Sleeping Room


In 1941, radical change came to Pulaski County and the Tourist Hotel, as the Old Stagecoach Stop came to be known in the previous decade. Private property acquisition began in November of 1940 and construction of the 75,00- acre Fort Leonard Wood began in January of 1941. It displaced 304 families by the end of the year. More than 32,000 construction workers (just a few of which are pictured above) poured into the rural Ozark hills to build the military training center. Rental accommodations of all types were overwhelmed.
Dr. Titterington sold the hotel to A. S. and Lulu McNeese early in 1941. The McNeeses had experience as hoteliers. Like many others, they were drawn to the boom in Waynesville. Today the room has only one bed but during WWII there were three. Each bed rented for $1.00 a day. Construction at the fort was going on around the clock. Each bed was rented out three times a day.

A guest may have arrived with a change of clothes in a cardboard suitcase. Two Life magazines provide a little leisure reading material. All are laying on a gateleg table at the foot of the bed which is covered with a chenille bedspread and quilt. The floor is covered with battleship linoleum which does not reach wall-to-wall. The floor around the edges is painted. The original border was black and orange interlocking trianglesr. The interior walls are tongue-and-groove six-inch beadboard.

On the dresser is a pitcher and bowl for hand and face washing, along with a straight razor, shaving soap mug, and brush. There is hair pomade for that slicked-back look. A razor strop is on the wall. On the floor is a metal slop jar. Waynesville did not yet have city water or sewer so no indoor plumbing.

Below is a carpenter's wooden toolbox, tools, and hardhat. A room might have a radio or this old wind-up Victrola. If not too tired on a Sunday after a six-day work week, a suit, galluses, and shoes are at the ready.At right is a King Heater. The thin sheet metal heaters were inexpensive ($10) and glowed red hot when stoked full. They burned out in a season or two and were discarded. We looked for several years before finding one.