|The Raymore Hotel, 1911. Source|
On an April day in 1908, Archibald G. MacLean set out on a long walk. MacLean had arrived from
|Archie MacLean and family|
|The lobby of the Raymore Hotel, 1913. Source: Raymore local history book, 1979.|
|The Raymore Hotel's bar, 1913. Source: Raymore local history book, 1979.|
By 1916, according to the Canada census, William “Bill” Baker, age 55, and his wife Ida, age 48, were the owners of the Raymore Hotel. The Bakers ran the hotel with the help of two Chinese cooks, a waitress and a porter. Dances and fancy dress parades were held in the hotel, presided over by Bill Baker, smoking an ever-present cigar.
|Raymore, c. 1920. Source|
In 1935, the year the provincial government allowed the sale of beer by the glass in hotel bars, Mah Yuen and Ping Sam were unable to obtain a license to open a beer parlour at the Raymore Hotel. Chinese people were excluded because the law required that an applicant for a liquor license had to be a person who was entitled to vote. The Chinese in Saskatchewan did not receive the provincial franchise until 1947.
The Raymore Hotel was taken over by John “Jack” and Vivian “Vi” Morrow, formerly of Yorkton. “Raymore welcomes the new manager at the same time that they regret the departure of the genial Chinese gentlemen who for 16 years have been consistently good citizens of the village,” the newspaper reported.
|From Prairie Wool to Golden Grain: Raymore and District, 1904-1979.|
Shortly after Jack and Vi Morrow arrived in Raymore, they applied for a liquor license for the hotel. A local option vote was required by government liquor regulations, and the town vote was affirmative – by a narrow margin. A beer parlour was incorporated into the Raymore Hotel. Vi was never able to enter, or work in, the beer parlour until the 1960s, when provincial liquor laws finally permitted women to drink in bars – with escorts.
In 1937, a severe hail and wind storm tore the metal roofing off the Raymore Hotel, hurling it across Main Street. Heavy rain soaked the hotel rooms on the third floor, seriously damaging the interior which had recently been redecorated.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Morrows faced a new challenge at the Raymore Hotel. So many people left to join the war effort that it became impossible to find employees. Jack became the bartender and Vi became the cook. Their two oldest children, Jack Jr. and Imelda were enlisted to wait on tables, make beds, do the laundry twice a week, and myriad other chores. The youngest Morrow child, Bobby, had to stand on soft drink cases and wash dishes in the hotel kitchen. The family still managed to hold regular Saturday night dances at the hotel throughout the war years. These dances came to an end following the war, when the beer parlour was expanded due to an increase in business.
|Raymore in the 1950s. H.D. McPhail photographer. Source|