The McNeese Building


In December of 1940, the land acquisition and construction of Fort Leonard Wood began. It transformed the tranquil Ozark mountain village of Waynesville, population less than 400, into a bustling town of thousands within a few months. The Tourist Hotel (Old Stagecoach Stop), along with Waynesville's other three hostelries (the Baker, Pulaski, and Bell hotels) were overflowing. The owner of the Tourist Hotel, dentist James Titterington, did not want to operate such a busy place and sold the building in 1941 to Albert Spencer and Lulu McNeese (right).

Demand for rooms was great during World War II. The McNeeses did not want to take space from the hotel to serve meals so they built a long and narrow cafe on the north side of the building. It operated until the McNeeses sold the building in 1946. It then became a shoe shop until 1980. When the Foundation bought the building in 1983 and restored the exterior, it was razed.
The Tourist Hotel was crowded, there were several cabins on the lot in back of the hotel, and none had any plumbing. Water was drawn from a well. A. S. McNeese built a brick building in 1942 with two rental rooms. On each end of the building, he built bathrooms with toilets and showers. Guests from the brick building, cabins, and the hotel used the facilities. He did not add plumbing and city water to the Old Stagecoach Stop.
When the Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation was formed in 1983 and bought the condemned building, the purchase did not include the lot to the rear on which the brick building stood. It had always been a goal of the Foundation to acquire the rest of property. Finally, in 2003 the back lot was purchased. As the interior of the OSS was restored, storage space shrank. The McNeese Building immediately became useful. The building was not in the best of shape. It was overgrown with vegetation and there were leaks. One of the first remodeling projects was to restore electricity.
A new roof, including sheathing and shingles, was installed in 2019. The exterior trim was painted. The east room was remodeled. The cracked and stained acoustic tile was replaced with beadboard and the room painted. Shelves for the Foundation's records were built and a long table with chairs for the nine board members occupy the center of the room. The Board began meeting in the refurbished room in January of 2020.