Eugene Chase Eppley

Is your surname Eppley?

Research the Eppley family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Eugene Chase Eppley

Also Known As: "Gene Eppley"
Birthplace: Akron, Summit County, Ohio, United States
Death: October 14, 1958 (74)
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
Place of Burial: Culver, Marshall County, Indiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Owen Eppley and Jessie C. Eppley

Occupation: Hotelier
Managed by: Patricia Ann Clark
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Eugene Chase Eppley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eugene C. Eppley (April 8, 1884 – October 14, 1958) also known as Gene, was a hotel magnate in Omaha, Nebraska.[1] Eppley is credited with single-handedly building one of the most successful hotel empires, by the 1950s the largest privately owned hotel chain in the United States.

Eppley was born in Akron, Ohio and was graduated from the Culver Academies in Indiana in 1901.[4] At the age of 19, he bought his first property, the McKinley Hotel in Canton, Ohio. At age 33, in 1917, he formed the Eppley Hotel Company. At its peak in the 1950s, the Eppley Hotel Company owned 22 hotels in six states. Eppley sold the company to Sheraton Hotels in 1956 for $30 million ($235 million in 2008 dollars).

Among many activities, he was a director of Sheraton Hotels, Mid-Continent Airlines and the Mount Rushmore Foundation.

After purchasing the Hotel Fontenelle in Downtown Omaha in 1920, Eppley lived at his flagship until his death in 1958.[6] Through those years, he contributed much to the civic life of the city and its educational institutions.

   "He fought hard and held his own... and success was prompted by the love of the game. He was acquisitive and altruistic, proud and modest, but beneath it all humble and compassionate. His life seemed a struggle to keep his soft side from showing. He taught and inspired and disciplined... but exacted more of himself than any other. He was an organizer, leader, teacher, fighter, talker and giver. All of his facets added up to a rather heroic figure."


Eppley was a renowned philanthropist, who gave primarily to educational, civic and medical research causes in the Midwestern United States and especially in Omaha. He was active in Omaha's social club Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, which supported local philanthropy and was elected the King of the Court of Ak-Sar-Ben in 1932. His foundation was repeatedly the largest donor ever to several causes throughout the Midwestern United States.

In an unusual event, in 1955 Eppley through his hotel company donated food to the nuclear test experiment conducted with civilian witnesses, known as Operation Cue. His and other private efforts were meant to demonstrate the ability of companies to ship and distribute food for "survivors" of a nuclear blast. Many witnesses were involved with civil defense organizations.

Eppley also personally commissioned paintings by artist Grant Wood. He commissioned the well-known "Fruits of Iowa" grouping in 1932, for murals for four of his hotels in Midwestern cities. Several of the paintings of this series are now housed at Coe College in Iowa.

view all

Eugene Chase Eppley's Timeline

April 8, 1884
Akron, Summit County, Ohio, United States
October 14, 1958
Age 74
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
Masonic Cemetery, Culver, Marshall County, Indiana, United States