Local residents celebrated when the Hotel Charitone opened on the northeast corner of the square in the Lucas County seat of Chariton. The hotel featured modern conveniences including tile floors, a telephone in every room and an in-house restaurant. The future looked bright for the historic building in 2003 when developer Charles Thomas purchased the abandoned hotel and announced plans for a $1.5 million renovation. The plans included renovation of the building to accommodate fifteen assisted living apartments with a “full spectrum of amenities.”
The project never got off the ground, and in January 2008, the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance group placed the building on its list of Most Endangered properties. That year, a portion of bricks detached from the south side of the building, and while the owner took steps to prevent additional damage, including covering the windows with plywood, the structure remained in a state of significant decline. No further changes have been made to the property, and in December 2010, the Chariton City Council voted to move to acquire the property’s title by classifying the building as a public nuisance.