Built to capitalize on oil boom prosperity, the Ott Hotel became a Liberty landmark. The regional economy in the early 20th century focused on trade, timber and agriculture. The discovery of large oil fields, including Batson (15 mi. NE) and South Liberty (4 mi. S), brought great activity to Liberty as the nearest rail connection, and many new buildings went up, including restaurants, general stores and this railroad hotel.
Louisiana native John Joshua Ott (1867-1939) and his wife Sallie Wiggins Ott (1874-1963) of San Jacinto County hired contractor Elza Burch to build the hotel. Completed in late 1928 adjacent to the Texas & New Orleans Railroad tracks and very near the depot, the Ott Hotel was well positioned to serve train passengers and was known as a drummer hotel, named for the traveling salesmen of the day. Its location was also ideally suited for automobile tourists on the Old Spanish Trail (later State Highway 3 and U.S. Highway 90), as well as those with business in the nearby county courthouse.
The hotel's original design included 50 rooms in an L-shaped building footprint, with community baths in the middle of the long hall. Dining room and parlor space was later converted into additional rooms. A sign painted on the bricks on the side along the railroad attracted new arrivals. This two-story brick building features
paired windows and has a prominent four-bay front porch with tapered wood columns, a low-pitch roof and brick detailing. Craftsman-style exposed rafter trails outline the porch and the entire building. Several managers operated the hotel, and the property remained in the Ott family until 2002.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2005