At the crossroads of US-10 and US-127, the late Senator Alfred James Doherty I, friend of Henry Ford, was convinced that the automobile would eventually become the transportation of choice, and therefore, he decided to build in the center of Clare instead of near the railroads, which was very insightful for that era, and, eventually, proved to be very profitable. Soon thereafter, Clare became known as “The Crossroads of Michigan” as the Pere Marquette Railroad and the Ann Arbor Railroad intercepted in this small town. Thanks to these two railroads, Clare became a popular stopping place for tourists and commercial travelers, and the new Hotel Doherty was there to accommodate.
The original hotel contained sixty rooms, each having hot and cold running water. Thirty-six of those rooms contained either a tub or a shower bath. The ground floor housed the Clare Public Library, a coffee shop, the lobby, a large dining room called the Wedgewood Room, a soda fountain shop, a barbershop, the kitchen, pantry, refrigerator room, and Senator Doherty’s office. There were also two sample rooms east of Doherty’s office with a separate entrance to Fifth Street, which provided commercial travelers an opportunity to display their wares.
Senator Doherty made a point to please each guest with clean rooms, great food, and pleasantness. His perfectionist nature, popularity, and sincere hospitality helped to ensure the hotel’s success.