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The little Ozark town that takes you back in time and across the pond

Staff Reports

The railroad is an important part of Missouri’s rich history. Many towns across the state exist only because trains once stopped in their community. Just like many other Missouri towns, Hollister sprang to life in 1906 when the first train arrived in town. By 1910, the town had a bustling train depot and the town of Hollister became incorporated. By 1910, realtor William H. Johnson was busy bringing his dream of turning Hollister into an English style resort town to reality. Today, the timber trimmed, cottage-style buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and are a great place to hang out for an afternoon or a weekend.

Welcome to Explore at Home, a new series looking at interesting spots around our area you need to visit.

The railroad loved Johnson’s idea of an English village, and when the new depot was opened in 1910, it also boasted a half-timber style and beautiful gardens. The depot was called “the most beautiful station on the White River line.”

By 1913, Hollister enacted a statute requiring the buildings in the business district to be of this same style.

The oldest building still standing in Hollister is the American House, a boarding house built in 1904. Johnson’s Ye English Inn opened for business in 1912, was expanded by Johnson’s son Will in 1927.

When passenger train service stopped in 1961, Hollister’s tourism industry nearly dried up.

In 1967, Elijah Kirtley formed a corporation to begin restoration of downtown, which included paving Front Street, which was renamed Downing Street. The old English business district was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Then, in 2010, Janet Dailey bought Ye English Inn and began renovating. When it was ready to reopen in 2011, the 21-room inn, was renamed Ye Olde English Inn, and includes the Riverstone Restaurant and Black Horse Pub. All have a rustic, English pub style atmosphere that will take you back in time, and across the pond.

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