Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia)
The historic Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond
|Location||101 W Franklin St., Richmond, Virginia, USA, 23220|
|Opening||October 31, 1895|
|Number of rooms||166|
|Number of suites||15|
|Number of restaurants||2|
|Parking||on-site valet and self parking|
|Location||104 W. Main St., Richmond, Virginia|
|Area||1.5 acres (0.61 ha)|
|Architect||Carrère and Hastings, J. Kevan Peebles|
|Architectural style||Late 19th and early 20th century American Movements|
|NRHP reference #||69000351|
|Added to NRHP||June 4, 1969|
|Designated VLR||November 5, 1968|
The Jefferson Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On site is "Lemaire", a restaurant named after Etienne Lemaire, who served as maitre d'hotel to Thomas Jefferson from 1794 through the end of his presidency.
Tobacco baron Lewis Ginter planned the development of the hotel as a premier property in the city of Richmond, capital of the state. It was designed in the Spanish Baroque Style by Carrère and Hastings, noted national architects based in New York, who later designed the New York Public Library. Construction began in 1892 and the hotel opened for business on October 31, 1895. After a fire gutted the interior of the hotel in 1901, it had a lengthy restoration. It reopened in 1907. It has received restorations and upgrades of systems through the years.
In 1901, there was a wire fire that destroyed three-fifths of the hotel. There were no casualties; however, the statue of Thomas Jefferson was almost destroyed. The sculptor and crew pushed the statue on a mattress and pulled it to safety. During the rescue process, the head broke off. Eventually, the sculpture was repaired. In March 1944, another fire occurred. Six people were killed during the fire.
In the check-in lobby, known as the Palm Court, nine original stained glass Tiffany windows with the hotel's monogram remain. The three stained glass windows above the front desk and the stained glass dome are reproductions.
Alligators in the lobby
In his autobiography The Moon's a Balloon (1972), Academy Award-winning actor David Niven described a trip from New York to Florida in the late 1930s, during which he decided to spend the night at the Jefferson Hotel. Niven said that, as he was signing the guest registry in the lobby, his eyes snapped open with amazement when he noticed a full-sized alligator swimming in a small pool located six feet from the reception desk. The alligators at the Jefferson became world-famous. Old Pompey, the last alligator living in the marble pools of the Jefferson's Palm Court, survived until 1948.[a] Bronze statues of the alligators now decorate the hotel. Its restaurant, Lemaire, has a theme of alligator motifs.
- Currently, the space that was filled with alligators is now a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
- "Jefferson Hotel by AreaG2". AreaG2, Inc. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
- "Affiliated Companies". CCA Financial. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
- "Hotel Jefferson National Register Nomination" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- "The Hotel Jefferson, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Virginia". Simon and Baker.
- "Henry James as Landlord". The Atlantic Monthly. August 1946. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
- Niven, David (1972). The Moon's a Balloon. Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-399-10557-3.
- "History". Jefferson Hotel. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
- "Lemaire Fact Sheet [Press Release]" (PDF). Lemaire Restaurant. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Chaney, Jen (June 23, 2009). "DVD Review: "My Dinner with Andre"". Washington Post.
- The Jefferson, Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore: Press of A. Hoen & Co., c. 1890s, OL 22883875M (Promotional brochure)
- Herbert, Paul N. (2012). The Jefferson Hotel: The History of a Richmond Landmark. The History Press.
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