Royal Hotel

Known Name(s)

Royal Hotel (Primary)
Royal Hotel (duplicate) (Secondary)


2520 - 24 Wall Ave. Ogden, UT (Primary) (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966)
2522 Wall Ave. Ogden, UT (Secondary) (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966)

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status



Photo of hotel taken in 2014, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Undated photo of Leager Davis courtesy of Sarah Langsdon, Weber State University

"Tea at the Royal Hotel" Odgen Standard Examiner, March 24, 1966

Detailed History

Royal Hotel Rooms still on first floor of this address. The Royal Hotel opened in 1914 to accommodate a growing population of railroad workers in the city of Ogden, approximately forty-three miles north of Salt Lake City. At the time, many immigrants from eastern and southern Europe flocked to the railway hub in search of employment. Little is known of the hotel's original owners, John H. Maitia and John Etcheverry, but records indicate the business served both workers and travelers.

In 1935 a long-term tenant, Sam Maruri, purchased the hotel. Maruri and his family were Basques from northern Spain who had found success in Ogden herding sheep. They used the railroad to ship wool and other products for sale locally and nationally. The Maruri family welcomed a diverse clientele, which offered welcome respite to African American travelers and railroad workers with few options due to segregation. Rumors swirled that the Maruris dabbled in bootlegging to balance their books. Interestingly, at some point a jai-alai court was added to the back of the hotel. Jai-alai is a Basque ball game played on an indoor court. The structure still stands in its entirety and is now used as low-income housing.

The Union Pacific Railroad continued to attract more travelers and workers to the Ogden area in the 1940s. The downtown streets buzzed with activity and became a center for business and leisure. It also became a haven for African Americans looking for lodging and entertainment. Several black clubs offered nightly jazz. Saxophonist Joe McQueen relocated from Oklahoma where he had played with Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Hoagie Carmichael. McQueen refused to play in any Ogden club which refused entrance to Black patrons. He claimed that many downtown businesses quickly ended their policy of segregation. When Duke Ellington played at the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City, the staff denied him accommodations. Ellington was forced to travel north to Ogden and stay at the Royal.

Alonzo and Leager V. Davis purchased the property in 1943. They offered accommodations to Black railroad workers and used the property as a gathering place for the local African American community. They volunteered the basement to the U.S. military for use as an office serving Black military personnel during World War II. Leager Davis led Ogden's Black community through service in the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and the YWCA Board of Directors. Davis also served as the chair of the Utah Governor's Anti-Discrimination Board. The NAACP named a recurring achievement award in her honor. The Royal Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources consulted:

Alyssa Kammerman, “The Royal Hotel,” Intermountain Histories,


 Michael Wutz, “Riffing About a Century of Jazz: A Conversation with Joe McQueen at 88,” Conversation, Fall 2007, Volume 24.1.

Jamie McGridd, "Ogden Historican Puts Black History Spotlight on Royal Hotel," KUTV, April 6, 2022.

Miriam B. Murphy, "Royal Hotel Served Basques and African Americans,"History Blazer, October 1996. See also, Nomination Form, "Lower 25th Street Historic District," National Register files, Utah Division of State History, 


Related Issues