Hotel Severin

40 W Jackson Pl Indianapolis

Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library
Written By Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library

Hotel Severin (now Omni Severin Hotel) was opened in 1913 by another successful German merchant family, the Severins. It is the oldest and longest operating hotel in the city. The hotel was designed by Vonnegut & Bohn (the firm co-founded by the author's grandfather.) Henry Severin Sr. (1827-1890) emigrated from Westphalia to New York in 1849 and arrived in Indianapolis in 1853. He was a supporter of the German-English Independent School, co-founded by Clemens Vonnegut. He and his son, Henry Jr., were involved with many commercial enterprises in Indianapolis, including this hotel.

Many hotels, large and small, were clustered around Union Station, but the Severin was the closest and largest. It is one of only a few historic hotels to survive. As the downtown declined, so did the Severin. The shabby hotel was rescued and doubled in size in 1989. This hotel, however, was not the scene of the 1913 over-the-top party wedding celebration for Kurt and Edith Lieber Vonnegut. That epic event, as described in Palm Sunday, took place in the Claypool Hotel, which is long gone. It stood where the Embassy Suites Hotel is today.

Cover image: Shane Lear, CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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