Hotel Rhea History

Hotel RheaThe Rhea, as it was originally known, was considered one of the classic hotels of the time and took four years to construct (1904 – 1908). Complete with steam heat, running water and a bath in every room, the two-story property offered lodging upstairs and store fronts below. The Rhea took up most of the 100 block of West Main Street in Walnut Ridge, before it was all but destroyed by fire on November 16, 1914.

The portion of the original hotel left standing was renovated between 1915 to 1916 and the downstairs, originally called “Mose Place,” was opened for a second time as Cooper Drugs. At that time the upstairs was used as an office area for a doctor, dentist and a dental lab. Many decades later the upstairs was again remodeled and used as apartment rentals, with a drug store still located on the ground floor.

In 2012, owners of the Snapp Family LLC purchased the property and started an extensive renovation, to turn the three upstairs and one downstairs unit into historic suites, resembling the design of the original Rhea of the early 1900s. With all new electrical and plumbing systems throughout the property, new windows and modern amenities like flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi and electric fireplaces.

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John A. Rhea was born in Greene County on September 30, 1854, he came to Lawrence County when he was twelve years old.  John received […]

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Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” was born to Thomas and Mahala Cooper on January 14, 1861 in Lawrence County.  She married John A . Rhea on July […]

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Mose Cooper was born in 1870 to Thomas and Mahala Cooper.  Mose was the younger brother of Lizzie Cooper Rhea Burel.  Mose married Silla Garvett […]

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In the 1920s, Warner Drug Store in Hoxie always had a piano in the back for jam sessions and singing. A combo of local talent developed into a fine orchestra. Emerson Richardson on the piano; Dr. Glover Clay, clarinet and violin; Dick Payne, trumpet and trombone; Lucian Warner, saxophone; Earl Thomas, drums; and Conley Groves, banjo.

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J.K. Sexton came to Walnut Ridge in 1878 from Virginia at the age of 24. He was employed by the A.W. Smith Drug Store for eight years. In 1886, he opened Sexton’s Drug Store.

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