Hotel sparks fond memories for Ball

MEEKER — It has been a few years since Harold Ball has been inside the Meeker Hotel, but he has fond memories of the place.
“We used to run up and down the halls and, of course, we got scolded, but that didn’t stop us,” said Ball, who along with his brother, Keith, and his mother and father, used to live in the hotel.
Harold Ball’s grandfather, R.S. Ball, used to own the hotel.
“I am the oldest living grandson (of R.S. Ball),” said Harold, who turned 82 last month. “We came back (to Meeker) in 1933.”
Harold was 6 when his family moved from California to Meeker, so his dad could take over running the hotel after Harold’s grandfather had died.
“My dad had been out of work because, of course, that was during the Depression,” Harold said of his father, Wright. “He came back to run it for a savings corporation out of Pueblo until it could be sold, because they had a second mortgage on it.
“Then Paul Dunn bought the hotel in 1935 or ‘36 or ‘37, somewhere around there,” Harold added.
After the hotel was sold to Dunn, Harold’s father became the postmaster.
“I think I was a little over 10 when my dad became postmaster after leaving the hotel,” Harold said.
The only time Harold can remember seeing his grandfather was when he visited him in the hospital in California.
“He had cancer of the throat and he came out to California and we went to this hospital,” Harold recalled. “We went into this room and here was this big man. I was 5. That was the only time I saw him.”
Harold, who never married, worked for the state highway department from 1949 to 1982. He was head of a surveying crew. Even though he was born in Salt Lake City, and he lived in California when he was young, Meeker has been home ever since.
“I always say I was here from ’33 on,” Harold said. “I wasn’t hatched here, but both of my parents were, so I consider myself a native.”
In fact, Harold’s father was born in the original Meeker Hotel, which was a former army barrack.
Harold said the last time he set foot inside the Meeker Hotel was about three or four years ago.
“I think if my granddad knew the color, he would be twisting in his grave,” Harold said of the hotel’s blue exterior. “It had always been a pale or brick red.”