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Kensington Building (copy)

On Thursday, Sept. 12, The Kensington Senior Living Community celebrated 30 years in the historic Paddock Hotel. The hotel has been many things over the years, including a bank, billiard room, barber shop, coffee shop and beauty parlor.

A hotel, a bank and a beauty parlor. A location for photos before school dances and receptions after beautiful weddings.

The historic Paddock Hotel building at 105 N. Sixth St. has been numerous things for the Beatrice community, but for the past 30 years it’s been called the Kensington Senior Living Community.

The Kensington is celebrating its anniversary on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 4-7 p.m. with refreshments and door prizes. Tours are also available, where one can see the history of the building firsthand.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate both the last 30 years and also look forward to the next 30 as far as meeting with us here in the building, taking a tour of what we’ve done lately and for us to get to know folks and the community a little bit better, too,” Alex Fall, a senior living consultant at The Kensington, said. “Along with the celebration, we also want to celebrate all of the residents over the last 30 years and also all of the history of the building."

The anniversary was kicked off on Sunday with several events that also celebrated Grandparent’s Day and National Assisted Living Week. As friends and family visited the Kensington’s 45 residents and viewed the building, many of them discussed their ties to the building and how they’ve seen it change.

The Paddock Hotel was founded in 1887 and named after Senator Algernon Paddock. It was placed at what is still Beatrice’s two major highways, Highway 77 and Highway 136, making it a hub for activities downtown.

The building was destroyed in a fire around 1919, and a campaign to build a new hotel accommodating the salesmen and other travelers started soon after.

Construction began in 1923, and the hotel was finished in January 1924 at a cost of $430,000. The project would have been roughly $6.4 million today when adjusted for inflation.

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The new building was designed by Thomas R. Kimball of Omaha, and Renaissance Revival style in stucco design was one of the last works of his career. Kimball also designed St. Cecilia’s Cathedral and the Omaha Public Library.

The National Register of Historic Places states the building was acclaimed for its “entirely fireproof construction," has 110 rooms and measures 142 by 75 feet.

It was during this time that Robert Taylor, a famous actor from Filley, frequented the Paddock when in the area. Taylor starred in several movies, including “Waterloo Bridge," “Johnny Eager” and “Ivanhoe."

In 1925, Beatrice’s population was roughly 9,664 people. The community was thriving largely due to the three major railroads having stops in the city.

Various businesses set up shop within the Paddock Hotel throughout the years, including a bank, billiard room, barber shop, coffee shop and beauty parlor.

Business at the hotel started declining in the 1960s, however, as modern highway motels grew in popularity. Agemark purchased the building and opening their senior living facility, originally named the Paddock Kensington, in 1989.

The National Register added the Paddock Hotel to their list of historic places in 1987.

The building is still a hub for activities, as the residents have close access to shops, the popcorn stand, movie theater, bakery and weekly farmer’s market, among other activities held both inside and outside the Kensington’s doors.

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