John Meneghello

John Meneghello

The story of Stewart would not be complete without mention of the hardest working pioneer in Stewart, John Meneghello, one of it's Italian citizens, who, in the 1920's, purchased the old Empress Hotel.

Built by Alvo von Alvensleben, the famous German financier, in 1910, it's foundations were weak and John replaced them with 30-foot-long, 8x18-inch stringers from an abandoned railway trestle.

Once these were hauled to the site by Wakefield's fine horses, John, using jacks and his own bull strength, removed the original timbers and installed the new ones, without help.

For weeks, no one seemed to see him, as he was underneath the hotel. He would come up on Sundays for air and a bottle of Chianti.

He worked for months before finally opening the "North Star Hall" which then accommodated those special events such as Dominion Day, Labor Day, and New Year's dances.

John may have hollered like a bull, but he was a big asset to the town, with a heart as large as himself.

Although a heavy man, John was one of the lightest and best waltzers on the floor, as well as one of the best people you could meet.


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