Through the prism of the hotel, we have a privileged glimpse of the Victorian business world from the inside. The fortunes of the McAteer family reflected the rise and fall of the hotel trade itself during this period. Despite the social experiment of prohibition, they experienced an early boom period. With the right combination of skills and good timing, success led to retirement from the trade. When the family decided to re-enter the trade, they may have had a dated perception of its viability. The efforts of the temperance movement had made concrete legislative impact and proprietors were in the process of redefining the hotel business and searching for new revenue sources.