The Bartell House was built in 1880 on the original site of the Hale house, the P.Z. Taylor Store and the Ganz building after they burned in 1872.
The main construction of the building was brick with limestone quoins and arches. Built with a primary frontage of 90 feet on Washington Street and a secondary front of 114 feet on the north gave access to the cellar, kitchen storage and sample rooms as well as access to a private courtyard that encompassed a deep well that held the hotel's water supply.
Soon after the grand opening it became evident that the building was too small and was expanded south to the corner of 6th and Washington.
Proprietorship of the building soon passed to the father and son team of George and Fred Boone who managed the building into the 20th century.
Throughout the first 25 years, the Bartell saw heavy usage and was badly in need of an upgrade. And in 1903 through the financial assistance of Adolphus Busch, a St. Louis brewer, the building went through an extensive remodel.
The remodel included rebuilding the lobby and staircases in golden oak, and the guests now had hot and cold running water, steam heat, bathing facilities, telephone service and electric lights. The dining room was expanded and refurbished and local artist Bertram Hartman painted three large wall murals in the room.
The exterior of the building saw a complete transformation when the original veranda was replaced with portico over the entrance and large windows replaced the Italianate characteristics on the main floor.
Through new ownership of Frank and Clara Coryell during World War I, another renovation occurred which added a coffee shop and golden oak telephone booths in the lobby and the third floor was expanded taking the room count to more than 100. After Frank died suddenly in 1922, the Bartell was sold again but later came back to Clara in 1938 when she did another complete remodel of the building, but this time one room at a time. The dining room and kitchen were also remodeled at that time with the latest models of iceboxes, ranges and tables. This move unknowingly prepared the Bartell for the influx of celebrities, from all walks of life, that would soon be visiting the hotel during World War II.
Frank and Margaret Lloyd became the new owners of the Bartell in the 1940s but later sold to the Lamar Hotel chain who operated the building under that name until it was purchased in auction in the late 1970s. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
After sitting empty for 25 years, renovation occurred in 2006 and reopened in 2007.