The curious and controversial life of John Q. Hammons

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorReports in other markets are offering perspectives on how  Springfield-based hotelier John Q. Hammons impacted their communities. In some cases, there is controversy; in others, curiosity that stems from a mix of modesty and conceit.

In any case, it’s clear Hammons worked with an unmatched drive and did business his way.
Here are this editor’s picks of worthwhile commentary on Hammons.

From The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), “The hotel magnate who told Madison to take a hike”:

“I remember standing inside the hotel shell when it was going up and he told me he didn’t even need to borrow anything until it hit the sixth floor.”

—Dan Ramsey, Middleton, Wis., mayor, 1977–2003

Hammons developed just outside Madison, Wis., because he couldn't get a deal in the capital city. Photo credit: The Capital Times

Hammons developed just outside Madison, Wis., because he couldn’t get a deal in the capital city.
Photo credit: The Capital Times

“When hotel developer John Q. Hammons in 1987 announced plans to build a new high-rise luxury Holiday Inn on land to be annexed to Middleton – a foot over the city of Madison limits – it sparked a heated debate over urban sprawl, municipal taxes, a downtown convention center and the entire future of the region.”

—Mike Ivey, a reporter at The Capital Times

From The Oklahoman/NewsOK.com (Oklahoma City, Okla.), “Uncertainty surrounds Hammons hotels after founder’s death”:

He was a control freak. I could go to lunch with him in Springfield, and he had that table in the back. And every day I met him, he came with a set of plans under his arms. He couldn’t take lunch without working.”

—Mark Grimes, president of Flintco’s Oklahoma City division

Hammons announces an Oklahoma City development in 1994. Photo credit: NewsOk.com

Hammons announces an Oklahoma City development in 1994.
Photo credit: NewsOk.com

From the Hartford Courant, “Business leaders on John Q. Hammons”:

“He doesn’t know a putter from a driver.”

—Erik Kamfjord, an associate at Winegardner & Hammons

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Curtains are drawn on builder’s giant life” (This story predates his death but it’s an outsider’s look at Springfield through the Hammons’ lens.):

The final days of a rich man’s life can sometimes get ugly, as heirs or business partners scrap over his wealth. But Hammons has no children, no obvious heirs, and the controversy surrounding him, friends insist, has nothing to do with money or control of his vast business holdings.”

—Tim Logan, a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Hammons bust rests outside the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

The Hammons bust rests outside the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “The curious and controversial life of John Q. Hammons”


  1. 1 Frank Shipe June 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    The story quotes an associate at “Windergardner & Hammons.” The first name should be “Winegardner,” referring to Roy Winegardner, who was the man who persuaded Hammons to join him in the hotel/motel business in 1958, and in 1961 became partners with him in the Winegardner & Hammons hotel management and development company, which still exists. I know all this because Roy Winegardner was a distant cousin of our family, having married my grandmother’s sister. I remember him well. Often described in bios as a “mechanical engineer” in his beginnings in Springfield, he was actually a plumber and had his own plumbing company, Winegardner Plumbling. I remember him then as a very kind, highly intelligent, rather driven person who was known for “working all the time.” Winegardner and Hammons both would qualify as major workaholics. Fortunately, it can also be said that they both had good hearts. By the way, there is a good deal of rather interesting info on Roy Winegardner on the Internet.

  2. 2 Eric Olson June 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Frank. Of course, you are absolutely correct, and we appreciate your insight into the life of Mr. Winegardner, as well.

  3. 3 Eric Olson June 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Also, here’s an interesting timeline outlining the working relationship between John Q. Hammons and Roy Winegardner.
    http://www.whihotels.com/company/history


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




RSS Latest Headlines from SBJ.net

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

SBJ Tweets

Archived Blog Posts

All content © 2008 SBJ Publishing Inc.

*The newsroom blog of Springfield Business Journal

%d bloggers like this: