The Old Berne Hotel, Austin Mattice, Proprietor, was also known as the Lower Hotel. Some people call it the Witter Hotel, others call it Simmon’s hotel, and still others call it Clint Farwell’s Hall.
An addition was built to the rear of the building was in 1908 by Mr. Wolford. This was to become a stage and voting place. This building served as a gathering place as many plays were performed here on the second floor. Circuses, plays and traveling entertainers were the major sources of amusement and recreation in the Berne of yesterday. The Witter Hotel Register, on display in the Historical Center contains the guests who were performers of the “Big One Ring Circus” which came to Berne in May, 1898.
The building was used in the 1960s for the Franklin Shultes Insurance Agency and a general dry goods store. It is located at the intersection of Rte. 443 (old route 43) and Rte. 156 from Knox.
- Charles Clinton (Clint) Farwell (1874-1950)
- 1920 this hotel was known as Mattice's Hotel. Austin Mattice (1867 – 1958) owned and managed the lower hotel and presumably lived there. Later he sold the hotel and bought the Charles E. Deitz House.
- In the 1950s it became a general store operated by Franklin and Esther Shultes. They had previously operated their store across the street in the Shultes and Adams Store.
- Presently it is an apartment house.
- At this time it is boarded up and slated for demolition