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Final chapter on Green County House
Green County House

The Green County House was again sold on June 11, 1909 by Fred and Lena Steffen to Emil Schaad, of Albany, for $8,000. Swiss immigrants Emil, 43, his wife Barbara, 39, were living in the hotel in 1910 with their daughters, Lily, 16, and Annie, 11, bartender Rudy Ousbergy, and hostler Godfrey Messerli. In addition there were 10 lodgers, half of them who were born in Switzerland. There is a photo of the building while the Schaads owned it on page 86 of the Monroe Area Pictorial History. 

The Schaads ran the business for almost five years before selling to Jacob Steffen, Fred’s younger brother, on February 25, 1914 for $1.00 plus an exchange of some other real estate. Possession took place on July 1. Steffen, who had worked for the First National Bank for five years, traded his residence on 15th Avenue as part of this deal. He planned to make some up-to-date improvements so he could “conduct a first class hotel.”

Jacob Steffen had a formal opening of his new lunch room and cafe four years later on Thursday evening, July 4. The new dining rooms had been remodeled and equipped in an up-to-date fashion. The lunch room, which accommodated 30, had a mahogany finish. The table and lunch counter tops were made of Carrara glass. The dining room would seat 25. Meals were served at all hours.

More than 300 orders were accommodated the evening of the opening of the Green County Annex, located next to the office in the south end of the hotel. The rooms were decorated with the national colors and flowers. Ray T. Bast’s orchestra played during the early part of that evening.

An ad in the Monroe Evening Times on August 17, 1918 shared that there was to be a special Sunday dinner from 12:00 to 3:00 at the Annex. The menu listed chicken celery soup, stewed chicken ($0.60), prime roast beef ($0.50), roast spring chicken ($0.75), mashed potatoes or creamed potatoes, creamed peas, escalloped corn or corn on the cob, choice of pies, coffee, tea, milk.

An ad the previous day in the Argyle Atlas stated that they served regular meals during meal hours and short orders at all hours in the Green County Annex. There was “25 feet of lunch counter” and a private room for the ladies. The hotel was operated on the “European Plan.” [The European plan means that only the stay is included in the rates and one would have to pay extra for using the dining facilities at the hotel.] Fair visitors were especially invited.

Steffen took out a large advertisement in the July 2, 1919 issue of the Monroe Evening Times. It said, “Friday, July Fourth, marks the first anniversary of the opening of our new cafe. Reflecting on our first year’s business we are much gratified by its results. The confidence and good will of our friends, with our endeavor to please, has brought our business up to the present standard.

“We are about to install a new refrigerating system which will be your guarantee that fresh, crisp food will be available at this place at all times.

“Considerable confusion has existed in the past, strangers not being able to locate the Green County Annex after being directed. To avoid this confusion as much as possible in the future, we have decided to make a slight change in the name of our restaurant and it will hereafter be known as the Green County House Cafe.

“Thanking all our friends for their generous patronage during the past year, we offer our best wishes for their success.” 

Jacob Steffen, 34, who immigrated from Switzerland in 1904, his wife Louisa, 26, and their children, Helen, 6, and Jacob, 4, were living in the hotel in 1920. Also recorded in the 1920 census were three roomers, one who was born in Germany and two who were born in Switzerland. 

On July 14, 1920 (during Prohibition) three saloons and former bars in Monroe were raided by George Ihrig and Fred Odell, deputy federal revenue collectors, where $1,000 worth of liquor was confiscated. Frequent complaints had been registered about liquor sales; Green County House was one of the places raided. Jacob Steffen pleaded not guilty on three charges of liquor violations in September. Nothing more was found about this. The Steffens continued to operate the Green County House until they sold it to Adam and Emma Luchsinger in December 1920. A photo of the hotel with Jacob and many others was printed on the front cover of a book called Looking Back, published by The Monroe Evening Times a few decades ago.

This has been a fairly comprehensive history of the first 55 years of the building that has been located on the corner of 15th Avenue and 13th Street for almost 160 years. Much more could be shared, but that will have to be done at another time and, possibly, in another place. The Green County House has been operated for almost four decades by the Doyle family who purchased it in 1985. It was first run by Jim and Kay and now by their son, Patrick. Arthur and Eileen Spoerry and then Bill and Letta Moon were other well-known names in the history of the business.

— Matt Figi is a Monroe resident and a local historian. His column will appear periodically on Saturdays in the Times. He can be reached at or at