Shamrock Hotel and Post Office

In the 1800's, the town of Geneva looked a lot different. Wood buildings ran the length of Line St., and many of the businesses well-known today were not even thought of. One such building that has changed immensly is 414 East Line St.: known today as a United States Postal Services Outlet, it was once known as the Shamrock Hotel. However, there was a time in its history where it might have been wiped off the map, and not known at all.

At one point owned by a nefarious Mr. Willis C. Glendening, who later traded the hotel for a farm in Ohio, the Shamrock hotel was almost lost in a blaze that destroyed much of the town in 1895. This fire caused over $100,000 in damages, estimated at the equivalent of almost $2.9 million today. High temperatures during this period almost completely dried up town wells and cisterns, and the wood buildings were tinderboxes. In efforts to minimize damage in a town essentially built with kindling, the fire department was called only to find out they would not make it in time to save much of the street. In lieu of the standard heros, a decision was made to save two of the largest businesses on the street: the Shamrock Hotel and an adjoining bank. This was done by blowing up the saloon attached to the hotel, effectively removing a piece of kindling from the raging fire, and saving the building now known as the Post Office. While injuries occured in the process, there was no recorded loss of life.

After the fire, building materials of the downtown area were reevaluated. With such a huge loss (only 6 businesses were saved in total), and many businesses foregoing insurance and therefore losing everything, new buildings were mandated to be constructed out of brick, stone, or iron. This decision ensured the Shamrock Hotel's structure was there to stay, up to and including today.