Morris and Caroline Lowenstern

Morris Lowenstern

Morris Lowenstern

Morris Lowenstern (1836-1916) arrived with his father (Phillip) and sister in the United States from Germany in 1857. First settling in Louisville, KY the family moved to Urbana in August 1864. While in Kentucky Lowenstern, married Carolina Jericho (also originally from Germany). The family opened a dry goods store called M. Lowenstern & Co. at the corner of Race and Main Streets. Lowenstern is counted as being among the ten men who financially aided C.R. Griggs, ensuring that the University of Illinois would be established in Urbana. Lowenstern was known as a prominent city booster declaring, “Urbana first, last, and all the time,” in a letter published in the May 6, 1907 Courier.  

Lowenstern & Co. owned and occupied a large 3-story double building on the southwest corner of Main and Race Streets. In 1888, he opened the Columbia Hotel on the second floor of his dry goods business which Sol and Julien Cohen remembered quite fondly calling it rather “glamourous” to the younger set on account of who stayed there. It was frequented by orators, travel lecturers, magicians, musical acts, and other entertainers who appeared at Busey Hall, Illinois Theater, and the summer Chautauqua. 

Sanborn Map detail of Columbia Hotel, 1897

Sanborn Map detail of Columbia Hotel, 1897