If you have been to Petoskey to enjoy shopping or eating in one of the many establishments you have probably seen the historic pale yellow Perry Hotel. It was Built in 1899 by Norman J. Perry to accommodate tourists arriving by train to enjoy the fresh air of Northern Michigan. Today the hotel is owned by Stafford Smith and is a shining example of Luxury and elegance. Before Smit took over the hotel it was owned by Arthur Curry who had brought hope to a struggling city and ended up being a con man and a criminal.
In the mid-1980s Petoskey and especially the historic hotel was struggling in a slow economy. That was when Chicago stockbroker Arthur Curry came along and promised hope to the community when he purchased the Perry Hotel along with the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. He was a very charismatic guy and people who met him were optimistic about his investments in Northern Michigan. He was able to convince people to invest in his hotels with the hopes that they will be restored and revitalize the other businesses surrounding them.
Things were going well for a short time but as expenses began piling up, investors were having a hard time finding Curry. After being ousted from the brokerage firm in Chicago he was desperate for money and came up with a scheme to rais some more money. In March of 1989, he kidnapped Gayle Cook the wife of William Cook from their Bloomington Indiana home. William and Gayle together built a medical manufacturing firm and were worth over 250 million dollars. Curry kidnapped Mrs. Cook as she carried groceries into her home. After tying her to the back chair in his van he demanded 1.3 million dollars in cash and another half-million in gold bullion. About 24 hours later the FBI found Curry’s van and rescued Gayle Cook and arrested Curry. He was convicted in 1990 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
If you are like me you are probably doing the math in your head and thinking he will be released because it has been 30 years. He and his brother have been charged with bank robbery. Together the two are accused of robbing about 20 banks in southern Indiana and Kentucky.
Despite being owned by a short time by Mr. Curry, the Perry Hotel continues standing proudly in downtown Petoskey welcoming tourists and guests.
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