This past weekend we celebrated Valentine’s Day with loved ones, so it’s only fitting to discuss the people and relationships brought together by the Western Hotel.
George and Myrtie Webber:
George Webber met Myrtle “Myrtie” Gibson Sullivan in 1908 when Myrtie took a train from Los Angeles to the Western Hotel in hopes that the arid desert environment would aid her respiratory infection. George was the sole owner and proprietor of the hotel at the time and took care of Myrtie while she was bedridden for two weeks due to the violent pleurisy attack. Once she recovered, George offered Myrtie an opportunity at the hotel as a manager and cook. The two married in 1910 and remained married until George died in 1934 at the age of seventy-seven.
George and Olga Lane:
Another Western Hotel romance developed when Myrtie brought together George Lane and Olga Straubinger. George was a freight driver with a twenty-mule team in Lancaster and often stayed at the Western, while health reasons brought Olga into town. On one trip, Myrtie told George about young Olga but he said he didn’t have time to meet her. However, once he caught sight of Olga, George decided to extend his stay for a few more days. The couple married soon after as a result of Myrtie’s matchmaking and had their son, Frank, who was delivered by a local nurse, Mom Evert (pictured below with Jane Reynolds).
As a way of giving back to the community, George donated land to create Lane Park and Lane Ranch, which still exist today.
Maurice James and Jane Reynolds:
Jane Porter moved to the U.S. from Ireland in 1864. Around 1895, she got a job as a cook at the Western Hotel where she met her husband Maurice James Reynolds. Maurice was living at the hotel while he worked as a well-driller and the couple married in January 1897. After their marriage, they went on to purchase land in Lancaster and have four children: John, Nellie, Flora, and Maurice James Jr.
At fifty-five, Maurice retired due to health reasons and died accidentally in 1916, when his shotgun discharged. He was held in the highest esteem by all and was regarded as one of the Antelope Valley’s substantial businessmen and empire-builders. Jane Reynolds later donated some of their lands because she felt sorry for the children who had no place to play when their families came to town for supplies. Jane died In 1949 at age eighty-three; at the time of her death, she had eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Photos courtesy of MOAH’s Permanent Collection