Imperial House Motels Directory

Imperial House Motels Directory

Imperial House Motels Directory (1)
The Imperial House was a small chain of motels located mostly in Ohio. There were never more than 10 locations as far as I can tell. However, they were easy to spot with their customary crowned arch sign with two lions climbing a pedestal.

This brochure is undated but most likely around 1965-1967. The chain fizzled out in the late 1970s and the motels either became independent or were renamed and joined a different chain of motels.

This is what I found about all of the locations featured in this directory and what the location looks like now.

Note: This was originally written in October 2016 and will be updated when new photos and information become available

 1. Imperial House Cincinnati

Located off of Interstate 75 & By-Pass 50. The actual street address was 1717 Glendale Milford Road. There were 114 rooms, a fully-covered entrance, indoor AND outdoor pools and banquet facilities for up to 600.

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Imperial House Cincinnati postcard with a great view of the lobby. Courtesy of William Bird.

The motel ultimately finished as a Quality Inn until 2006, when it was put up for sale. Finding no buyers, it was razed sometime between 2007-2009. The lot is still empty.

2. Imperial House West Cincinnati

Located off of Interstate 74 & U.S. 52. It appears the location is 5510 Old Rybolt Road. This was a relatively small motel. There were 50 rooms and a much smaller footprint. It looks like this one might have stayed with the Imperial House name even after the chain collapsed.

The building is still standing but I can’t figure out what it is currently called or if it is even occupied.

3. Imperial House Arlington – Columbus, Ohio

1135 Dublin Road.
This is one of the bigger motels in the chain. There were 160 rooms, a Great Hall, which sat up to 450 people and the King Richard Room (which I would have loved to see).
Finding anything out the motel part has proven to be tricky. The spot was either rebuilt or converted into an office plaza called the River’s Edge.

4. Imperial House North – Columbus, Ohio

Interstate 71 & Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio. The actual address is 900 Morse Road. 224 Rooms, Color Television, Outdoor Pool, Indoor Pool with Sauna Bath, Gift Shop, Black Rose Dining Room, Alcazar Cocktail Lounge. Banquet facilities for 25 to 500.

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Postcard view of the Imperial House North – Columbus, Ohio featuring a view of the fantastic sign at night. The room view is complete with avocado green bedding and the bottom right must be the Black Rose Dining Room.

This location was razed sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s. I wonder what happened to that glorious sign.

5. Imperial House North -Dayton, Ohio

Interstate 75 & Needmore Road.

Featuring 253 rooms, the Seven Nations Dining Room and Matador Lounge. The banquet facilities featuring the Bavarian Room, Germany Room, Switzerland Room, two Imperial Rooms, Austrian Room and the Italian Room.

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Imperial House North long postcard courtesy of William Bird
My beautiful picture
The Imperial House North in 1974. Photo courtesy of Mark Susina.

This location fared about as well as the others. It was last known as the Dayton Executive Hotel and it closed around 2008. The motel was boarded up for years and finally torn down in later 2014/early 2015.

The Cincinnati Enquirer – February 28, 1965

6. Imperial House South – Dayton, Ohio

Located at Interstate 75 & Ohio 725. It featured 101 rooms, the Crown Dining Room and cocktail lounge. There was the Imperial Ballroom, Jewel Room, Century Room and Empire Room.

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Multi-view long postcard of the Imperial House South. Courtesy of William Bird.

The building lasted until the Summer of 2005 after ending it’s run as a Ramada Inn, I think.

7. Imperial House Findlay – Findlay, Ohio

Located at Interstate 75 & Ohio 12. This was a smaller location with only 82 rooms. The Imperial Crown dining room & cocktail lounge, the Ballroom, Imperial Room, Empire Room and Crown Room were the restaurant & banquet facilities.

Imperial House Findlay postcard courtesy of CardCow.com.

The motel fell like the others did. It was a string of motels until it was renovated in 1991 and became a Days Inn. Days Inn was not ultimately successful and it, too finally closed. The building was razed sometime between 2007-2009.

8. Imperial House Shelby – Sidney, Ohio

Located at Interstate 75 & Ohio 47. This is an interesting one as it appears that the Shelby House, as it was originally known, was absorbed into the Imperial House chain. The decor was definitely Early American and it appears that was no arched sign as it would have clashed with the overall look of the Shelby House.

Imperial House Shelby postcard courtesy of refried.jeans.
Imperial House Shelby postcard back courtesy of refried.jeans.

Amazingly, it appears a modified version of the Shelby House is still standing. As of the October 2015 street view it is now the Country Hearth Inn & Suites.

9. Imperial House Motel – Columbus, Indiana

Located at Interstate 65 & Indiana 46.

The Republic – August 17, 1965

This location was the only Imperial House in Indiana and one of two not in Ohio. There were 86 rooms, indoor and outdoor pools and little lake in the back for fishing.

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Imperial House Motel – Columbus, Indiana postcard courtesy of Ryan Khatam
Long postcard image with a great view of the lobby and pool courtesy of CardCow.com.

The building was razed sometime in the early 2000s and a Comfort Inn, among other things, was built on the lot. Most of the lake was also filled in.

10. Imperial House Motel – Lexington, Kentucky

was located at Waller Ave. & Harrodsburg Rd. (U.S. 68). The actual address was 525 Waller Ave.

There were 110 rooms and the Empire Room for dining plus cocktails. The Hunt & Turf Ballroom, the Turf Room, The Hunt Room, the Regency Room, the Essex Room & Cambridge Room were the banquet facilities.

After the Imperial House chain folded and sometime before 1972, the motel was turned in to the Ramada Imperial Inn. I am having a hard time finding out when the Ramada Inns pulled out of there; but I did find the 2010 obituary for Preston Webber, the main entertainer for the Ramada Imperial from 1966-1994

The building became a sprawling, bedbug-addled shell of its former self known as the Kentucky Inn until the building was finally razed in 2008 or 2009.

There was one other location in Cincinnati, Ohio.

31 thoughts on “Imperial House Motels Directory

  1. WOW! I can remember the Imperial House South Dayton from about the year 1962. I was 6 years old, and Pop drove us there on a business trip to McCall’s Magazine in Dayton Ohio. That was “Summer Vacation” back then, because we were kinda broke, and the Imperial House was a bit of a stretch for my folks. But the place was awesome as I recollect it. It smelled new and clean. We got to swim in the outdoor pool and just goof off. It was great! And i remember , it was the ONLY building anywhere out there. There was nothing else in the area back then. Nothing as far as my 6 year old eyes could see. I hear now it’s all cluttered up with a shopping mall and the like.

  2. My Dad was Manager of at least 3 , The Imperial House South , North and Columbus ! We grew up in those motels, early to mid 70’s. Lots of celebrities came there during The Bogey Busters Golf Tournaments. After working for Imperial House my dad worked for The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville , and Ohio State Park Lodges. Thanks for the Post.

  3. I worked for the imperial House from 1972 through 1975. I was an assistant food and beverage manager. I started in Columbus, Indiana, then Sidney, Ohio and Canton, Ohio. At one time there were 4 I mperial Houses in Indiana. Bloomington ( this was not originally an Imperial House, ). Bloomington was only in chain for a few years. Terra Haute Indiana, Columbus, and Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne was the last original Imperial House built, I believe it was 1973 or ’74. The Fort Wayne facility still stands, and is known as Don Halls Guest House. I was there about two months ago, and it looks the same as it did in 1974.
    One thing the Imperial House in south Dayton was famous for was the Boom Boom room in the lower level. Packed 6 nights a week, live entertainment too.

    1. Hello John, not sure you will remember me. I was a performing musician that worked many Imperial Houses in the early to late 70’s. I was the drummer in two bands….Quintessence (5 piece all male band) and mostly with the Winsor Brothers. Many fond memories, I recall you from Fort Wayne, we (Windsor Brothers) were the first entertainment for the new hotel. This was 1976 (America Centennial). I met one of your relatives (George) about 10-12 years back, he would come into Carvers quite a bit. It’s a restaurant I still perform at today. I believe he moved to Florida (?). I just did a post on this site today, hopefully it will appear soon. Hope all is well with you…those were great times!

  4. In 1975, I worked as a busboy in the Kings Inn Rest. of the Arlington Arms Imperial house. It had cool English armor mounted near the front entrance. As a bell hop for the motel, I carried band leader Stan Keaton’s luggage. After going up in Newark, Ohio, these were my first jobs in Columbus. Although over 40+ years ago – I still have vivid memories about the – décor, people I worked with, menu, etc.

  5. The Imperial House in Canton, Ohio, was adjacent to the intersection of I-77 and Everhard Road. Although the main property has been razed to the ground, one building remains as a hotel, now under the banner of America’s Best Value Inn and Suites Extended Stay. I believe the property retired its Imperial House identity in 1982, becoming the Parke Hotel.

  6. I have recently found a $1.00 coin from one of the Imperial House Motels. This article was nice to find as I was searching for the origin of the coin.

  7. My Dad was head of security for the Dayton locations, North & South in the 1970s. He’s a retired deputy sheriff & worked the Imperial House job on the side. He’s now 92 yrs of age. There was a Mr. Kelly, who ran the Imperial House chain, and was a former NFL player. The Troy, Ohio location on I-75 , had a restaurant inside, called “Helen of Troy”. That location, I believe later became a Days Inn, and burned down in about 1996 in a major structure fire caused by a roofing crew.

      1. I’ll ask him. Al Heeter was the manager at IH- North when my Dad worked there, which was from the early 70s to about 1980. I worked for Mr. Heeter at Holiday Inn Dayton Northwest during high school, in the early 80s, which was in Englewood. He had become assistant hotel mgr. there after leaving IH. Found out that Mr. Heeter passed away in Florida this past summer.

      2. He does remember him and said he was a good man. Dad said he thinks one of his sons worked there also, possibly at the front desk. Dad said one night there was a smell of smoke in the bldg. at IH South, and that he & the front desk clerk tracked it down to a cigarette that had burned down thru a couch at the end of a hallway. He said it was the young man/front desk clerk that finally located it. The place was full of VIP’s and it would’ve been a mess if they would’ve had to evacuate the bldg.

    1. great story about the couch on fire , I think it was my brother Leroy Jr. or Larry worked front desk at night. few weeks ago I got a Imperial house Ice scraper on ebay. Tell your Dad thanks

      1. I’ll do that. His memory is not the greatest anymore as he is almost 92, but usually things associated with his police work & security work, he remembers pretty well. Was helping Mom go thru some things in a closet a couple years ago & found something from Imperial House and it said “Where every guest is King”…and it reminded me of the times we would occasionally stay the night there while Dad was working. Take care.

      2. Mr. Arnold, I was going through some items from a relative who passed and found a room key from Room 337 complete with key fob.
        If you would like it I would be happy to mail it to you, no charge!

  8. I also worked at the Imperial House in Canton Ohio from 1980 to when it closed in Nov 1994. The following year it was torn down. The Imperial House Motels were sold one by one in the early eighties when renovations were needed and Mr. Apple’s bunch no longer wanted to put money back into them. The one in Canton became another small chain called the Parke Hotels, I was lucky to start here out of High School and had a lot of good stories. The people I worked with are all in my memories. Mary Jane B, Joyce B and Cheryl B, Mr. C.Mrs C, Mr B, Cindy Z, Anna H, Gary W, Preston B,Mark S, Bill M, Joe J, Bill and Diane P. Carl M., Don Z, Steve D, Audrey R, Howard, Mary Lou, Tammy M., Diane W., Stan F.,Bob B.,George H.,Derek W.,Lori K.,Patty G.,Maggie F.,Carol, Jim P., Jerry S.,Shawn W.,Marcia B., We all worked hard but being in the hospitality field can be fun too.

  9. I recall the Imperial House Hotels very fondly from the early 70’s thru the late 70’s. I was a traveling musician and performed at Imperial Houses among other major hotel chains throughout the country, I worked many Imperial Houses in the Ohio and Indiana area (Findlay, Canton, Columbus, Dayton South, Columbus, IN, Fort Wayne, IN). At that period, these were a well-managed and maintained hotel, food and entertainment venue for both travelers and local community. I recall a special side table salad called the ‘spinning salad’ that was later carried onto Moraine Country Club in Dayton, Ohio by an ex Imperial House manager Mr. Gounaris. I played in two bands over my 5 years as a professional traveling musician…. Quintessence and The Windsor Brothers. I sure miss those days…there is something to be said about the saying “the good old days”…they were very good for me!

  10. Reb, I do remember you. However I never worked at Ft Wayne, just Columbus Indiana, Sidney Oh and Canton. I spent most of my tenure at Canton. I do remember the Windsor Brothers. They were my favorite group. You played drums, Eddie Williams played lead and sang, and Van played base. A few years back someone told me that Eddie passed away. I am not sure if that is true. I also heard Van moved back to North or South Carolina. I think your booking agent was Jimmy May? Is that correct.
    Imperial House Canton was some of the best parts of my life. I worked with great people, and every night was a party. Mr Ed Ballmer was the manager, and he and I got along great.
    You are right about my relative George. He is my younger brother. He told me he met you.
    I think you even know another musician in Dayton and friend of mine, Craig Surace.
    If you would like to contact me do so at Johngkaras@aol.com

    1. Thanks for your reply John. Yes the Fort Wayne was managed by a fellow named Sandy. I remember you more from Canton. I lost contact with Eddie and Van. I last saw Eddie in Columbus Indiana around 1988. He was painting houses and playing weekends with just his guitar and bass pedals. I assumed he passed, his health was failing. Van if still with us would now be 80 yo. After doing music for 5 years, I was tired of hotel living even though I loved the playing aspect. Sold graphic artist materials for a decade, then worked for BellSouth (later AT&T ). All along playing 51 weekends a year locally. Now retire and teach private drum lessons and play 2 to 3 Saturday’s a month at Carvers restuarant.Glad you are well…those Imperial House days were great times and would do it all over again if we could turn the calander back. Take care and tell George I said hello. Reb Bilinski http://www.rebbilinski.com

  11. Reb, I do remember you. However I never worked at Ft Wayne, just Columbus Indiana, Sidney Oh and Canton. I spent most of my tenure at Canton. I do remember the Windsor Brothers. They were my favorite group. You played drums, Eddie Williams played lead and sang, and Van played base. A few years back someone told me that Eddie passed away. I am not sure if that is true. I also heard Van moved back to North or South Carolina. I think your booking agent was Jimmy May? Is that correct.
    Imperial House Canton was some of the best parts of my life. I worked with great people, and every night was a party. Mr Ed Ballmer was the manager, and he and I got along great.
    You are right about my relative George. He is my younger brother. He told me he met you.
    I think you even know another musician in Dayton and friend of mine, Craig Surace.
    If you would like to contact me do so at Johngkaras@aol.com

  12. I worked as a night auditor the Kentucky Inn in Lexington, Ky in 1987 and it was owned by St. Joseph’s Hospital across the street. Families of patients got a special rate and hospital security would respond if we needed them. One unfortunate night the psychiatric ward had no bed for an extremely paranoid man, so they took his gun away and gave him a room at our Inn, where I had to deal with him all night as he pestered me with phone calls, wanting me to check up on him constantly. He was on the news the next day when the police had to come get him out of there.

  13. I worked at the Imperial House Motel in Fort Wayne from its opening in 1974 until it was sold around 1982 to the local Hall’s Restaurant group and was renamed Don Hall’s Guesthouse and it operated up to this year. Unfortunately, the current pandemic forced its closure in March. I worked for the Guesthouse up until 1996 and can attest to the quality of that property as well. I also remember an Imperial House Motel located in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    1. Colin, the band I played in opened the Fort Wayne hotel the first month (The Winsor Brothers). I recall meeting and sitting on a break with comedian Rodney Dangerfield and his better half one evening in the lounge. Great hotel it was indeed!

  14. Hi everyone, It has been great to hear all of your information. There are/were three equal owners to Imperial House. Bill Apple, Paul Moody & Ralph Woodley. Bill Apple was always the front man. His ego was bigger than life and he wanted to be known at the “Owner”….he only owned 1/3. My name is Ric Moody, son of Paul Moody. I grew up in the business. I can tell you more stories than you would ever want to know….lol. The reason they all closed is because the motel business went to the “Limited Service” model. No banquet space, smaller rooms, small restaurants, usually small pools if any. The business model changed. The big competition back then was the large Holiday Inns. Those are all gone also. Now is is 4 story properties with very limited services and very small rooms. I would love to answer any questions you may have about the history. Thanks, Ric Moody RicMoody1@Gmail.com

    1. Good info. The only owner I ever knew of and met “once” was Apple. I played music in many of the lounges (Columbus, Ohio and Indiana, Fort Wayne, Canton, Findlay and Dayton South Boom Boom Room).

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