Biography of Clarence W. Brooks

A little thoughtful consideration of the career of Clarence W. Brooks, proprietor of the Brooks House, Idaho Falls, brings one to the conclusion that he has in most of his business operations been impelled by the spirit of the pioneer. He has sought out new plans and new conditions likely to favor his projects, and after he has made them available and profitable, he has sought out still others, and after those others. The wisdom of his selection has been proven by the success which has crowned his efforts. Not only is he one of the boldest, most venturesome and most successful hotel men in the west, but he is one of the best all-round hotel men “to the manner born” and experienced in the best houses in the country, with a comprehensive grasp on the hotel business, as such, and an intimate knowledge of all the details of good hotel-keeping. Clarence W. Brooks was born in Royalton, Vermont, June 22, 1848. His ancestors came from England and settled early in New Hampshire. His paternal grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier, and lived for some years after American independence, for which he had fought, was an established fact. Austin Brooks, his son and the father of Clarence W. Brooks, was born in Vermont, and there married Miss Susan Smith, and they lived and were farmers at Royalton for fifty years, until his death, in July, 1880, at the age of eighty-one years. His widow lives at their old home and is now (1899) seventy-eight years old, still active in her interest in the Congregational church, of which her husband also was a lifelong member. They had seven children, three of whom are living. Clarence W. Brooks was educated in the public schools of his native town, and at the age of eighteen took a position in a grocery house in Boston. After three years there he went to New York City, where he secured his first experience in hotel life, and for five years was employed in leading houses. In 1874 he went to Denver, Colorado, and was connected with the Sargent House for six months. After that, for six years, he managed the hotel at Antelope Park, Colorado. For a time he was at Butte, Montana, then, in 1884, he bought the Eagle House at Idaho Falls and renamed it the Brooks House. In August 1886, he sold it and went to Kansas, where he remained three years, during that time building two hotels, in two different towns, and at the end of that time took control of the St. James Hotel, Ogden, Utah. In 1892 we find him in Chicago, making extensive preparations for a hotel enterprise during the World’s Fair. After the close of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 he went to San Francisco, California, and, after taking in the Mid-winter Exposition there, returned to Idaho Falls. In 1895-6 he was the lessee and manager of the hotel there, and later, during the Omaha exposition, and until May 1899, he was proprietor of the Brooks House in that city. At the date last mentioned he bought the Brooks Hotel at Idaho Falls and closed it and remodeled and largely rebuilt it, and re-opened it as a first-class house with modern accessories and conveniences. In all these hotel enterprises Mr. Brooks has been successful, and he has never given up a house except to improve his fortunes elsewhere and has never disposed of one which he had not placed on a paying basis. He is the owner of four hundred acres of choice farming land, on which he raises hay and grain and vegetables in great variety, and which has proven a valuable auxiliary to his hotel at Idaho Falls.

Throughout the entire west Mr. Brooks is known as a genial and successful man, and Mrs. Brooks’ reputation as a model “landlady” is co-extensive with his. She was Miss Mary Wallace, of Butler, Pennsylvania, and she is a woman of education and refinement, having taken such a hearty, sensible and helpful interest in many of his enterprises that he has attributed their success to her in no small degree. Mr. Brooks is known as a voting Republican who does not work at politics.


Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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