382. Nov. 29, 1995 - Falconer House lodged Rossville visitors: (First located on south side of Main Street at the river; later at southwest corner of Main and South D streets.)
Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 1995
Falconer House on Main Street was Rossville's first notable hotel
By Jim Blount
The first notable hotel in Rossville was the Falconer House. It was one of more than a score of inns, taverns and hotels that once offered overnight lodging to travelers on the west side of the Great Miami River.
The Falconer House was named for its owners, Isaac and Nancy Falconer, who moved their family from Pennsylvania to Ohio by flatboat in 1812.
They rented an existing hotel, built about 1805 or 1806, on the south side of Main Street beside the Great Miami River. Most of their guests arrived on horseback, in horse-drawn wagons or by flatboat on the river. Later, some came via stagecoach.
Until 1816, Falconer operated both the hotel -- described as "a tavern in a hewed-log house" -- and the lower river ferry, one of two connecting Rossville and Hamilton.
That year he built a new two-story frame Falconer House at the southwest corner of Main and South B streets. It also housed his family, which eventually included six children. Falconer operated the hotel on and off until he turned it over to a son in 1838, two years before the father's death at age 60.
The hotel was just one of Isaac Falconer's ventures. In addition to the ferry, he also briefly operated a saw mill, and for several years was a cabinetmaker, most of the time in partnership with Thomas Enyeart.
The 1882 county history said Falconer "was among the first to build flatboats on the Miami, and for many years carried on an extensive trade down the Ohio and Mississippi. He made several trips to New Orleans, the last one being in 1827, with a load of furniture of his own manufacture."
"Mr. Falconer's New Orleans business put him in a position to barter with his patrons," noted Mrs. Alta Harvey Heiser in Hamilton in the Making. "His ferry had not been run on a cash basis, and when he gave it up he wanted his money. He was willing to take corn or wheat -- if a price could be agreed upon," she said of Falconer.
He became one of the first stockholders in the Miami Bridge, which eventually replaced the ferry. That bridge stood on the approximate site of the present High-Main Street Bridge.
The native of Washington County, Pa., had been drafted in 1814 for military service against the British in the War of 1812. The war ended before he could become involved, and he returned home and was captain of a local military company.
One son, Cyrus Falconer, became a prominent Hamilton surgeon. A second son, John Hall Falconer, was a tailor and operated the Falconer House for several years and was involved in arranging the merger of Hamilton and Rossville before moving to Illinois. Louise, a daughter of Isaac Falconer, married John G. Deshler, a Columbus banker.
Regarding the hotel, historian Frederick Cone said Isaac Falconer "sold out to Antony Hummel," who was later succeeded by John Falconer. Mrs. Heiser wrote that "Humphrey Dillon kept the Falconer House, calling it the Franklin House, prior to 1836, when Mr. Falconer took back his former stand."
John Hall Falconer, the son of the hotel's founder, "was a large, portly man of jovial and genial disposition," said Dr. Henry Mallory. "He had a poetic nature, was a fine reader, could quote Shakespeare for hours, and was eminently fitted for the stage in either tragedy or comedy." Mallory said Falconer's hotel "was a resort for both old and young."
"The last one who used the building for hotel purposes was Captain F. E. Humbach," said Cone. "In the fifties, Wilson H. Doty opened a fine restaurant in the lower rooms, now (1896) occupied by Dr. W. H. Miller as a drug store, and Chris Kaefer as a barber shop," Cone said.