121 E 4th St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
Seen from miles away, Pittsburg’s skyline has been defined by this 12 story Late Gothic Revival architectural ornament building since 1926.
Always surrounded by buildings that have averaged four stories, the construction of the Hotel Besse was funded without any outside assistance, and it opened on June 14, 1927, intending to “stand as a monument to the civic pride of Pittsburg”. According to the Pittsburg Sun in 1925, during its construction, “an individual, apparently attempting to measure into the sky the height of the new structure, said yesterday as he gazed skyward: ‘Gosh, a feller is liable to sunburn his tonsils trying’ to see the top o’ that place when they get it done.'”
In addition to the grand ballroom, private dining rooms, and hotel rooms, commercial tenants on the ground floor over the years included a coffee shop, cigar stand, beauty shop, a radio station, and various offices, including the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce.
The Besse Hotel closed to visitors in 1979, and was renamed the Besse Apartments in 1980. By 2006, few tenants remained and after three arson fires, the remaining tenants were ordered to vacate the building. The Besse Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, and is once again undergoing renovations for future use.