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Sieber grandchildren recall darker times for Sieber Hotel in Oklahoma City

BY STEVE LACKMEYER Modified: January 29, 2009 at 10:11 am •  Published: January 29, 2009
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Ray McMinn and Joanie Elder are stunned as they tour the top floor apartment of the Sieber Hotel that was once home to their grandparents, Robert and Nora Sieber.

They can still picture their aunt, Del Rose, at the piano that stood under the east window. They can hear their grandfather whistling a happy tune as he did every morning before starting work.

They recall large family gatherings in the hotel — good times that ended when Mercy Hospital moved away from MidTown and the area was overrun with blight in the 1970s.

McMinn and Elder recall their grandfather as a hardworking entrepreneur who built the adjoining two-story building first in 1922, operating it as a butcher shop and grocery. The Siebers then built and operated the six-story, U-shaped Sieber Apartment Hotel starting in 1928.

McMinn called the hotel "home” in the 1950s and has high praise for the recent renovation by developer Marva Ellard.

"It was a regular hotel back then,” McMinn said. "People were living here — it was packed. With all the hospitals around here, there were a lot of people in from out of town.”

McMinn said his grandfather, while a serious businessman, was a lot of fun when out on family picnics, fishing trips or gatherings.