Leon Deglman was area hotel king
MARQUETTE — Leon Anthony Deglman was dubbed “The Hotel King.” When he died in 1947, he was the president and general manager of 4 large hotels in the Upper Peninsula.
He was born in Mankato, Minnesota, in 1901. He attended school only through the 8th grade. By 1920 Leon, a sister, Adele, and parents, John and Katherine Deglman, were residing in Milwaukee.
Leon’s parents were immigrants from Austria and Germany. Leon became an astute businessman at a young age, learning the hotel business from the bottom up.
When he was 26 years old, he moved to Sault Ste. Marie to manage the large 100-room brick Ojibway Hotel on Portage Avenue across from the Soo Locks.
He also operated the smaller Park Hotel across the street which hosted overflow crowds and the Murray Hill Hotel on Maple Street for a brief time.
By 1930, Deglman moved to Marquette to manage the new Northland Hotel, the Landmark today. He formed the Deglman Hotel Company, of which he was president. He and his wife Beatrice lived at the Northland
In the 1930 Federal Census enumeration, his income was listed as $5,000 annually, which would be about $70,000 today.
He continued to oversee operations at these three hotels and by 1940, added the management of the old 4 story Scott Hotel in Hancock, on the route of tourists traveling to the Copper County.
Deglman advertised regularly in the Travel-Lure books marketing the hotels to tourists. An ad from 1943 states,
“I offer these 4 fine hotels across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for your comfort and convenience. All these hotels have been newly furnished and decorated in the past 18 months.
Delicious meals and thirst-quenching cocktails can be consumed at the Ojibway, Northland, and Scott. The 4 Deglman hotels should be your stopping places…”
Deglman managed the operations across the Upper Peninsula but continued to live in Marquette with his wife Beatrice.
He was active with the chamber of commerce in the Soo and Marquette and was involved with Rotary, the Knights of Columbus, the Marquette Golf and Country Club and was a member of the St. Peter Cathedral.
After an illness of 11 days, Leon Deglman died in St. Luke’s Hospital in December 1947. He was only 46 years old.
Apparently, the life of a “Hotel King” was stressful for this ambitious businessman.