Madison Gates Purviance
Lovelock, Nevada - Part 3

For the Purviances, it was time to move on from the hay fields of Paradise.

Both parents may have wanted a closer location to Reno, without moving to Reno, because Louise wanted to remain close to her family and friends who lived in Humboldt County. Madison may have wanted a job that was less phyical in nature. Both may have wanted a life in a bigger town than Paradise.

Paradise was growing, but maybe at a slower pace then they hoped. Plus living at a lower elevation would make the winters milder, with less snow. Many things may have played a role in the move, but it was Madison Purviance who did the scouting and found the perfect place to move to...

a town on the verge of was becoming a trade center in northern Nevada.

Madison Gates Purviance
The first telling of the story of Edna Purviance’s father
Research by Linda Wada © - July 2003-2016

Part Three - Madison's Lovelock Years
The Singer Hotel
Purviance Family Lovelock Home

"liveliest town I have struck"
Madison Gates Purviance
fall 1898
This is the‘liveliest town I have struck’, he told the reporter of the Lovelock Tribune. Madison’s name appeared in the early 1898 October edition of the weekly paper. His name was already known in Humboldt County, partly due to his position as Constable in Paradise.

Bessie started school in Reno in mid-September, so it appears that Madison accompanied Bessie to Reno. By the end of September on his return trip to Paradise, Madison Purviance made a stop in Lovelock apparently looking for a new place to live.

Lovelock, Nevada, was located 110 miles northeast of Reno, and the famed Transcontinental rail line ran right through the middle of town. The town was created by the Central Railroad from an 80-acre land donation from Lovelock’s namesake, George Lovelock to Charles Crocker. Crocker, who hailed from San Francisco, was in charge of building the railroad across Nevada in the late 1860’s.

Situated with mountains to the west and east in northwest Nevada, this long valley is where the Humboldt River disappears into the soil creating the area known as The Big Meadow. It is The Big Meadow where folks on the California Trail would pause for a couple of days to rest before heading across the dreaded Forty Mile Desert. In time, people took notice of the unique desert valley and begin settling in the lush grassland instead of crossing the desert. Many of these early settlers would be friends of the Purviances in the coming years and play important roles in their lives in Lovelock.

In those days, Lovelock had the air of promise of some day being a big city, and Purviance, along with many others, wanted to be there when it happened.

Lovelock 1910
The dark-color building on the corner was the hotel. The buildings just to the left of the hotel did not exist in 1898.
Lovelock, Nevada 1910 - Pershing County Collection

One has to wonder if Purviance, while walking the streets of Lovelock, noticed a hotel building about one block south from the Lovelock train depot along the main train tracks. It apparently was empty at the time he was in Lovelock according to the newspaper reports.

What Purviance first intended to do in Lovelock is not clear, but looking back, if he was true to his history running a saloon again surely must have crossed his mind. He had a successful one in Hailey, Idaho, and Lovelock was on the verge of being a bustling town.

If Purviance had looked into that vacant building along Railroad Street, he would have found out it was not only a hotel building with 20 rooms but also included a small bar and a cafe.

In reading the newspapers of 1898, this business apparently was not being run at the time Madison was in Lovelock, and the building was up for lease.  A man name D.H. Miller was the last lessee of the business, according to the newspaper ads.  His ads ended in July of 1898.

Misspelled name again, but M.G. would quickly correct this. Lovelock Tribune - December 3, 1898
Madison returned to Paradise and the family made the decision that fall.

In late November of 1898, Madison, Louise and their two girls, Myrtle and Edna moved to Lovelock. (Bessie was attending Reno University.)

Madison already seemed to be in Lovelock, and was staying at the Young’s Hotel. Louise and most likely her daughter Edna were listed staying at The Big Meadow Hotel, when they first arrived in late November. The family settled in a rental house for the month of December.

Bessie returned by train to Lovelock from Reno to spend Christmas with the family at the rental home. The conversation around the table that Christmas was certainly centered around the future plans of the family. It is easy to imagine when Bessie returned to Reno, she knew the plans her family had for Lovelock.

The First Singer Hotel ad by Madison Purviance
Lovelock Tribune - February 4th, 1899

In my research so far, this was the Singer Hotel building as it looked in early 1906. It was called Central Lodging and Saloon with the Club Cafe. The name changed to Club Saloon later in 1906. Robert Nurnberger, Edna’s stepfather, remodeled the building in September of 1907. This photo is highly likely what the Singer Hotel looked like when Madison first occupied the business.
Photo courtesy of Marzen Museum.

Singer Hotel
The Purviance’s Lovelock Home

In mid-January, Madison announced he was the new proprietor of the Singer Hotel, a longtime local landmark along Railroad Street.

The newspaper reported Purviance remodeled the hotel property and furnished it with new beds, and anything else it needed. He also created the living quarters in the hotel for his family.

The Singer Hotel was owned by native Frenchman George Singer and his native German wife Elizabeth. There is a bit of confusion as to when and if George Singer ever ran the hotel. The court records only show Mr. Singer as owner.

A newspaper article in the early 1900’s said that Singer never ran the hotel, while another article in the 1880’s reports that the hotel was build by George Singer in 1884.

I have found in my research so far the hotel was not known as the Singer Hotel until 1890’s. The place was called The Adobe Hotel when it first opened on George Singer's property.

'Singer Hotel was owned by native Frenchman George Singer'
I did find an interesting item in the court records that shows the first time it was officially referred to as the Singer Hotel was when J.J. Campbell was proprietor of the Hotel in the early 1890’s. He even was paying the taxes on the property. Exactly what year it became known as The Singer Hotel, I’m still researching.

On a sub-freezing February morning in 1899, the first ad for the Singer Hotel managed by M.G. Purviance appeared in the local Lovelock Tribune.

The Purviances were ready for the Lovelock boom to began!

Managing the Singer Hotel

During the time the Purviances owned the Singer hotel, the cafe was always sub-leased to another party to operate for hotel guests and the public.

As for the bar, Madison ran it himself in the early years, just like he did in Hailey, Idaho. This was not a large bar, but a very small place with only a couple of tables. It was in a small room in the front of the building facing Railroad street. They mainly served the guests of the hotel, but the public was welcome.

'Louise's health was not always the best'
Louise Purviance was an active manager of the hotel. It is true she may have done her share of cleaning rooms and washing sheets, especially in the early years. But over the years, she apparently would send out such jobs like washing and hire others for house cleaning.

One reason for sending the laundry out was the fact she lost her wash house in 1907 due to leasing the property on lot 1 where the wash house was located. There were laundries in town that could do the work for a fair price and much more efficiently.

With no wash house, it would have been impossible to do proper laundry washing and drying year around. She could manage that task for her family, but for an active hotel, she simply did not have the space.

It is also highly probable she even hired a maid to do some of the heavier housework required over the years. There were always plenty of people looking for work and Louise was always willing to give work to others who needed it.

I have found in the years Louise had the business, that she would spend blocks of time away from the business on family visits and for personal health reasons. (Louise's health was not always the best at times.)

'Myrtle and Bessie were living their own lives'
Plus, Louise's daughters Myrtle and Bessie were living their own lives during most of the years the family lived in Lovelock. Over time, Louise also made the decision to rent the rooms for longer terms, with only light housekeeping available, to reduce the workload.

When Louise wasn’t managing the hotel, she was spending time with her daughters, especially her youngest, Edna. With Bessie gone most of the time, and Myrtle nearly out of school, Edna got most of Louise’s attention during the Lovelock years.

Mrs. Ladd was not the first or the last to lease the cafe.
Many people ran it over the years.
Lovelock Tribune - April 15, 1899

John Millen took over in May and would do lots of remodeling of the kitchen. He even built a nice stone oven to create homebaked breads and desserts for his customers.
Lovelock Tribune - May 27, 1899

M.G.'s Hailey days pay off. He managed the bar at the Singer Hotel from the first day it opened for business.
Lovelock Tribune - November 4, 1899

Fourth of July 1899 - Louise and Bessie impressed!
Lovelock Tribune - July 8, 1899

William Purviance returns home after a long month visit.
Lovelock Tribune - August 12, 1899

In August, George Singer sells the Singer Hotel to
longtime resident Mrs. Catherine Bastian.
Lovelock Tribune - August 12, 1899

Bessie, Mytle and little Edna, help their mother serve ice cream on Sunday afternoons.Lovelock Tribune - August 12, 1899

M.G. entertains at the Singer Hotel. The last line reads 'he also has a soap lather that disappears right in front of your eyes'.
Lovelock Tribune - October 28, 1899

M.G. Purviance took his option and purchased the Singer Hotel
Lovelock Tribune - December 16, 1899

The Singer - Successful Business

As for Madison, he worked hard to make his new business successful. He made many improvements to the hotel and ran weekly ads in the Lovelock Tribune for both the hotel and bar.

He also got to entertain his relatives at the hotel. His niece from Idaho paid a visit in May of 1899. Later Madison's brother William Purviance stayed at the hotel over a month during the summer of 1899.

The whole family enjoyed the Purviance’s first 4th of July in Lovelock. On that day, William and Madison got to hear Louise and Bessie singing at events at that special occasion.

In early August, as William boarded a train and said his good-byes, the real owner of the Singer Hotel was ready to say his farewell!

'Mr. Singer was having a personal crisis'
In August of 1899, George Singer was having a personal crisis. His wife Elizabeth, was seriously ill. She had been in bad health since December of 1898. Singer apparently was looking for more money for medical costs and to lessen his tax burden.

In a decision that had to be made, Singer sold his hotel property to Mrs. Catherine Bastian for the sum of $1650. If Madison was thinking of buying, he apparently did not have the funds to do so. Madison continued to lease the property from Bastian for $30 per month.

The family seemed to enjoy the life they had created in Lovelock. Madison reported doing good business at the Singer Hotel and Bar. They were not only entertaining their own families and guest, but many people from their church and business community.

On Sunday afternoons Louise and the girls held ice cream socials at the hotel. Fresh homemade ice cream was served with something special added, like fresh strawberries for the asking!

Even little four year old Edna was involved in helping her mother serve ice cream to the guests. And it would be likely you would see a magic show while enjoying your ice cream.

Madison loved to talk and entertain, and performing magic was one of his specialties. A Lovelock reporter was at one of these shows and reported it was a real wonder how M.G. could make soap suds or a simple coin disappear and reappear before their eyes!

In December of 1899, the Lovelock Tribune had more than magic to report from M.G. Purviance. M.G. was about to become the owner of ‘the show room’ where he gave his magic shows.

'M.G. brought the Singer Hotel for $1650'

Announced in the mid-December issue of the Tribune, M.G. brought the Singer Hotel for the same $1650 from Catherine Bastian. Madison had an option to buy with the original lease with George Singer.

Madison reported he could never get the hotel for a lower sum and he was correct. A single bare lot would sell for $1500 in the years to come. For this deal, Purviance was getting three city lots with a hotel business.

The Singer Hotel property was made up of
three City Lots in City Block 14 in Lovelock:

Lot 18 - a 25 x 130 foot deep corner lot facing east on Railroad street where the main hotel was on.

Lot 1 - a 50 x 130 foot deep corner pacel facing west on C Street, (which had a few small outbuildings, including a wash house and corrals)

And Lot 2 - right next to Lot 1, another 50 x 130 foot deep parcel also facing west on C Street.

Lot 2 was listed as not having building on it at the time of purchase.

Madison was now the proud owner of the Singer Hotel and Bar, and it was time to celebrate!

The Party before...

On New Year’s Eve 1899, the Lovelock Annual Mask Ball was in full swing. The party always started at 9 p.m., with a special dinner after midnight. Music and dance would fill the night until the break of dawn. Nearly everyone in town attended.

Mask balls were a favorite through out the west, for I found Louise and her family attending them nearly everywhere they lived. But if Madison attended many of these parties, he was rarely mentioned in the society pages.

At the ball, everyone was to remain fully masked to around midnight. When the masks were finally removed, and if you hadn’t guessed, you would finally find out the identity of your dance partner. Prizes were awarded to the best costumes in individual and group categories. Purviance family members won a few of these contests over the years, including Edna.

The Lovelock New Years Eve Ball 1899 -1900. Bessie Purviance played the piano for the evening event. Mytle Purviance dressed as a Domino and her father M.G. Purviance as a Manilla Soldier. Lovelock Tribune - January 6, 1900

On this night, Madison was certainly in a party mood, for he dressed as a Manila soldier for the ball. His inspiration was sparked by the fact Nevada Troops were fighting in Manila at the time to stop the blockade of the sale of hemp to the United States. Hemp was a very popular rope making material in the U.S.

But having his 'civil war' brother in town for a full month also fed the desire to play soldier.

All the members of the family except Edna were reported attending this New Year Eve's event. Bessie Purviance was not only there, she and two other Lovelock gentlemen provided the music to greet the new year 1900.

Bessie did not return to Reno in the fall of 1899. College life did
not agree with her, she commented to the local Lovelock newspaper earlier in the year. She had a strong dislike for the co-ed room arrangements at Reno. With all the excitement of getting to know her family's new town and the friends she was quickly making, college would wait for later.

So, if the family made the move to Lovelock for Bessie's college education, she only lived out her part of the deal for 10 months. She stayed in Lovelock for the next two years, living with her family and taking several trips out of town to visit friends and family. In Lovelock, she continued to be very active in attending and entertaining at many social events with her singing and piano playing. These same years would be Louise's and Bessie's most active years as a singing team in Lovelock.

Yes! Life appeared to be very good for the Purviances. And at this Mask Ball the family did celebrate! The Purviances were successful owners of the Singer Hotel, and like in the other towns where they had lived, they knew all the important people! The party would last well into the new year, but parties don't last forever.

As celebration faded, it gave away to a much more serious tone which would start in 1900. And the Purviance’s marriage would be a casualty in the years to follow.

Continue: Part Four - The Contact with The Singer Hotel

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All other content Copyright 2003-2016 - Edna Purviance, Research Collection
including photos and newspaper articles from public and private collections.
Linda Wada, WadaWorks, All Rights Reserved

Special thanks to the official county offices and libraries from Humboldt, Perishing and Butte County.
Letter from Edna to Chaplin - David Robinson's book Chaplin: His Life and Art