Feb. 2, 1970. Within 8 years the fraternity not only dwindled in numbers and were forced to move, putting it back up for sale. After a series of auctions that were unsuccessful, they chose to tear down the building to build a new office for the Dime Bank, but after its demolition nothing was done on the property. After 20 years, a local artist named Geoff Schenkel painted a lovely mural of Putnam Street including the Wakefield Hotel. Unfortunately the wall it was painted on began to deteriorate a few years later, and the wall is currently undergoing stabilization and preservation by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players.
The heyday of this hotel was in the early 1900s. It was a lovely place for food, community, and travelers from all over came to stay there. The Wakefield was the prime host to many of the traveling acting troupes that came to the area, a perfect hotel for
those coming off the trains, or simply for people looking for a getaway. College students would come to work for a great meal, while many others came for the free baths, the barbershop, or just for their steam heating. This hotel survived the worst flood this town had in 1913, catering to the 40 guests still stuck inside, as well as surviving a variety of owners and remodels. It was a great piece of history that many in town still remember with nostalgia.