The Neil House, through several incarnations by virtue of its location across the street from the Ohio State House, served as the hotel of the rich, famous and powerful in Columbus throughout  much of the 19th and 20th centuries. A few of the signatures in the guest book over the years: Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Theodore Roosevelt, Ellen Terry, Jenny Lind, Samuel Clemens, Carl Schurz, and Orville Wright. The original "Old Neil House" was torn down and replaced in 1862 with the building that Oscar Wilde would stay at in 1882. the illustrations below are of that building, which would stand until 1922.

It was mentioned in press accounts that Wilde was served his dinner from Beck's, which was the restaurant associated with the Neil House, run by Lawrence Beck, a man who was witness to the comings and goings there for many years. Around the time of Wilde's visit, The Bohemian noted that "Lawrence Beck never seems to get any older."

There is no Neil House in Columbus today, it coming down for good in the late 1970s. The last president to stay there was Jimmy Carter, although he was only a candidate at the time.


The site of the Neil House today.


The State House, across the street. The cupola still lacks the oft talked about but never acted-on dome, and so retains the character, in the words of the Ohio State Journal in 1882, of a "mammoth cheesebox."

Following is a letter by Pres. Warren G. Harding concerning the razing of the Neil House in 1922: