Marceline’s first hotel, known as the Santa Fe House and then later the Bon Hotel, was housed in a 2-story structure, just East of the depot, and is still standing today, as a private residence.
As Marceline grew, so did the need for a premier hotel. Built in 1906, the Allen Hotel, or Hotel Allen as it was referred to in the early days, was brand new when the Disney’s arrived in Marceline.
Hotel Allen was managed by a lady named Eva McDonald, who had originally come to Marceline to run a main street diner, known as The Hole in the Wall Café. The diner was popular amongst railroad employees for its late operating hours.
Ms. McDonald also ran a fine dining operation in the Allen Hotel. Roy Disney later recalled the entire Disney family having a meal in the hotel’s dining room. Roy couldn’t remember what he had to eat, but he did remember that his little sister Ruth spilled a plate of food that their father had paid for in real cash.
The Allen Hotel opened with all the modern conveniences: hot and cold running water, steam heating, and electric lights to name just a few. The hotel was known for its quick service, elegant cooking, and fine furnishings.
In 1913, the hotel charged two dollars per day, including meals, and could accommodate up to 150 guests. The Allen Hotel operated until 1968.
The first-floor store front was once the location of a popular clothing store, Murray’s Department Store, which operated in Marceline until 2007. Walt’s mother Flora purchased for him, his first pair of overalls there, officially transforming him into a small-town Missouri boy.
Ma Vic’s Corner Café is now the home of the Dusty Miller, a Marceline classic dessert. The ice cream sundae is named after Tom Miller, a local railroader, whose love for ice cream led him to frequent visits to Ma Reese’s uptown soda shop. After work on the railroad, back in the coal-powered-steam-engine days, he would be very dusty of course. Ma Reese would probably have preferred he clean up first, but he usually came straight from the tracks to her counter. He would often order special requests, acting as a so-called sundae connoisseur, Ma Reese would oblige. One of his concoctions even began to gain interest from other customers. Enough people came in asking for “the special sundae that Tom Miller always gets” that eventually Ma Reese added it to her regular menu, naming it the Dusty Miller. It’s been a Marceline classic ever since. The children in town are so accustomed to the dusty miller ice cream sundae, that they are often surprised when trying to order one outside of Marceline, and the server doesn’t know what a Dusty Miller is.
As Churros are to Disneyland, Dusty Millers are to Marceline.