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The Edwards Hotel: Significance and the Political Landscape of the Deep South

HIDE
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Acknowledgement
 List of Figures
 List of Tables
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Literature review
 Research methods
 Defining significance
 Contextual support
 The Edwards Hotel
 Case study A: The Heidelberg...
 Case study B: The Cherokee...
 Case study C: The Jefferson Davis...
 Observations
 Appendices
 References
 Biographical sketch
 

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THE EDWARDS HOTEL: SIGNIFICANCE AND THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE OF THE DEEP SOUTH By CHARLENE MARIE EIFFERT A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Charlene Marie Eiffert

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To my parents

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank God for placing me in the right plac e at the right time: in a loving family, amidst a supportive academic community, in Gainesv ille during Hurricane Katrina and in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on March 15. So many things in my life would be different if I were left to my own devices, so being in good hands has everything to do with my success. I thank my parents. I am especially grat eful to my father for teaching me that I can create my own future by the things I do today. Also, his lighthearted study long, study wrong mantra has helped a perfectionist like me to stop myself when I have done all I can. These two pieces of advice have ta ught me to never give up and to sometimes just let it go: an odd pairing of concepts that when applied correctly, are my recipe for success. To my mother I am grateful fo r her constant encouragement during every stressful moment of this process, and every one of lifes processes so far. She has taught me so much, particularly to use discourageme nt as a motivating force. Her role as my friend is equal to her role as my mother. I love them both. I thank my chosen family. I th ank Robby, my teammate, for making my archival research worth every minute. I am so blessed to have someone who views my successes and failures as his as well. I thank him for losing sleep when I do, and celebrating victories big and sma ll with me. His presence in my life is the best thing to have come from this hard work.

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v I also thank my committee for their commit ment to my success. I thank Professor Peter E. Prugh for his compassion, his motiv ation and the way he has fostered my dedication to learning. I am grateful to Dr. Kristin Larsen for illustrating the rewards of a strong work ethic and for going beyond her duties time and again for many students, myself included. I also thank Professo r Roy Graham for keeping me on my toes, challenging the status quo, and matchi ng my ambition with opportunities.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii LIST OF TABLES..ix ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..x CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.................................................................................................5 Hotel Life and Personality............................................................................................5 The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man.............................................6 Living Downtown.........................................................................................................8 3 RESEARCH METHODS...............................................................................................10 4 DEFINING SIGNIFICANCE.........................................................................................13 5 CONTEXTUAL SUPPORT...........................................................................................18 The Hotel as an American Tradition..........................................................................19 Historical Context: The Deep South.......................................................................... .20 Mississippi Politics.....................................................................................................24 Jackson History...........................................................................................................27 6 THE EDWARDS HOTEL..............................................................................................34 Jackson Develops........................................................................................................35 Political Significance..................................................................................................36 Social Side of Politics.................................................................................................40 Politics and Prohibition...............................................................................................41 7 CASE STUDY A: THE HEIDELBERG HOTEL..........................................................43 8 CASE STUDY B: THE CHEROKEE HOTEL......48

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vii 9 CASE STUDY C: THE JEFFE RSON DAVIS Hotel......51 10 OBSERVATIONS........................................................................................................53 Industry Interaction.....................................................................................................53 Unofficial Creation of Legislation..............................................................................54 Urban Justification......................................................................................................54 Gilded Age Ideals.......................................................................................................55 Preservation and History.............................................................................................57 Recommendations for Future Research......................................................................60 APPENDIX A TIMELINE FOR THE EDWARDS HOTEL................................................................62 B REVIEW OF HOTEL PATTERNS...............................................................................64 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................69

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Forty years of vacancy have taken their toll on the Edwards 1-2 Neoclassical entryway of the abandoned Edwards Hotel..............................................2 1-3 An editorial cartoon ge neralizing public view of the hotels significance....................3 5-1 View of the Jackson Train Depot from the Edwards Hotel.........................................28 5-2 Steel frame of the Edwards Hotel, 1923......................................................................32 7-1 The Heidelberg Hotel,1928.........................................................................................44 7-2 Huey Long received press and associates in the Heidelberg Hotel, where he lived a public life. Seen here, Long at work in his pajamas at the Heidelberg...................45 8-1 The Cherokee Hotel.49 9-1 The Jefferson Davis Hotel...52

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ix TABLE Table page B-1 Review of Hotel Patterns

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x Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Architectural Studies THE EDWARDS HOTEL: SIGNIFICANCEAND THE POLITICAL L ANDSCAPE OF THE DEEP SOUTH By Charlene Marie Eiffert August 2006 Chair: Peter E. Prugh Cochair: Roy E. Graham Major Department: Architecture The Edwards House was the political center. I guess eighty percen t of the members of the legislature lived at the Edwards House. We could have our meetings there, our subcommittee meeting. Well, smoke-filled room meetings John Junkin, Mississippi Politics The future of the Edwards Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, vacant for forty years, is the focus of discussion relative to downtown Jackson redevelopment efforts. The present building, built in 1923, served dow ntown business and social needs, and as the residences for lobbyists and politicians during legislative sessions at the nearby capitol. The historical significance of the Edwards Hotel is currently being debated on the state and local levels. However, state and regional significan ce, primarily due to the political and cultural history of the Deep South has not been considered in discussions about the hotels future. The focus of this research is to explore the sign ificance of the Edwards Hotel in its local context and within the urba n environment. Additi onally, it investigates the hotels role in the urban environment and in the development of a capital city in a primarily rural state in the Deep South.

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xi The study will investigate significance with in the historic preservation field by looking at several definitions for it as seen across the profession. Oral histories and archival research are employed to explore the history of the Edwards Hotel with an emphasis on political and social significance to the state of Mississippi. Case studies from Baton Rouge, Tallahassee, and Alabama will explore the hotels significance to the political landscape of the South, particularly in the first part of the twentieth century. Based on the history of the sites and the hotel s period of significance as determined by the National Register of Historic Pla ces, the dates in focus for the study are approximately 1890 to 1940. This study is important to understanding the role of hotels in the development of the urban South, because it explores the social and political signif icance of the Edwards Hotel. The study contributes to the unders tanding of significan ce by expanding it to include regional patterns. The re search also reinforces the role of history within historic preservation.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This study examines the issue of histor ical significance, focusing on regional history relevant to an histor ic southern hotel. An abandone d landmark hotel in the heart of a small downtown in Jackson, Mississippi ha s been sitting vacant for forty years. The structure, the former Edwards Hotel, is the su bject of debate in metropolitan Jackson, as redevelopment plans repeated ly failed to rally enough suppor t and funding. Changes in the political structure including a current mayor with a proactive approach to downtown redevelopment have put the building, once one of Jacksons signature structures, in the spotlight once again. Within the last year, the Mayors office has threatened demolition should plans for rehabilitation not take immedi ate shape. For this reason, the community and its public officials are in n eed of the fullest u nderstanding of the hotels contribution. The site was home to the original Co nfederate House hotel built in 1861, which was replaced by a frame and brick hotel in 1868. In 1923 the current structure, the Edwards Hotel, was built. In 1954, the hotel was purchased by Dumas Milner, who removed many character-defining features, including a decorativ e stained glass skylight. Interior features and spatial massing were altered, and the hotel was marketed as a convention and business center renamed the Ki ng Edward Hotel. Milners modern convention center hotel, with rooftop pool a nd conference facilities lasted only until 1967, when the King Edward Hotel closed. Desp ite National Register status in 1976 and city landmark status in1991, remains vacan t to date. From 1967 to 2004 the King

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2 Edward suffered from false starts, empt y promises and unfounded rumors from hotel owners and half-hearted investors (Lynch: 2005, 17). Figures 1-1 and 1-2. Forty years of vacan cy have taken their toll on the Edwards (Photograph taken by Charlene M. Eiffert) Suggestions for use include another hotel, demolition and mixed use developments. As of 2004, the Jackson Redevelopment Authority approved a development package for the hotel from a part nership that includes Historic Restoration, Incorporated (a New Orleans renovation-base d development giant), Saints running back Deuce McAllister, and Jackson Attorney David Watkins. The structural assessments that this partnership is currently undertaking are th e closest the vacant King Edward has come to redevelopment and rescue in nearly forty years. Known by all in the community as the K ing Edward, those who see any value in it attribute it to nostalgia, a familiar landm ark in a familiar part of downtown. Local governmental support is low, and the mayor is growing impatient with the eyesore, now restricted from public access because of stru ctural instability and health concerns. In 2001, Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes declared the King Edward is only historical now to the pigeons (Mayer: 2001, 1).

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Figure 1-3. Editorial cartoon generalizing public view of the hotels significance. The community sees the Edwards Hotel as a nostalgic artifact while its significance goes far bey ond this concept. The Edwards Hotel: Significance and the Political Landscape of the Deep South examines the role that the structure played in shaping Mississippi history. The Edwards Ho tel is key to unders tanding the political culture of Mississippi and the Deep South. Further, this st udy shows a pattern of these hotels in capital cities acr oss the region, and utilizes these structures to learn more about the development of the South. The historical research presented here illustrates that the hotel is significant to the cultural history and the heritage of Mississippi and to the political landscape of the Deep South, partic ularly in the first part of the twentieth century. In examining the Edwards Hotel a nd case studies in ne ighboring states, this thesis outlines the significant role of such hotels in Southern, re gional socio-political history, and forms the basis for a th ematic study of such hotels. The study utilizes publications and census information to provide historical context support for the Edwards Hotel. A series of oral histories were gathered to collect accounts of happenings in and around the stru cture. Case studies are introduced and developed to suggest the existe nce of a pattern across the Deep South. The hotels used as

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4 case studies are from capital cities in states with rural, agricultural traditions: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tallahassee, Florida, a nd Montgomery, Alabama. Together, they illustrate the role of the luxury hotel in the development of a legitimate urban environment and the progress of politics in the Deep South.

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5 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Literature regarding the habits of early twentieth century American hotel living became available as early as the 1920s. There is less literature to be found on the political legacy associated with these institutions, particular ly for the southeastern region of the United States. Several resources on these topics co ntributed greatly to this study. Among them are Hotel Life and Personality, which provides information on the behavioral characteristics of hotel residents during the 1920s. The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man explains the history of the urban hotel an d its civic role. Living Downtown observes similarities between social position and luxury hotels, and investigates the role of the structures in the urban envir onment. This collection of publications provides concepts for this study, wh ich will focus on political patterns in the Deep South, to build upon. Hotel Life and Personality The March 1928 publication of the American Journal of Sociology included the Norman S. Hayner article Hotel Life and Pe rsonality. The extensive article profiles personality patterns in the hotel environment in the era of its public ation and heralds the hotel as one of the great machines that serve men in this Iron Age (Hayner: 1928, 793). Hotel Life and Personality is separated into three parts. The first deals with habits for travelers. Hayner finds that pe ople who lived in hotels did so for freedom, conveniences and protection. The second secti on contains a discussion of the types of

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6 people who reside in hotels. Childless familie s and professional men are cited as primary occupants. Hayner discovers that the indi vidual grows accustomed to living, eating and all but sleeping in public (Hayner: 1928, 793). The third and final section of the public ation describes the behavior of hotel occupants while away from home. Hotel life Hayner finds, is marked by a tendency to act upon impulses rather than on the ideals or standards that he or his peers would normally use (Hayner: 1928, 794). Men in hotel life surely come in contact with life in all its streaked regalia. They have caught prohibitionists drunk and reformers with women (Hayner: 1928, 792). Hayners research focuses primarily on ch aracteristics of hotel life. Specific attention is given to personality patterns in the hotel environment. This study explains that these behaviors were manifested in the po litical realm during the time. Further, this study illustrates how the political characterist ics of hotel living lend significance to these structures. The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man The Edwards Hotel is of political significance, but it also had a notable social effect in the cultural la ndscape. Doris E. Kings 1957 contribution to the Journal of Southern History The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man, discusses social implications of these structures, though he r research fails to br ing attention to such patterns specific to the South. Somewhat out of sequence, King eventual ly defines her term first-class hotel with several characteristics, suggesting most should be presen t for first-class designation. These characteristics include an imposing, public-looking building style, costly and

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7 luxurious construction that is awe-inspiring, independence from government management, and operation by a well-trained staff or servants (King: 1957, 181). King discusses the rise of the American hot el from the British-inspired taverns. The study compares the hotels to British boa rding houses, finding that American hotels have more the architectural characteristics of public buildings, even architecturally. She notes general British reactions to hotel life at the turn of the century. Generalizing this reaction, King states that Americans are by natu re a gregarious people who loved to live in public, to see and be seen, to hear a nd be heard (King: 1957, 177). Thus, the American first-class hotel has a specific social function. The focus is not entirely of a compara tive nature, as the first-class hotel is classified as a peculiarly American inst itution (King: 1957, 175). King perceives the story of the development of the first class hotel as part of the story of the Rise of the Common Man (King: 1957, 173). Giving the American hotels hi story, King credits Bostons Exchange Hotel which, built in 1809, se rved as a bold and daring precursor to the twentieth century hotel by establishing a lobby and by designating hotel bar rooms (King: 1957, 179). The hotels relevance to civic identity is of particular focus in Kings study. By 1840, the typical American hotel was ow ned by civic-minded merchants and was considered a show place necessary for the honor of the town (King: 1957, 179). In 1860, a Baltimore circuit judge ruled a certain hotel could not be closed because a firstclass hotel was a public necessity (King: 1957, 179). This facilitated interaction, including informal opportunities for local offici als to meet, and contributed towards civic identity, with specific focus on the s outhern region of the United States.

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8 Living Downtown The most notable contribution to literatu re on the development of hotel culture is Paul Groths Living Downtown which addresses the history of residential hotels in the United States. This descripti on is insufficient, however, as his body of research expands into architecture, social and cultural imp lications, and urban pl anning. Groth (1957) discusses conflicting ideas about hotel life and similarities among hotel standards and social structure. He suggests that the hotels match the so cial statuses of th eir residents, as emphasized by a New York hotel keeper in 1903: We have fine hotels for fine people Good hotels for good people Plain hotels for plain people And some bum hotels for the bums (Groth: 1957, 20). Material culture therefore reinforced, not me rely reflected, social position and power (Groth: 1957, 20). Luxury hotels offered the gr eatest advantage in the instant social position conferred upon residents. For this r eason, the lobbies and barrooms of expensive hotels had a concentration of political, business and social life. Groth (1957) explains that sojourning politicians comprised a si gnificant amount of hotel residents. Through the 1800s, each urban political party patronized a particular hotel (Groth: 1957, 20). This study will show that in smalle r urban areas, all political parties would meet in one luxury hotel, and will illustrate that this habit of political patronage lasted well into the first half of the twentieth century in th e Deep South. Groth (1957) also reviews the history of the role of hotels in the United States, observing th at they were often the most important landmark in a city un til the prominent office buildings replaced

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9 them in the 1890s. This study suggests that this trend lasted until around 1940s in the South. The most unique observation made in Living Downtown concerns the civic role that the downtown luxury hotel plays. Groth (1 957) explains that ci ties did not have the power to enforce greater urban organiza tion until the 1920s (187). Hotel owners played a role in this by helping to specia lize districts in which they stood. These structures influenced ideas about arrangeme nts of urban space by acting as a scale model of a successful future city (Groth: 1957, 53). According to Groth, hotels present a total scheme for a diverse but centrally planned set of activities and spaces (Groth: 1957, 53). Hotels, according to Groth (1957) changed the nature of downtowns. The literature reviewed herein discusses th e lifestyles of typical hotel residents. The sources explain personality patterns a nd social implications as well as address motives for hotel living. This study of the Edwards Hotel will show its role in the development of Jackson, Mississippi. Furthe r, the case studies used herein will suggest similar patterns in capital ci ties in the Deep South.

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10 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODS Several methods of research were impleme nted for this study in order to gain a multi-faceted understanding of the Edwards Ho tel. Archival research was done in Jackson, Mississippi and in each capital city in which a hotel was reviewed. On-site visits were made, an extensive collection of oral histories were examined, and informal interviews were conducted. Specific historic al literature was also reviewed. Most importantly, case studies provided invaluable information about regional patterns. The combination of these research types yields the fullest understanding of the subject for research of this scope. Site visits proved especially beneficial wh en looking at the proximity of the hotel and state government buildings. During the vi sit, seeing the scale of the Edwards Hotel (in relation to adjacent structures in use at the time) aided in understanding the impact that the hotel had on the deve loping urban environment. This study reviews literature to obtain cont extual histories of the South, the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson its elf. These resources illustrate the unique relationship between politician and constituents that was found throughout the South at this time, and highlight the important economic trends that were found across the region. The study of southern history and culture usi ng these resources supplements the historical facts about the Edwards Hotel.

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11 Informal meetings held with leader s in politics and planning in Jackson, Mississippi made clear the current attitudes a bout the vacant hotel. Municipal leaders vary in their assessment of the hotels signifi cance, and these meeti ngs made this range abundantly clear. The need for these municipa l leaders to be further informed regarding the buildings history also was confir med as a result of these meetings. State archives were extensively used in Mississippi and in each state reviewed. The Mississippi Department of Archives and Hist ory was an invaluable resource throughout the researching process. Ex tensive records on the developm ent of metropolitan Jackson provided necessary contextual evidence fo r the study of the Edwards Hotel. The Mississippi Department of Archives a nd History maintains an extensive oral history series that it makes available in its Special Collections Room. These oral histories provided a resource that made th is study possible. Oral histories were conducted decades ago by professional hist orians. Included among them are the oral histories of the former owner of the Edward s Hotel, several members of the staff, and local journalists who wrote a bout political happenings in Ja ckson. Of most value were the oral histories with politicians who spoke about their legislative career and, subsequently, their interactions at the Edwards Hotel. Mississippi and Louisiana both have site files for their respective hotels. Additionally, all cities state archives had site files for individual politicians relevant to the established period of si gnificance for this study. Re viewing the correspondence for legislators revealed their social habits and their dependence on the Edwards Hotel for caucuses. Newspaper resources dating back to 1900 provided information about social responses to the hotel that emerged in J ackson and in each of the case study cities.

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12 Utilizing case studies in th is study was the most effective way of reviewing the patterns of Southern hotels in capital cities. The case st udies used are the Heidelberg Hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Cherok ee Hotel in Tallahassee, Florida, and the Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama. These hotels were chosen because of their location in capital cities in what is co mmonly referred to as the Deep South. These hotels were also built within a decade of one another, a nd were all within a close proximity to the capitol buildings in their respective cities. The case studies are used to illustrate consistencies in hotel use by po litical figures, dignitaries and citizens.

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13 CHAPTER 4 DEFINING SIGNIFICANCE Historic preservation in th e United States encompasses more than its founders in house museums and garden clubs could have ever imagined. Like never before, preservationists are looking to the future as much as to the past, planning new directions for the movement. New applications in cluding landscape pres ervation and cultural resource management are finding their pl ace among the Monticellos and Mount Vernons upon which the movement was founded. An awareness of the history and theoreti cal concepts in preservation movement has been developed, allowing self-reflection. Where has the profession been? Where is it going? Concepts once more narrowly applie d are being carefully reexamined. With this examination, room for expansion of id eas becomes possible. One such concept receiving deserved attention is that of significance, wh ich is no longer primarily concerned with famous places, events or pers onages. Significance is now being applied to intangibles in our surroundings. Phrases like sense of place and cultural landscape are more than just popular preservation concepts These expanding arenas for preservation allow for recognition of value among res ources of every type: archaeological, environmental, historical, and architectural. For this reason, before addressing the sig nificance of a certain site, a definition of the term is necessary. Because it charac terizes so many persons, places and things, the word often is dismissed as synonymous with importance. Unfortunately, this word gets

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14 us no closer to criteria by whic h to judge historic structures. What is more, defining this term faces more challenges th an just its subjectivity. Ideas about significance are changing with in the preservation field. Activists, professionals and academics are actively deba ting how inclusive pres ervation should be. It can be argued that a broader, more concep tually flexible standard for applying the term significance can cheapen the honor bestowed upon high-style nomine es for historic landmark status. This argument is not alwa ys made aloud, but can be seen in action through review boards and heard in the storie s of rural architectur al examples being refused several times for local and state listing. Others apply the label of significance more liberally: We are finding that everything and every place may in fact be important to somebody, all of these places may be significant in some frame of reference to someone. This situation leads to the oft-heard charge that preservation professionals consider everything to be significant to someone in a pluralistic society. (Lyon: 1998, 46) Liberal application of the term signifi cance can undermine the credibility of the preservation movement. Most, however, in cluding the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Register of Hi storic Places and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) generally ag ree that the conceptual expansion of preservation to include previously ignored gr oups of people and structures is beneficial. Because of this expansion of preserva tions concepts, a clear and consistent understanding of signi ficance is critical. As part of understanding the meaning of the term significance as it is used in preservation, investigations in to how significance is acquired can help define the term. One can look to the National Trust for Histor ic Preservation for assistance with defining

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15 significance. This non-profit organization, esta blished in 1949, includes in its objectives the identification of important national pr eservation issues, the support of preservation efforts, and the expansion of private and public financial resources for preservation activities (Murtagh: 20 06, 28). The National Register of Hi storic Places has a fifty year minimum for buildings being considered for its listing of nationa lly valued historic structures. This guideline can imply that age can determine significance. But the fifty year minimum standard is for successful fulfillment of the word historic and lends nothing to determining significance. The Na tional Register considers some exceptional properties to have acquired this illusive quality of significance that fall short of the fiftyyear threshold. Significance is therefore not dependant on age. Significance, more than any preservation officer would like to admit, is a matter of perception. Constructed soci ally, which is to say it is sh aped by peoples relationships and perceptions of a particul ar structure and their relationship to it, significance can change when the facts do not. For example, in 1955 the federal government attempted to sell Ellis Island because its services were no longer needed. Today, the island is preserved and now serves as one of the natio ns most popular museums. It was not the past that changed. The meaning men and wo men gave to it changed: men and women with the ability to do something about what they believed (Green: 1994, 91). Significance as a perceived human response can be applied to a building by the people and places around it, past and present. If this definition of significance seems transient, perhaps it is. If so, it serves as a testimony to the importance and the urgency of the work done within historic preservation because re sources can be dismissed and demolished so easily.

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16 In the National Registers Bulletin 15 significance is in objects that possess integrityand that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. The ve ry definition by the National Register uses significance as a defining characteristic! In spite of this, two satisfactory pieces of information from this description of significan ce are evident: the elem ents of significance within the context of historic preservation (1) transcend architectural value, and the elements are (2) associated with a broad pattern of history The National Register has made strides to illustrate that the contributions of an historic building go beyond archit ectural value. Before the establishment of the National Register, the concept of signifi cance was already heavily deba ted. The idea of a building having significance for purely architectural reasons was new and in question, since the earliest buildings deemed significant were as sociated with famous figures in American history. There are presently four recognized crit eria through the Nati onal Register that serve as the basis for judging significance, at the national, state, and local levels (Murtagh: 2006, 181). These four criteria include (a) association with events that have made a contribution to broad patterns of hist ory, (b) association with the lives of persons in the American past, (c) embodiment of dis tinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that are representative of a master s work, and (d) informative (or likely to be informative) about preh istory or history (N ational Trust: 1996, 1). In more recent years, as preservation sh ifts to quality of life and smart growth initiatives, the National Regi ster of Historic Places ha s become more comprehensive since the passage of the 1966 Historic Pr eservation Act. Intangible aspects of

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17 preservation, such as culture and sense of pl ace, are now considered. Both of these terms refer to a distinctive character that is uni que and deeply connected to the beliefs and social entities of a commun ity, and that contri butes to the significance of a place. The National Registers definition of signi ficance also brings to light that a building has a value within the broad patter ns of history (National Register: 1966, 1). Patterns of history, a network of events with a common thr ead, lend significance to an object. Significance comes from the sum of a buildings history, what happened before and after its construction, and what happe ned to buildings with common historical elements. Historical details must be painstakin gly researched. When investigating the significance of a building, a great deal of history is unwritten, conflicting accounts surface, and unpopular ideas about buildings can stir mixed emotions in communities, even diminishing support for a project. Thes e broad patterns of hi story can occur across state lines, throughout regions, and extend beyond the job description of a state preservation officer or special interest group. Professionals within preservation have a responsibility to cultivate a shared understanding among spec ial interest groups, classes of people, and across state lines about the layers of significance that a structure can have. The quality of significance in American history, architec ture, archeology, engineering and culture is present in di stricts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and a ssociation. (Murtagh: 2006, 181) This definition of significance forms the founda tion of this investig ation of the Edwards Hotel.

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18 CHAPTER 5 CONTEXTUAL SUPPORT The historical significance of the built envi ronment far exceeds architectural style. It extends into social, cultural, and even pol itical histories of a place. For this reason, contextual information, even about events th at may not have taken place inside the four walls of the structure, can provide meaning to it. Architectural c ontext can explain the development of a particular movement in bui lding style. A building that has elements consistent with the patterns of that style can be better understood, even if the contextual examples are in another region. Likewise, cultural context can provide insi ght into architectural characteristics as, for example, that of the Quakers and their aver sion to displays of we alth. This religious organization produced characteristically modest structures that are better appreciated within their cultura l context. Economic context can be especially helpful when looking at the development of a site and the structures on it. Fluctuations in period of construction, particularly within groupings of buildings can be a reflection of times of economic hardship or success. Political context in th is study, paired with social and historical context, will be of particular value when explaining the role that the Edwards Hotel played in Jackson, the State of Mississippi, and the Deep South. Finally, case studies from Louisiana, Florida and Alabama will provide a regional context that places the Edwards Hotel in a grouping of equally significant structures.

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19 The Hotel as an American Tradition Though this study focuses on the first decades of the twentieth century, the role of the capital city hotels within the political arena is not confined to these dates. At the time of Americas founding, European royalty was characteristically unapproachable. The humble beginnings of our nation set a standa rd of approachability within American government that has only recently been drastically changed for purposes of national security. The concept of lobbying was born of this approachability. In Washington, D.C., the Willard Hotel began it all. Nathaniel Hawthorne described it best: This hotel, in fact, may be much more justly called the center of Washington and the Union than either th e Capitol, the White House, or the State Department. You exchange nods with governors of sovereign states; you elbow illustrious men, and tread on the toes of generals; you hear statesmen and orators speaking in their familiar tones. You are mixed up with office seekers, wire pulle rs, inventors, arti sts, poets, prosers until identity is lost am ong them. (Edsall: 2004, 1) Like Americas beginnings, the Willard Hotel was a modest collection of humble dwellings. The 1816 row house-style guest ro oms were given a common faade in 1850. The business-savvy Henry Willard recognized his Pennsylvania Avenue address as marketable to a certain clientele. Sin ce 1850, the hotel has serviced the Countrys powerful and their companions. This includ es every American president beginning with Abraham Lincoln. As noted to the visitors of the now m eticulously restored Willard Complex, this hotels lobby was the favorite post-Oval Office respite for President Ulysses S. Grant (Edsall: 2004, 2). Businessmen and power brokers began vying for the Presidents attention and support on a wide spectrum of issues while he reclined w ith cigar and brandy in the hotel lobby. Gran t described these men, without realizing the terms future permanence in the American vocabulary, as lobbyists (Edsall: 2004, 2).

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20 Since the nineteenth centur y, hotels have been observed as a distinctive cultural element in America. And, though not limited to political significan ce, the National Trust for Historic Preservation also recognizes the contribution to American history and culture that historic hotels make. In 1989, the National Trust, the national, non-profit organization, established Historic Hotels of America, an organization which identifies and grants membership to hotels on or elig ible for status on the National Register of Historic Places. The membership is not disc riminatory based on size, rates or ownership, but hotels must have faithfully maintained their historic inte grity, architecture and ambience (Historic Hotels: 2005, 1). Based on the success of the program (there are over two hundred members in forty-one states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), supporters of the program say that historic ho tels bring significant value to the American travelers experience. This value is not entirely for the traveler. Popular investment magazines have begun to note the rising values of these histor ic hotels, even when compared with the numerous hyper-marketed modern hotels. Historic hotels had 10 percent higher occupancy rates than the national average over th e last several years. They also reported rates of $165, more than double the nati onal average (Chapman: 2006, 1). These statistics suggest that many patrons consider sense of place is worth the often significant price difference. Historical Context: The Deep South With this general background and histor y, attention should be turned towards providing a more detailed context within which to examine the case for the Edwards Hotel. The contextual information will illustrate the importance of place not merely time. The South at the time of the hot els height of si gnificance, 1890-1940, was

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21 distinctly different than th e northern and western United St ates. Several of the founding states of the Confederacy, pa rticularly Georgia, Florid a, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, are often in history and literature referred to as the Deep South. Socially, attitudes about race, tensions left from th e Civil War and Reconstruction, and strong ties to religion epitomized living in the Deep South. Economic ally, industry and oil were struggling to find their place amongst the agricultural dependency in the region. Politically, Prohibition and a t ug-of-war between the old way of life and the new created new parties and new party lines. A brief review of each of these aspe cts of turn of the century life in the Deep South can paint a clearer picture. Socially, the South the time of signifi cance of the hotels is dealing with the consequences of the loss of the Civil War, a nd the loss of its legal ownership of a human workforce. In the 1890s, Jim Crow laws we re developed beginning segregation laws throughout the South. While southerners esta blished these regulati ons to refrain some control over the recently freed slaves. In th is way, the South is completely backwards from the Northern social structure. This is due to these struggles to evolve from a time that is rooted in a caste system with an abundance of free manual labor (Ayers: 1992, 233). The migration of blacks out of the Jim Crow South is essential to Southern social structure in the first decades of the twentieth century. Th ere was nothing short of a mass exodus of blacks from the South to the North to escape the tensions and lynching laws of the South (Ayers: 1992, 212). This Great Migra tion of blacks was due in large part to greater job availability in th e urban, more industrial northe rn locations during and after the First World War. Because of World War I, the South is forced to come to terms with

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22 a disappearing work force, making a compara tively less progressive part of the country suddenly desperately interested in newer t echnologies and industr ialization (Ayers: 1992, 216). Technology begins to make its way into the South. From 1900 to 1949, the South also differed economically from the North. The Civil War, although decades before, had a di rect effect on the following century. The economics of the South after emancipation shif ted from slave-based capital to land-based capital (Wright: 1996, 7). The new capitalist la ndowners, used to free labor and for many decades following emancipation, were willing to pay very little for a workforce. For this reason, virtually no migration of workers o ccurred into the emancipated South. The Southern economy remained to tally distinct for nearly ei ghty years after the Civil War (Wright: 1996, 7). Economic dynamics in the South change d again in the 1930s. The New Deal ushered in forced changes in industrial wages. After this, the once economically backwards South began to more closely resemble the economic structure of the rest of the United States. This distinctiveness was gone after the labor and goods demand of World War II (Wright: 1996, 8). The economic distinc tions of the South prior to World War Two further set the stage for th e significance of th e early twentieth cen tury luxury hotel. The hotel is a reflection of the econo mic progress of the rural South. Since this study illustrates the political significance of the Edwards Hotel, a luxury hotel in the Deep South, understanding po litical context is es sential. The two sides of the southern political coin come down to this: on on e side, the view of the South as compared directly to the entirety of the nation; on the other, the independent development of each southern state and th e political battles th erein (Key: 1984, 11).

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23 Unlike the two-party system that dominates the present political arena, power in the South before the twentieth centu ry rested upon the Democratic Party. Distinctions within were not more than transient and amorphous political factionsill designed to meet the necessities of self-government (Key: 1984, 11). As an answer to this ill-fitting political system, the Populist Party emerged from the rural farmlands of the Deep South. What began as a series of alliances around the Deep South was forming into much more. This group, called the Farmers Alliance, began convening annually and started taking th e form of a political party more than a union of workers. These Southern farmers kne w change was inevitable, but held tightly to their dissolving way of life in light of industrialization: They were dismayed by the politics of sectionalism but proud of the Confederacy. They were distrustful and contemptuous of black politicians but eager for black votes. They were hopeful about the (Farmers) Alliance but fearful about abandoning the Democrats. (Ayers: 1992, 249) This is not to say that Populists wanted a return to their fathers time, forsaking technology and progress. The Populists judging from their words and their backgrounds, wanted a fair shot at making a decent living as it was being defined in the Gilded Age (Ayers: 1992, 281). With this de sire as a motivating force, the Southern farmers at turn of the century sought reform through governmental office. Politicians began seeing opportunities in a broad, uncoordinated series of reforms called Progressivism (Ayers: 1992, 413). Within this series of reforms in the twentieth century was the incr easing control over corporations As new industries were established, legislators saw new opportunities but also new threats. Foreign (meaning Northern) corporations promised wealth and progress to the Deep South. Rural

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24 Southerners looked to their (oft en equally rural) political le aders to weed out the bad apples within this influx of industry and change. Mississippi Politics Northerners, provincials as they are, regard the South as one large Mississippi (Key: 1984, 229). Southerners, eager to separate themselves from this distinction, place Mississippi in a class all its own. Some Southern states consid er Mississippi to be a place of still despairing civilization, wh ile other states view their po litical history as the sign of a backward culture. Both Northern and Southe rn states tend to regard twentieth century Mississippi as nothing more than a hotbed of racial intolerance. True, many political issues in Mississippi history in the twentieth century invol ve racism and segregation. However, the political factions in the stat e reflect its two distinctive regions and the socio-demographic differences associated w ith the predominant livelihoods in these regions. The Delta, a region of fertile soil that stretches out on either side of the Mississippi River, extends about two counties outward of the riverbank. This area was controlled by the wealthy, old money familie s of the antebellum period. Still profiting from cotton, these Mississippi elites used the marginally more ethical system of sharecropping in place of slaver y. In the early parts of th e twentieth century, the Delta produced one million bales of cotton each year, in some years a tenth of the American crop, and ranked at the top of the cotton-produc ing regions of the world. Their common battle against the River is in itself enough to unite the plan ters; but like men of property everywhere they are bound together in th e promotion and protection of their own interest (Key: 1984, 231). These interests are, in part, embedded in self-preservation. The best, most fertile soil in the state is in the Delta. These lands were maintained by the

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25 established hierarchy of the old Delta plan ter and the Negro, a nd any influx of new, roughneck whites was considered a disintegra tion of the system and a dilution of its purity. Meeting the eastern edge of the Delta is a less refined, non-pedigreed lineage living in the Hills of Mississippi. These significantly less successful, predominately white tenant farmers worked the less fertile soil s of the rest of the state. The rednecks from the Hills were embittered by the class system that bound them to the land, and the financial success denied them by the Delta planters, who employed predominately black tenants. The Hills are supposed to be the habitat of the redn eck, the white tenant farmer, the lesser white farm-ownerthe hard est labor produces onl y the most miserable livelihood. The white must eke out a liveli hood on the farms of the Hills (Key: 1984, 231). Though outnumbering the Delta planters in overall population and farm acreage, the combined poverty of the Mississippi hill s kept these farmers from improving their situation with consistent political power. Thus the delta region had the benefit of political power in many electi ons. The state as a whole was still rural. Only twelve towns exceeded 10,000 people in 1940, and these towns served as supply points for surrounding agricultural regions. Legislator s from hill counties were often farmers themselves, though it is difficult to say how many since many self-proclaimed farmers were actually primarily lawyers who listed them selves as lawyer and farmer, perhaps to better appeal to their constituents (Cresswell: 1995, 12). Neither group, the Delta nor the Hills, had a distinct political faction to identify with. They both voted Democr at, as did nearly every Southern state at this time.

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26 From campaign to campaign divisi ons among voters changea fluid factionalism. The political life-cycle of a southern Senator may follow an often-repeated sequence. He manage s to get himself elected, perhaps by a rabble-rousing appeal, and then build s his fences so well with moneyed interests that no opponent can raise a campaign fund large enough to make much of a fight against him. Reelection succeeds reelection without serious contest. (Key: 1984, 247) Even though these divisions among voters exis ted, it was usually not enough to replace the lawmaker in power. In this way, state senators from Mississippi become incumbents, wielding extensive control over their counties, voting in likeness w ith one another to advance their individual or regional powe r. The Mississippi Legislature become a powerhouse of representatives from the Delta and the Hills, butting heads and meeting secretly to strategize for battle on th e floor of the Senate or House. The Delta and the Hills did not differ so lely in matters of economics. Wealthy Delta dwellers were reputably wetagains t alcohol prohibition in the state. Wealthy, more gentlemanly elites in this part of the state saw no problem with an activity they considered social. In the Hills, prohibition gave fuel to a growing Protestantism movement in the Deep South. Fights over prohibition pulled peopl e into the political debate who had been generally excluded from politics and fed into the anxieties of the times (Ayers: 1992, 178). The preachers of the Hills fight the demon rum and their followers vote for prohibition, while the sinfu l Delta votes for li quor. Walter Sillers, former Speaker of the House and Delta dwel ler from Rosedale, Mississippi, recalls traveling to Jackson for sessions by train wi th legislators from around the state.

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27 Everybody on the train was bound for the Edward s House and there was lots of wit and humor exchanged. They used to kid me about being from the wicked delta and in fact they would go even farther and say I was from the center of iniquity, Rosedale (Stroupe:1960, 2). Jackson History The period of significance for the Edwards Hotel parallels a period of significance in Jacksons history. The period from 1890 to 1940 pushed the capital city and the state of Mississippi into an industrial era that was already in progress in st ates in the North. Agricultural and industrial changes occurred around the state. These statewide events affected Jackson and can illustrate its progres s. Specifically, the significance of this period is quantified in terms of population, transportation, in dustry and policy changes. Jacksons growth in the last decade of th e nineteenth century was, in large part, a result of black in-migration from rural areas. The newcomers increased county population by 33 percent, bringing the Jack son population in 1890 to approximately 6,400. Of these, over 71 percent were black (United States Census Bureau: 1890). The citizens of Jackson in the late nineteenth century experienced the development of Jim Crow. This affected the entirety of the Deep South but by 1890 was paired with a new state constitution in Mississipp i that further disenfranchised blacks. Racial segregation was upheld strictly in Jackson and affected nearly every aspect of life in the state capital. These racist attitudes, now legitimized by la w, set the tone for social and political activities during the next half century in Jackson. City leaders in Jackson t ook active steps to bring industr y into the city during the last decade of the nineteenth century. In 1895, the Jackson Board of Trade began raising money from local businessmen and investors to attract new industry (Jaeger, 23). These

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28 marketing programs paired with incentive programs were successful in recruiting business to Jackson, but freight costs from railroads prev ented Jackson from becoming the regional city that it had envisioned itself as before the turn of the century. Until 1922 regulations that standardized ra tes, freight costs in Jackson were higher as compared to considerably more competitiv e rates of steamboat operations along the Mississippi River, in towns like Vicksburg, Mississippi (Jaeger, 24). The slow progress was not for lack of railroads. More than a dozen passenger tr ains and many freight trains arrived and departed daily on the rail lines that conve rged from across the state at the depot downtown. The city self-proclaimed Jacks on has become a great railroad center (1884). An increased number of travelers by rail had a positive effect on the citys hotel industry, which flourished around the depot. Th e Edwards Hotel is directly adjacent to where the station still stands. Figure 5-1. View of the Jackson Tr ain Depot from the Edwards Hotel (Photograph by Charlene M. Eiffert)

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29 An increase in downtown vis itors was more than a result of an increased number of travelers from around the state. Transpor tation for citizens of Jackson also improved with the reorganization of the electric streetcar system in 1890. The company, originally known as the Jackson City Railway Company, was restructured under the name Edwards Hotel and City Railroad Company. The Presid ent of the streetcar lin e was also the owner of the Edwards Hotel (Jaeger, 30). By 1898, another streetcar line was authorized by a city ordinance allowing Jackson Light, Powe r and Railroad Company to operate another system in town. To Jacksonians, streetca r improvements were a sign of prosperity and progress. The first evidence of renewed pros perity are shown in the new coats of paint the cars are taking on (1884). The citizens of Jackson looked for signs of progress all around them. With the turn of the century, grew from 7,816 in 1900 to over 21,000 in 1910 (Jaeger, 37). The inmigration of blacks from rural communities was balanced by the trends of the Great Migration, and the population stabilized. In the next ten years, the population grew by only 1,555 people. Streetcar suburbs to the we st and south of town became incorporated into the city limits, and by 1911 the city had doubled in size (Jaeger, 38). The new supply of citizens became useful in 1914 as the country became involved in World War I. Jackson became like most communities, engaged in the war industry and the ensuing industrial development was met with a ready workforce. By 1920, Jackson was no longer dependent on an agricultu ral economy; rather, it developed into an industrial and transportationcentered city. Once again, th ese changes were met with enthusiasm and proclamations of the w onders of progress and human achievement: Immense factories with smoke from their funnels towering heavenward attest to the great development in manufacturing activityFive railroads

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30 leading out in several direc tions are the arteries of trade that swell the bulk of commerce to immense proportions Miles upon miles of siding, spurs, etc. are being constructed in or near the city for the use of 37 manufacturing plants already in ope ration and other buildingKnockers, chronic grumblers and leeches have been buried or exported and only a live citizenship is in charge! (Jackson Board of Trade: 1904, 14) Socially, this period of twenty years, from 1900 to 1920, saw a transition in Jackson. The city moved from a system of informal social ne tworks and voluntary organizations to a system of formal clubs and organizations and professionalized city departments (Jaeger, 50). The citys elite and th e citys services were closely tied. These groups linked together for the development of green spaces and beautif ication of Jackson. As roads and railroads developed around J ackson, the progressive City Beautiful movement developed nationally (Jaeger, 58) Jackson showed evidence of this movement with the construction of its new, Beaux-Arts style Stat e Capitol Building in 1903, the installation of sidewalks, the de velopment of the Jackson Zoo in 1913 and Livingston Park in 1916. The 1920s in Jackson saw the contin uation of progress and industrial development. In 1922, the Interstate Comm erce Commission in Mississippi revised the freight rates for Jackson, making the transporta tion of goods to and from the capital more affordable. In the eight years following th e revisions, approximately thirty additional industries had come into Jackson, either ope ning new businesses or buying out struggling ones (Black: 1953, 315). The downtown streetscape changed dras tically in the 1920s in the leading wholesale and retail center of Mississippi (Jaeger, 70). For much of the decade, the downtown was largely under construction as th e city received several new high-rise buildings into its commercial center. On e of which, The Edwards Hotel, changed the

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31 streetscape dramatically when its developers demolished an earlier structure in 1923, resulting in a transition from a modest structure to twelve-s tory landmark within a year. The steel-frame hotel was a sign of progr ess and technological advancement. Its Chicago-style architectural composition intr oduced design elements and ideals not yet seen in the newly booming urban city. The a ddition of this hotel to the streetscape of downtown Jackson meant a new sophistication a nd legitimacy for citizens. Some felt its citizens should begin to act accordingly. When a child was injured fr om a misfired shot between two quarreling men in downtown J ackson, the daily newspaper spoke out against such uncivilized, frontiersman-like conduct: The people of Jackson need a new law. It shall be unlawful for any one to shoot at anotherand miss him between the hours of 7am and 12pm. The clinching argument against the practice is that Jackson cant afford to be behind the times and this habit is out of vogue in front of leading New York hotels. It just isnt being done in up-to-date towns. (1920, 2) The city also saw the construction of the Lamar Life building, completed in 1925. The Gothic Revival style building included a clock tower and terra cotta gargoyles and stood ten stories on the citys center avenue Capitol Street. The Lampton Building, another ten-story structure, opened in 1928 and provided the c ity with office space for its expanding industry. Finally, the eighteen -story Merchants Bank building and the nineteen-story Standard Life Tower were both completed in 1929.

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32 Figure 5-2. Steel frame of the Edwards Hotel, 1923 (Photograph in Mississippi State Historic Preservation Office, Edwards Hotel site file) During the 1930s, population increa sed 22%, from 42,282 in 1930 to 62,107 in 1940. Much of this population growth was a result of in-migration by failed farmers trying to survive the Depression years (W ilson and Ferris: 1989, 717). Farmers with cotton surpluses, unable to sell their product, would come to the Edwards Hotel and sell to those who could buy as much as they c ould buy and just hold it off of the market (McPhail: 1976, 49). The bales of cotton would sit stacked five to ten at a time outside of the Edwards Hotels drugstore, remembers th e barber who used to work in the hotel (McPhail: 1976: 50).

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33 While the rest of the country was suffering disastrous effects of the stock market crash, the discovery of natu ral gas in Mississippi gave Jackson the economic push it needed to survive the 1930s. The 1939 discove ry of oil in Hinds County, Jacksons own, furthered the economic growth of the city and state. Local o ffices for oil companies were established in Jackson, some in the Edwards Hotel. Industries were attracted to Jackson by the convenience of transportation, general location and labor supply. The oil discovery provided local materials yielding reduced rates in fuel. These reduced rates, paired wi th the ease of rail line transportation and inmigration of rural workers made Jackson in th e 1930s the central pla ce to purchase, sell, and ship livestock, produce, and other agricultur al products from the still very rural state of Mississippi. (Jaeger, 96). With the end of the 1930s came the end of an era in Jacksons history. Streetcar lines were removed and replaced wi th a bus system. New Deal legislation changed labor laws and melted the Deep South economy and labor force into conformity with the rest of the natio n. World War II broke out, removing men from industries around the city and state and ending the building boom around downtown. Jacksons growth and struggles during th is period, from 1890 to 1940, are unique to any other time in Mississippi history. Th e significance of the Edward s Hotel is built upon this foundation of historysocial, economic and political. After a discussion of the hotels past, the significance of the Edwards Hotel will be supplemented through a comparative study of regional hotels with simila r roles. This analysis will provide insight into the role of downtown capital city hotels within the South.

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34 CHAPTER 6 THE EDWARDS HOTEL A buildings significance is, in part, defi ned by the history of its site. This building is no exception. Predating the existing vacant structure was another hotel. This site has housed lodging establishments since 1861: three structures in to tal. The first, the Confederate House, was built by Major R.O. Edwards in 1861. Destroyed by Union troops in a fire in May of 1863, the site sa t vacant through the end of the Civil War. Construction was underway in 1867 for the Edwards House, owned by the same R.O. Edwards. The name Edwards has since been associated with every structure on the site. The earlier hotel remained in operation until 1923, when it was demolished to be replaced with a larger, more modern version. The new Edwards Hotel made news since the day it opened its doors. Hailed as the Most Modern in the C ountry in the headlines days before its grand opening, statewide media gushed over th e lobby that, upon entering, l eaves one almost appalled and smothered with the magnitude of its b eauty (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1). Every compliment available was given to the amen ities available to both guest and employee of the Edwards Hotel. One article gushes: The New Edwards is a thing of beauty and it will be a joy to the traveling publiceach room is equipped with the most comfortable bedsmost attractive viewsmost up-to-date app liancesthe complete electrically operated bakery prepared to supply th e most modern pastriesa complete ice cream plant and ice cream storage with the most modern freezersthe main lobby is not only electrically light ed but is provided with art glass overhead for day lightingthe main dining room is by far the most beautiful room of its kind. (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1)

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35 Jackson Develops The Edwards Hotel offered more to Jackson than aesthetics and modern amenities, especially when viewed in light of social and economic conditions in the Deep South at this time. The historical context of the hotels role in the socio-political history of Jackson previously discussed lends a fulle r understanding of this historic property. Also important is the role the hotel play ed in Jacksons development. A hopeful sentiment in Jackson accompanied the hotels construction and openi ng. This hotel could easily belong in New York, Chicago, or some other major American metropolis. No one seems to believe it possible that so much elegance, with such splendid taste could be possible in a hotel in a city the size of J ackson (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1). For the owners of the new establishment, the Edwards Hotel contributed to the dream of the citizens that Jackson would be one of the l eading cities in the South. In the rural, agriculturally-driven Deep South, this hotel wa s equated with progress. It earned the small capital city legitimacy at a time when th e South was struggling to socially justify itself, socially, politic ally and economically. In 1927, the Edwards Hotel welcomed Ch arles Lindbergh, who was elaborately and enthusiastically received as part of a plan to help spur Jacksons citizens to follow through with their ideas of building an airpor t (Jaeger, 80). The visit and the related fanfare truly inspires the ci tizensthe day after Lindbergh s visit, the city approved a special bond issue for the purpose of acquiri ng land. Within one y ear, the airport was constructed and dedicated. Re presentative Walter Sillers remembered Lindberghs visit to the hotel wellhe was decked out in a full dress suit and spent leisure time in the

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36 hotels civic club (Overby: 1967, 6). C itizens recall Lindberghs visit to the Edwards Hotel, not just Jackson, and attribute this visit to the progress of transportation in Jackson. Political Significance The site of the Edwards Hotel has a leg acy of political significance. In 1876, the Edwards House was already being advertised as a place for senators and representatives to take up residence while in Jackson, Mi ssissippi for legislative sessions (Edwards Hotel: 1976, 7). Captain H.C. Myers, Secretar y of State of Mississippi, stayed in the Edwards House in 1878. Walter Sillers Sr., Mississippi legislator and father of Mississippi Speaker of the H ouse Walter Sillers Jr., would stay at the Edwards House when he was in Jackson beginning in 1886. In 1900, stationary for the hotel reads Commercial and Political Headquarters fo r the State. From 1908 to 1909, while the Governors Mansion underwent remodeli ng, Governor Edmond F. Noel made the Edwards Hotel his official residence. The Edwards Hotel continued to hous e political happenings significant to Jacksons history well into the next decade. Before the 17th Amendment was passed in 1913, United States Senators were elected by the state legislature. In 1910, the legislature sat to elect a United States Senato r, and the distinguishi ng battle between the Delta and the Hills becam e clearer than ever. The careers of LeRoy Percy and Theodore Bilbo personify, even caricature, the chasm between the Delta and the Hills (Key: 1984, 238). W ith the impending 1910 election, the great Delta blueblood LeRoy Perc y saw no one currently volunteering to run that he deemed satisfactory. As his son de scribed it, confident that no Delta man and no gentleman could possibly be elected, Father c onsented to enter the race. The other four

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37 candidates slated to challenge the Hills ca ndidate, James K. Vardaman, dropped from the candidates list and threw their support behi nd the Delta planter (Key: 1984, 238). What followed was what is referred to as the secret caucus, which, according to Speaker of the House Walter Sillers result ed in LeRoy Percy defeating James K. Vardaman. Speaker Sillers, famous ringlead er of the Edwards Hotel caucuses and Delta man himself, deemed it the greatest hist orical events around the Edwards Hotel (Stroupe: 1960, 2). The decision was actually made in these caucuses, what Sillers described as a gathering of leaders who disc uss an issue and work out their differences so they know how to meet opposition on the House floor when the real test comes (Stroupe: 1960, 2). As predicted, the decisions and loyaltie s determined at the Edwards Hotel stood firm against opposition. Two months after th e election, Theodore Bilbo, a lieutenant of the defeated Vardaman, stood before the le gislature waving currency he alleged he accepted as a bribe to vote for Percy. Th e stronghold in the House was unrelenting, the charge proven untrue, and the representative from the Hills of Mississippi was saved by only one vote from expulsion by his fellow le gislators (Key: 1984, 239). The always dignified and currently victori ous Delta legislators, proud of the maintained results of their secret caucus labors at the Edwards Ho tel, settled for a heavy censure of Bilbo: Resolved, in view of the unexplai ned inconsistencies and inherent improbabilities in the testimony of Se nator Bilbo, his established bad character and lack of credibility, th at the Senate of Mississippi does hereby condemn his entire bribery charge. Resolved furtherthe Senate pronounces Bilbo as unfit to sit with honest, upright men in a respectable legislative body, and he is hereby asked to resign. (Key: 1984, 239) Later, using his persecution as a stepping stone in his politic al career, Bilbo went on to rally the people of his Hills roots. He won the governorship in 1915, again in 1927, and

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38 United States Senate seats in 1934 and 1940. The condemnation of Bilbo is expunged from all records in the Senate. The event is vividly remembered by part icipating members of the Edwards Hotel secret caucus. Also remembered are the al tercations resulting in the Edwards Hotel lobby. Guests recall seeing legislators and dele gations mad as a wet hen with Bilbo here in the lobby. They would be shaking thei r fingers in his face and giving him down the river (Overby: 1967, 6). Bilbo was apparen tly unshaken. Old Bilbo would just sit there and puff on his cigarhe would say just a few words and theyd all smile and hug him. Hotel residents remember not-so-happy endings to confrontations. There were even some brawls in the lobby. With politic ians there, there were some violent words and actions (Nagle: 1984, 1). The Edwards Hotel continued to serve a political purpose. Eventually, the hotel became dependant on its legislative clientele during the otherwise slow winter months. When the original Edwards Hotel was demo lished in 1923, it was imperative that the new hotel be open before the first day of the ne w legislative session. Agreements were made with the railroad company, Illinois Central, wh ose tracks ran alongside the site. In order to transport such a massive am ount of material, a total of 975 freight cars averaging four cars of material a day were unloaded at th e site (New Jackson Miss.: 1924, 37). The construction and completion of the new Edwa rds Hotel took a total of ten and a half months, giving this Million Dollar Hotel the nickname Hotel Quickly Built. The nicknames should have mentioned th e role that lobbying played in the political events at the Edward s Hotel. Nearly all legislat ors stayed at the luxury hotel during legislative sessions, unlike the legisl ators of more recent times who stay in

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39 apartments or second homes around the city (Cossar: 1973, 3). This proximity, paired with adjacent offices of oil and transportation companies, offered an ideal location for lobbyists to mix with politicians w ho were in legislative session. With the discoveries of oil being made around the state in the first half of the twentieth century, stakes were high for the oil industry. These industrial tycoons found themselves up against the Populist Partys c oncern for the rural farmer, under whose land oil was being found. Legislators from these counties tended to support a greater profit sharing between the oil companies and the land owner, and these legislators nearly always voted together. During sessions of the legislat ure, some of the people in the oil and gas industry, in return for friendl y treatment of legislation, pa id the hotel bill and tabs for legislators (Minor: 1974, 2). As mentioned, legislators voted as a result of activities at the Edwards Hotel. The 1916-1944 member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and eventual Speaker of the House Walter Sillers took up residence in the hotel during sessions. From his corner suite 601, he would hold private caucuses in the evenings with ei ghty-two members of the House banded together. Said one legislat or of the time, we met and mapped out our strategy as to how we were going to meet the various problems, and we all stuck together (Junkin: 1975, 14). Former legisl ator John Junkin spoke of the power this group had when they organized: Legislator Thompson McClellan would get up and hed say Anybody here now that dont believe in going along with what were going to do, now is the time to leave (Junkin: 1975, 14). Examples such as these have led many to comment that more laws were passed at the Edwards Hotel than on the floor of the Senate. Sillers himself has asserted that E verything that happened in politics, at the

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40 State Capitol and around the legislature basi cally began at the Edwards House (Stroupe: 1960, 2). Says one newspaper heading, there ar e three houses of the legislature: The Upper House, the Lower House and the Edwards House (Stroupe: 1960, 2). Social Side of Politics The Edwards Hotels political significan ce included legislators mixing business with pleasure. Politicians and the stat ewide elite came together on November 1st, 1909 at the original Edwards House. The citizens of Jackson, Mississippi hosted a banquet in honor of President William Howard Taft. Formal meetings and events such as this were not as frequent as they are for legisla tive groups now; not as many public commitments dominated a legislators sc hedule Minor: 1974, 2). Groups of friends from within the Senate and House would convene for long, leis urely breakfasts in the Edwards Hotel. One of the more popular breakfast clubs include d the Big Four in th e legislature in the 1930s: Walter Sillers, Tom Bailey, Joe Geor ge, and L.T. Kennedy (Junkin: 1975, 1). Sillers himself remembers more members. I remember we all used to eat breakfast together. There were Senator Roberts of Bolivar County, Oscar Blesdoe, Tom Bailey, Lawrence T. Kennedyand many more (Stroupe: 1960, 2). Wyatt Sharp came to Jackson from the Delta in 1926 as a trombone player for the Edwards Hotels lunch and evening band, ente rtaining legislators and lobbyists. He explains that the hotel was where Jackson pe ople went to dine, a nd where the lobbying was done for the legislature (Nagle: 1984, 1). A ccording to legislator George P. Cossar, who entered politics in 1932, the social life usually revolved around the hotel rooms of the Edwards Hotel. They entertained practica lly every night...it wa s all centered around the hotel (Cossar: 1973, 8). The social scen e at the hotel made partygoers out of even straight-laced legislators. Its funnyfellows that wouldn t drink, come (sic) up here

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41 and drink after theyd be elec ted. I never saw so much whiskey in my life (McPhail: 1976, 16). Walter Sillers describes his fellow politicians as a funny lot, particularly with their words and their contradicting actions at the Edwards Hotel. Theyd cuss each other out in the paper th en go upstairs and drink together (Overby: 1967, 6). Politics and Prohibition With the turn of the century came a new focus on alcohol and its contribution to the problems in American society. Mississipp i made alcohol illegal in 1907, years before the federal prohibition law was passed in 1919. In the Edwards Hotel, however, it seems few took notice. Hotel employees would later no te that Prohibition wasnt in effect at the Edwards Hotel. Legislators would too: Lots of water has ru n through those hotel lobbies in all those yearsand often it was more than water that was flowing (Stroupe: 1960, 2). During the three-month sessions of th e legislature, whiske y would be stacked thirty cases high in the lobby. Lawmakers developed the habit of usi ng alcohol to their advantage when discussing upcoming legislation. One such pe rsonage was Walter Sillers, longest serving legislator in Mississippi and Sp eaker of the House. Eventually serving over 44 years, Sillers was regarded as the patriarch of all politicians at the hotel. After moving into the Edwards Hotel when elected in 1916, he ha d the reputation of handing out a drink or two to the little fellows to prepare them fo r a vote. When a Sillers-supported bill came up, Theyd be ready to vote! And they d pass the law! (M cPhail: 1976, 29). Walter Sillers also made good friends with the barber at the Edwards Hotel, Allen McPhail. In 1943, Sillers met McPhail at the Hotels drugstore and ten chair barber shop for a haircut and a drink. There, Sillers c onfided in McPhail that he was considering running for Governor (McPhail: 1976, 24). Sille rs decision not to run was based on the

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42 hot-button issue of Prohibition around the State. A month after their drugstore drink, Sillers told McPhail, Im for whiskey bei ng legalized. I dont like this way theyre doing it a bit. Im wet, and Ive talked to people and they said, you know, that it wouldnt do any good to run (McPhail: 1976, 31). In the later years of Prohi bition, greater care was take n to protect the goods from being confiscated or broadcas t to pro-Prohibition hotel guest s. In the 1930s, the Hotel kept a whiskey room, and a Negro named Ga les Foster, the night porter, kept the key (Butler: 1976, 19). The room was located on the west end of the main floor, midway among the twenty sample rooms, in a closet. Legislators coming in for the beginning of a session would bring along their supply of li quor, and staff at the Edwards Hotel would assist them in unloading it (Abney: 1975, 3). Guests could request a glass from the dining room, but were encouraged to drink in their rooms. This practice became so popular, that objections were be ing made by other hotel guests because they got so open with iteverybody knew what was going on (Butler: 1976,19). To maintain appearances, the hotel began insisting that guests ignoring Prohibition laws ask for cups instead. The presented evidence suggests th at the Edwards Hotel played an important role in the social and politic al development of Jackson, Miss issippi. This idea lends further significance to the structure. In th e following chapters, facts about similar hotels in capital cities around the Deep South will be investigated. These case studies provide a means of discovering similarities and differences in capital city hotels, and investigating regional patterns of Southern urban development.

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43 CHAPTER 7 CASE STUDY A: THE HEIDELBERG HOTEL Beyond the specific histories of the Edward s Hotel and its predecessor and its role in the city of Jackson and Mississippi, the Ed wards Hotel reflects a broader significance. It is part of a regional tradition found in si milar structures in ot her parts of the Deep South. Connected by a shared historic context, these structures are located in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida and form a network of si gnificant structures with a shared history and role in state politics. By examining the history of these other politically-centered hotels in the Deep South, the Edwards Hotel reaches its fullest potential in its contributions to the broad patterns of Southern and American history. The most effective illustration for comp arison to the Edwards Hotel comes from perhaps the most predictable resource for political fascination in the Deep South: Louisiana, and its Heidelberg Ho tel. Like the site of the Edwards Hotel, the Heidelbergs riverfront address once held a mansion-hot el. Built in 1825, the Bonnecaze similarly hosted dignitaries and political celebrities and developed a reputation for accommodating them. Most famously, the structure was fre quented by the twelfth President of the United States, Zachary Taylor, who stayed in Bat on Rouge in 1845 (Reed, 1). More fortunate than the original Edwards House, this structur e survived the Civil War. In 1927, just four years after the Edwards Hotel was built on th e razed surface of its predecessor, the old mansion was razed to make room fo r the luxury hotel, the Heidelberg.

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44 Figure 7-1. The Heidelberg Hotel in 1928 (Photograph from Louisiana State Hist oric Preservation Office site file) The Heidelberg Hotel was, like the Ed wards Hotel, the rural states first Million Dollar Hotel (Reed: 1977, 1). The rent its ve ry first year in operation was a sky-high five dollars a night. Like the Edwards Hotel, the Heidelberg Hotel had in-house amenities: a private drugstore, a beauty salon and modern dining facilities. Its proximity

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45 to the railroad station and the state capital ear ned it the in-state reput ation as a social and political mecca almost immediately. Baton Rouge in the 1920s and 1930s was unde r the rule (a word carefully chosen for its imperial overtones) of Huey P. Long, a man both famous and infamous in the state and region. Much like Missi ssippis Governor Theodore Bilbo, Long was a product of the rural, impoverished Louisiana heartla nd. He won his political power by being a governor of the common people, harshly answering critics and coercing his opponents using whatever tactics necessary. Like B ilbo, Long was directly associated with the luxury hotel in his capital city. Telling hi s wife he simply was not meant for normal family life, Long took up residence in Baton R ouges Heidelberg Hotel, in spite of the newly built Governors Mansion (White: 2006, 115). He had a notorious obsession with monitoring and furthering his power in the state, and the Heidelberg Hotel was the primary location for chaperoning of peers and opponents. From there he lived his public life, received guests and press, and wrot e extensively, includ ing his autobiography Everyman a King ( Figure 7-2) (Reed: 1982, 6). Figure 7-2. Huey Long received press and asso ciates in the Heidelberg Hotel, where he lived a public life. Seen here, Long at wo rk in his pajamas at the Heidelberg. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Depart ment of Archives and History)

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46 Most memorably, the Heidelberg Hotel was th e site of the state capitol, if only for a brief time. In 1930, Governor Huey Long w on a seat in the United States Senate. Having broken with his lieute nant governor, Paul Cyr, s oon after their gubernatorial election, Long waited nearly two years to take hi s oath of office in the Senate to prevent Cyr from taking over the governorship (Williams: 1970, 212). After the 1932 gubernatorial elections secured the victor y of Alvin O. King, Longs hand-picked successor, Huey Long traveled to Washingt on to take his oath of office, with instructions for King in Baton Rouge to immediately be sworn in (Reed, 1977, 3). Before this could happen, Cyr impetuously declared that Long had vacated the office by his election to the Senate and a nnounced that he would set up his seat of government in the Heidelberg, from whic h he would govern as the States chief executive (Reed: 1977, 3). The Heidelberg was Cyrs second choice to the Capitol itself, but he was barricaded by guards from entering the building. On January 3, 1932, Cyr issued a formal proclamation listing Long s misconduct, recounting the events he felt earned him governorship and announcing I do now proclaim that the seat of executive government of Louisiana is now established, pending the pres ent insurrection, at Room 443, Heidelberg Hotel, in the city of Baton Rouge, where I will maintain my executive office as governor. Either myself or Leon Gray, my secretary, the secretary to the governor, will be found there at all times. (Cyr: 1932, 1) The Heidelberg did not stay the seat of power in Louisiana for too long; for, upon hearing this news, Huey Long called the manager of the hotel and had the self-proclaimed governor evicted from the hotel. More of Huey Longs enemies took up residence in the Heidelberg Hotel. Oil discoveries were creating big business in Loui siana, as was happening across the South at

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47 the time. Just as in Jackson, Mississippi, th e oil industry expected legislative assistance to further its success. Presiden t of the Louisiana division of Standard Oil, Daniel Weller, paid $25,000 for an apartment on the top floor of the Heidelberg Hotel. Weller paid a lobbyist known only as Jim who was to be responsible for the courting of the legislators. Unfortunately for Weller and Standard Oil, Jim was a Long loyalist and maintained full disclosure with him thr oughout the legislative se ssions (Reed: 1977, 3). He had the unsuspecting Weller reserve the entir e tenth floor of the Heidelberg Hotel for Standard Oil, and was able to steal time between floors to keep Long fully aware of what was going on (White: 2006, 199). These are just a sampling of the political happenings at the Heidelberg Hotel. Huey Longs son, Senator Russell Long, recogni zes the contribution the hotel made to Louisiana: Prior to the days of legislative refo rm, committees held caucuses, political deals were finalized, and compromises on important pieces of legislation were hammered out in the privacy and comfort of the Heidelberg. Oftentimes, the vote on the floor of the Louisiana Senate and House merely confirmed a decision made earli er in an informal meeting in the Hunt Room bar (in the Heidelberg Hotel). (Reed: 1977, 4) The Heidelberg, deserving of independent focus and research, serves he re to illustrate the distinct role that the downtown capital city hotel played in Deep South politics during this time. As supplementary evidence of the ro le these structures have played, it lends significance across state lines to the Ed wards Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi.

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48 CHAPTER 8 CASE STUDY B: THE CHEROKEE HOTEL The Cherokee Hotel is cited in picture and text alongside the greater commercial buildings and homes of late ni neteenth and early twentieth century Tallahassee (Figure 81). Described as the Pride of Tallahassee, the hotel was the temporary residence of legislators and the choice of other elite vis itors to the states ca pital (Dunn: 1974, 140). The hotels dates of highest use, the early 1920s through 1940, are consistent with the Edwards House and the Heidelberg Hotel. Also consistent are the descriptions in local newspaper articles detailing ev ery exciting step in the proc ess to the opening of this progressive, modern, luxu ry hotel. Tallahassees Daily Democrat detailed the days leading up to the opening, sharing with its readers the modern kitchen equipment and everything else of the latest and improved t ype that was being place d in the four-story structure (Opening Date for the Cherokee, 1924). The morning after its opening, the paper asserted The Cherokee hotel became a West Florida institution last night (Hotel Cherokee Opens, 1924). This instant landmark status is consistent with the previous case studies, particularly the Edwards Hotel. Consistencies also exist with relation to attention given to modern facilities and amenities. Attention given such luxuries assisted in separating hotels like the Cherokee Hotel from its more moderately-priced counterparts. Also separating it from other institutions was the attention given by statewide industrial and political leaders.

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49 Figure 8-1: The Cherokee Hotel (Photograph courtesy of Florida Depa rtment of Archives and History) William Lee Popham, described as a poet, author, promoter and developer, had ties to the Cherokee Hotel. The pioneering O yster King and developer of St. Georges Island had an influence in Florida that was immediate and that re sonates through the end of the twentieth century (Rogers: 1998, 266). A candidate, though unsuccessful, for Floridas House of Representative in 1922, Popham became Mayor of Apalachicola in 1923, with the opposition receiv ing only two votes. Charged with fraud in 1923, the local stir created by his trial prompted Popham s lawyer to petition for a change of venue. All involved personages in the trial moved into the Cherokee Hotel in Tallahassee, where they stayed until his conviction. Before bei ng sent from the Cherokee Hotel to a federal prison in Atlanta, Popham was considered the lead candidate for the governors race in Florida (Rogers: 1998, 289). The Cherokee Hotel also had a politically significant role in the 1926 Senatorial race in Florida. The election and its primaries are referred to as having more possibilities for the state of Florida than most any ot her election (Flynt: 19 63, 142). Jerry Carter,

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50 called Mr. Democrat, accepted th e nomination to run, stating th at the state needed to be represented by a vigorous man of progressive ideas (Flynt: 1963, 145). In what can be interpreted as a reflection of his progressive nature, Carter formally announced his campaign headquarters would be the Cherokee Hotel. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 came just fifteen years too late for the Cherokee Hotel in Tallahassee, Florida. This hotel, once located in the heart of downtown, was demolished in 1951. Since its demolition predates site files and National Register nominations, State Archives and Hi storic Preservation offices come up empty handed when asked about this piece of Florida s state history. When placed within the context of this study, the hotel belongs to a network of politically significant hotels in the first parts of the twentieth century Deep South. Its loss seems suddenly tragic. Evidence for significance, though initially seeming minimal, comes greatly from its context within the fabric of the preWorld War II political Deep South. Based on patterns of history during this time and with in this region, significance can be assured. Equally assured, Tallahassee a nd the Deep South alike are re miss for the loss of such an asset.

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51 CHAPTER 9 CASE STUDY C: THE JEFFERSON DAVIS HOTEL Alabama is Mississippis rural neighbor a nd rival for the most frequent target of Southern stereotypes. Often called the twin states because of geographical similarities, the two states share much more than state lines and coastal access. Alabama shares Mississippis rural history, ag ricultural beginnings and ni neteenth century Populist sentiments. Moreover, Alabama supplements (and is supplemented by ) the Edwards Hotel and its regional significance. Alabamas capital city Montgomery boasts possession of a fitting addition to this studythe Jefferson Davis Hotel. Like the Edwards Hotel, the Jefferson Davis opened in the 1920s. Hopeful sentiments in Montgomery replicate those in Jackson, Mississippi at the arrival of the Edwards Hotel. As in Jackson, the new hot el was the states fi rst million-dollar hotel, with final construction costs averaging over 1.2 million dollars (Neeley: 1979, 2). Citizens and local journalists marveled at the most up-to-date engineering and amenities, and with due cause (Figure 9-1). Ju st as in the Edwards Hotel, guests had an available coffee shop, barbershop, caf and more without needing to leave hotel property. Entertainment was also provided by the colo rful interactions in the lobby of the hotel, with the politicians who frequented th e Jefferson Davis. As soon as its two-year construction was completed in 1929, it became the most popular place for legislators in Montgomery during Alabama legislative sessi ons (Neeley: 1979, 3). Governor George C. Wallace and attorney General Bill Baxley held events at the Jefferson Davis Hotel.

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52 These two politicians served their official elected terms after th e period of significance applied to the study of the Edwards Hotel, which may indicate an extended period of significance in this par ticular case study. Figure 9-1: The Jefferson Davis Hotel (Photograph from National Re gister Nomination form)

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53 CHAPTER TEN OBSERVATIONS In examining the Edwards Hotel informal by these supplementary case studies, important patterns emerge. Research on thes e structures yields results that, when combined, form a collection of capital city hot els that reflect a high level of historical significance. During this studys selected time frame, from 1890 to 1940, the Edwards Hotel has associations with broader regional c oncepts distinctive to the South. The hotel and its case studies also reinforce a need for greater cooperation among history and preservation professions. Industry Interaction The Edwards Hotel, as in its suppleme ntary case studies, is a location for the interaction of industry and polit ics. In some cases, industry representatives make these hotels their offices, indicators of profitable possibilities fo r the future, industrialized South. At the Edwards Hotel, Standard Oil Company paid for hotel rooms for legislators of more rural backgrounds and modest means. They also paid rest aurant and bar tabs, and provided women for the legislators. The president of Louisianas division of Standard Oil also had an apartment in Bat on Rouges Heidelberg Hotel and at one time occupied an entire floor of the hotel. Floridas Cherokee Hotel housed politician and oyster industrialist William Lee Popham as well as all related parties for his trial, due to the local stir it caused. Perhaps this reloca tion served dual purpose: to secure face time with other state politicians before Pophams impending gubernatorial election.

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54 Unofficial Creation of Legislation Patterns appear within the research suggesting th at these hotels provided a location drafting, discussing and finalizing legislation. As seen in the Edwards Hotel, legislators admit to creating and informally voting on legislation from the suites of the hotel. Caucuses held in the Edwards Hote l among well-organized legislative alliances decided what legislation woul d be supported in the following days sessions. Extensive review of the Baton Rouge case study shows c onsistencies with this pattern of events. Chapter Nine reviews Russell Longs evidentiary statement that decisions on the Senate floor merely confirmed decisions made at th e Heidelberg. Evidence is less explicit for the Cherokee and Jefferson Davis hotels. Howe ver, legislative residency within these spaces during the time of characteristically unreformed political activity and more casual methods of lawmaking warrants further investigation. Urban Justification An unexpected result of this study is th e pattern of urban justification that accompanies the opening of each of the hotels. Urban justification used as a term herein refers to the transformation in the eyes of th e citizens. The cities, with dirt roads and agricultural dependencies, now had a point of pride and, most importantly, a sign of progress. This is not to imply that Jacksoni ans looked to the Edwards for assistance with urbanization, rather that it acted as an indicator of the oncoming transformation to a legitimate urban environment. The Edward s Hotel is of steel-frame construction, a revolutionary concept that hailed from Chicago, reflecting modern architectural technology and thought. The same type of cons truction were used for the Heidelberg and

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55 Jefferson Davis Hotels. The facilities and m echanical systems in the Edwards are the most modern for its time and were announced in statewide publications as they were for the Heidelberg, Cherokee and Jefferson Davis. The words Million-Dollar Hotel are used time and again. The luxury hotel during the first decades of the 20th century played an important role in defining the Deep Sout h at a time where politicians and citizens felt like rural colonists in their own, quickly industrializing nation. Newspape r stories insisted that the Edwards Hotel was hardly believable in a ci ty and state of agricultural means. The Edwards Hotel gives its small capital city prestige and legitimacy. It serves as a source of pride and proof of a civilized society in a part of the country whose social structure was not easily understood by outsiders. Gilded Age Ideals Generally accepted dates for Ameri cas Gilded Age place its final years somewhere near the beginning of the twentieth century. Research cite d in the historical context chapter of this study, a nd in subsequent chapters that discuss industry and social attitudes, suggests Gilded Age ideals reach fu ll fruition in the Deep South during the time periods of the hotels construction (appr oximately 1920-1930). While the Gilded Age begins around the time of Reconstruction in northern urban areas (accepted dates for the Gilded Age, a term popularized by Mark Tw ain, are 1865 to 1901), there is a delay in progress in the South due to the extensive fi nancial and social co sts of unsuccessful warfare and geographical distance. In spite of this delay, characteristics of the Gilded Age are appa rent in the capital cities of the Deep South. The influx of railr oad construction in the United States is not reflected in the South until th e late 1880s. The influx of rural Americans into urban

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56 environments during the American Gilded Age is also notable in the South, though years after the accepted dates for the period. True, shifts toward s Jackson begin taking place in the black population in the immediate decades following emancipation, but this migration increases dramatically, by approxima tely 170 percent between 1900 and 1910. Urbanization after the end of the First World War shows signs of a decreased dependency on agriculture and a substantial in terest in railroad transporta tion and industry in Jackson. These trends accompany a significant jump in population and, moreover, resemble Gilded Age developments that had l ong since occurred in northern states. This shift to an industrial focus m eans appears in the period surrounding the Edwards Hotels construction. After the 1920s, Southern urban areas saw significant interest from a prominent corporation that emerged during the Gilded Age, John D. Rockefellers Standard Oil Company. There wa s similar interest from Standard Oil in Louisiana, as seen with the floors they occupi ed in the Heidelberg Hotel for proximity to policymakers. The Edwards Hotel during its period of significance stood as a center for political and social activity in Jackson, in a particularly progressive time in th e citys history. It was the location of business meetings am ong industrialists, and, for the citizens, legitimized Jackson. The hotel celebrated the achievement of a growing urban area and celebrated excessive luxury. The innovative st eel-frame construction, seen in Jackson for the first time in large scale, was a sign th at progress and prosperity was on the horizon. The construction of the hotel affected th e actions of those around it, as though it somehow silently demanded more polished beha vior. In these ways, the Edwards Hotel

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57 stood as a physical representation of the deve lopment of Gilded Age ideals in the Deep South. This concept also applies to the He idelberg, Cherokee and Jefferson Davis Hotels. Preservation and History There are larger implications of this study that can contribute to the overall understanding of the present preservation m ovement. The Edwards Hotel and buildings like it are of greater value to our national history than origin ally considered. There had not yet been a complete real ization of the contextual and thematic issues common among these prominent Southern hotels during this period. This lack of acknowledgement is an erro r shared by historia ns, preservationists and interest groups alike. Hi storians can be accused of a disassociation with buildings and their value, perceiving them as work fo r architects and historic preservationists. Preservation is often misunderstood, confused with the bricks and mortar preservation rather than encompassing broader con cepts such as cultural landscapes. Preservationists, in a desperate effort for local or National Regi ster listing, sift through facts and building materials until e nough evidence is found for a successful nomination. Perhaps for lack of funding or because of specific types of funding, activities following National Register listi ng focus on maintenance of the resource and education of the public. While these id eals are worth pursuing, a commitment to furthering an understanding of how the resource contributes regionally should also be a priority. While many can agree that this con cept is worthy of appropr iate action, regional patterns of history fall outside of the already congested job de scription of State Historic Preservation Officers. With loaded sc hedules and limited funding, State Historic Preservation Officers begin to resemble member s of a legislative body their first loyalty

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58 is to their constituents. Unfortunately, this ca n result in a lack of attention to significant preservation issues that extend beyond state lines. The greatest contribution to the preser vation movement can also be to its detriment. Special interest groups initiated the historic pr eservation movement, and their concerns about protecting th e past began the house museum and historic battlefield designations. Unfortunately, sp ecial interest groups are generally homogeneous in the composition of their members. Because of th is, the special intere st group, an overall asset to the preservation and American comm unity, tends to produce an inherently flawed product. The Edwards Hotel, for example, is undoubtedly a location that prostitutes frequented. There is little lik elihood that a potential benefact or to the interpretation of the site as a source of pride for Mississippi would wish to include information about prostitution and the social elite. The issue of handling unpopular or unflattering history is controversial, and the risk of losing releva nt facts about histori cal events is real. When any of these groups act independe ntly or pursue self -interests, even innocently, history becomes a segmental series of stories instead of a comprehensive and interrelated one. Selecti ng what perspective is best for a site, these groups categorize good history and bad hist orya dangerous concept. Further, built history and American history are likewise not two distinct conceptsor ra ther they should not be. Perhaps the greatest observation to be made from the study of the Edwards Hotels significance is that historic preservation can benefit from regional patterns in historyan idea that stretches beyond bricks and mortar a nd ties patterns and themes together that are more than similarities in building mate rials and ornamentation. There is an unquestionable, invaluable dependence upon hi story within the preservation movement.

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59 Too often preservationists forget that everything pertaini ng to humanity's development is grist for the historian's millthat however important and distinct architectural history may be; it overlaps with social, economic, urban, intellectual, and other forms of mainstream history. Conversely, historians forget too frequently th at places in the built environment and cultural landscape are documents that merit attention from scholars in fields far beyond architectural history. In short, preservationists and mainstream historians can learn from one another to a greater extent than is presently the case. (Striner: 1998, 137) As preservation expands to include new concepts, such as vernacular architecture, sense of place and intangible cu lture, history is at risk of being simplified and categorized to make room for new and popular preservati on priorities. The preservation movement must maintain a commitment to the most thorough methods of examining significance possible. This ensures structures such as the Edwards Hotel, and others like it, can contribute more fully to the present. Additionally, these hotels were a place for politicians to meet and make decisions. The ethical issues surrounding this type of policy-making are questionable at best, but they must be viewed in light of their illust ration of a period in history. This back room approach to lawmaking was cer tainly not new, nor is it now completely a memory; but, its location in the early twentieth century luxury hotel brings it to light in a new way that relates it to the built environment. Buildings can lend and receive significance fo r one another. This is a valuable concept to be taken from this study. Within Fl orida, the historic preservation offices have little information about the Cherokee Hotel. While attempting thorough research of the former structure, virtually no information was available to cont ribute to the study. Anything more significant than the few sent ences available in dusty old guidebooks of the city was considered lost information. Now with the similarities in times of

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60 construction, periods of signi ficance, and commonality of social climate, the Edwards Hotel and the others studied here provide th ematic material to build a case for the Cherokee Hotel. Further, for purposes of this study, the signif icance of the Edwards House in the Deep South can be more fully realized given the common and distinctive characteristics associated with it. Supplem ented by one another, these hotels achieve a depth of significance otherwise unachievable. Recommendations for Future Research The luxury hotels role in the Deep South has been established as significant for more than architectural value. By the end of the 1930s, the Edwards Hotel had a political subculture within the city of Jackson. Outs ide of the political arena, the citizens of Jackson saw their community legitimized by the construction and success of the structure. Similarities in case studies eval uated herein reinforce this idea as a trend across the region. Further study into the sim ilarities between the meaning that these structures gave to their urban environments and the ideals of the Gilded Age and Progressive Area may reveal a la ter influence of these Ages in the southern region of the United States. The Edwards Hotel saw its demise due in part to the migration of legislators to other hotels during desegregation. Politicia ns who would otherwise welcome blacks into their homes found themselves moving out of the Edwards during desegregation because of social pressures and the n ecessity of maintaining an a ppropriate public image (Abney: 1975). There was just one or two [politicia ns] that moved out and started the run and the rest of them had to go. Thats politics (Abney: 1975, 2). Further study is needed to identify the connections between desegregati on and the public and private buildings that were affected by it. This information can be beneficial to both historians and

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61 preservationists by providing information a bout the way whites and blacks interacted with their built environments during such a pivotal time in American history. This study focuses on a rural capital city within the Deep South. During the period of significance, Jackson and the case study cities were transitioning from agricultural centers to more urban and industrial envi ronments. Having identified the powerful role that the luxury hotel playe d, further study on more urban capital cities would be a beneficial contribution to th e body of knowledge on this subject. Luxury hotels in larger capital cities such as Atlanta were potentially received much differently. Information within a larger scope would aid in the understanding of the perception of the built environment during this time in Southern history. The Edwards Hotel, with the supplementary evidence provided by the Heidelberg, The Cherokee and the Jefferson Davis Hotels shows regional patter ns of significance within a certain time and social era. Regiona l patterns of history are not a new concept, but the association of these patterns with the buil t environment is underdeveloped. Further research should be done to understand the value of regional preservation efforts. The history and historic pr eservation professions can benefit immensely from the production of a model for best educating th e public on networks of structures across regions of the country. If thes e structures are primarily urba n (that is that they are not closely associated with a valuable parcel in the natural environment), new developments in understanding cultural landscapes may l eave these structures behind. Future study investigating opportunities with in the National Trust for Hi storic Preservation and the National Register of Historic Places, and the role of State Historic Preservation Officers may find ways to efficiently li nk regions together for the increased sharing of resources.

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62 APPENDIX A TIMELINE FOR THE EDWARDS HOTEL 1861: Construction of the Confederate House by Major R.O. Edwards. 1863: Civil War, General Shermans fo rces burn and destroy the hotel. 1867: Major Edwards begins rebuilding. 1868 : Edwards dies, property is completed, named Edwards House. 1900: Property is acquired by the Enochs Brothers. 1908-1909: Edwards House is official resi dence of Governor Edmond Noel. 1919: Enochs Brothers dissolves, hotel passes to Edwards Hotel Company. 1923: Old wood frame hotel is demolished, stee l-frame constructed Edwards Hotel is erected and opened. 1946: Hotel is reacquired by Enochs family. 1956: Dumas Miller buys the hotel property for one million dollars, renames it the King Edward Hotel, and begins renovations and re moval of many characte r-defining features. 1967: The King Edward Hotel closes. 1967: Standard Life Insurance Company buys the hotel. Hotel is placed on National Register. 1981: Hotel is sold to M.M. Laurence and D. Morley of Virginia for $500,000. 1991: The Jackson City Council name s the hotel a city landmark. 1992: William C. Windham and John S. Turner Jr. of Bossier City, LA propose a six million to seven-million dollar pr oject to convert the buildi ng into apartments for the elderly. The Jackson Realty Company pr oposes renovating the hotel as office space. 1995: Xanadu Limited of Detroit proposes to turn the hotel into a casino.

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63 1997: Renovating the hotel is included in a multi-million dollar Capitol Complex proposal to legislators. 1999: The Mississippi Telecommunications Conference and Training Center Commission votes 5-3 on January 19 to ne gotiate a contract with The Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin to devel op the hotel into a conference center. 2000: The Telecommunications Conference and Training Center Commission abandons plans to convert the hotel. 2001: City Council approves moving forward with legal action, including possible condemnation. 2004: The city acquires the vacant structure, be ginning the process of either renovation or demolition. 2005: The Jackson Redevelopment Authority approves a development package for the hotel, allowing HRI Incorporated of New Or leans, New Orleans Saints player Deuce McAllister, Matt Bataille of Mandeville, LA and Jackson Attorney David Watkins to do interior structural testing. The deal include s a 2 million dollar interest-free loan from the Mississippi Development Authority. June 15, 2006: Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, impa tient with the redevelopments progress, meets with billionaire investor from Texas, Gene Phillips although the project is under contract. The Mayor states that he w ill proceed with Phillips plan, which uses no public funds, if the currently contracted group does not begin work by August.

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Edwards Hotel Heidelberg Hotel Cherokee Hotel Jefferson Davis Hotel Date of Construction 1923 1927 Circa 1920 1929 Legislative residents Yes Yes Yes Yes Association with politician Wilson Minor, Governor Bilbo Huey Long Popham George Wallace and Bill Baxley Association with industry Oil, Transportation (railroad) Oil Popham, called the Oyster King is associated with the hotel. Social implications Activities not done in front of hotels in up-to-date towns (p.30) Site of entertaining for politicians and dignitaries Yescalled Pride of Tallahassee, became social institution overnight. Social events sponsored by politicians, dignitaries Current Condition Vacant Rehabilitation in progress Demolished in 1950s Rehabilitated Economic effects Yesfirst million-dollar hotel in Jackson Yesfirst million dollar hotel in Baton Rouge Yesfirst million dollar hotel in Montgomery Proximity to amenities In-house barber shop, restaurant, adjacent to railroad station, near capital building In-house restaurant, drugstore, beauty salon, near capital building Modern facilities, near capital building Modern facilities, near capital building 64

PAGE 76

65 LIST OF REFERENCES (1884, Sept 3). The Clarion. (1920, July 16). The Clarion-Ledger. (1923, Feb 14). An Opening Date for Cherokee Hotel Will Soon Be Made Public. The Daily Democrat (1923, Mar 1).Cherokee Hotel Will Probably Open Next Week. The Daily Democrat (1923, Mar 9).Hotel Cherokee Open s in Blaze of Social Splendor. The Daily Democrat (1923, Dec. 28). The New Edwards Hotel to Be Opened Saturday; Most Modern in Country. The Clarion-Ledger (1924, June). New Jackson, Miss. Hotel Quickly Built. Illinois Central Magazine, p.37. Abney, R. The Edwards Hotel, Jackson, Mississippi. Oral History Program Retrieved Feb 12, 2006 (1975, Aug 19). Ayers, E. (1992). The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction. New York: Oxford University Press. Black, W. (1953) Industrial Development in Jackson. The Story of Jackson: A History of the Capital of Mississippi 1821-1951 Jackson, Mississippi: J. F. Hyer Publishing Company. Butler, D. (1976, Feb 10). Edwards Hotel in Jackson Mississippi. Oral History Program Retrieved Mar 20, 2006. Chapman, P. (2006, Feb 26). Heritage Value Boosts Older Hotels. National Real Estate Investor Retrieved Mar 2, 2006. Cossar, G. (1973, Aug 16). Mr. Cossar's Career as a Legislator in the State of Mississippi. Oral History Program Retrieved Feb 12, 2006. Cresswell, S. (1995). Multiparty Politics in Mississippi, 1877-1902 Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi.

PAGE 77

66 Department of Archives and History, Louisi ana. Site file: Heidelberg Hotel. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dunn, H. (1974). Yesterdays Tallahassee E.A. Seeman Publishing. (Unknown Binding). Edsall, M. (2004, Jul 22). Away We Go: Hotel with a History. The Capital (Annapolis, MD) pp. E7. Edwards Hotel-National Register of Historic Places Invent ory Nomination Form. (1976). Jackson, Mississippi; Na tional Parks Service. Flynt, W. (1963). Florida's 1926 Senatorial Primary. Florida Historical Society 42 (2), 142-154. Green, H. (1988). The Social Constr uction of Historical Significance. Preservation of What, For Whom? Ithaca, N.Y.: The National C ouncil for Preservation Education. Groth, P. (1994). Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States Berkelely: University of California Press. Hayner, N. (1928). Hotel Life and Personality. The American Journal of Sociology 33(5), 784-795. Jackson Board of Trade. (1904). Jackson, The Capital of Mississippi Jaeger Company. From Frontier Capital to Mode rn City: A History of Jackson, Mississippis Built Environment, 1865-1950 Gainesville, Georgia: The Jaeger Company. Junkin, J. Mississippi Politics. Oral History Program Retrieved Feb 12, 2006 (1975, May 15). Key, V. (1984). Southern Politics in State and Nation Knoxville: University of Tennessee. King, D. (1957) The First-Class Hote l and the Age of the Common Man. The Journal of Southern Histroy 23(2), 173-188. Lynch, A. (2005, Aug 3). Grand Hotel: Does th e King Edward Have a Glorious Future? Jackson Free Press p. 17. Lyon, E. and R. Cloues. (1998) The Cultural and Historical Mosaic and the Concept of Significance. Preservation of what, for whom? Ithaca, NY: The National Councial for Preservation Education. Mayer, G. (2001, Mar 12).Future Bleak for King Edward. The Clarion-Ledger p. 6B.

PAGE 78

67 Minor, W. (1974, Jul 22). Polit ics and the Edwards House. Oral History Program Retrieved Feb 12, 2006 McPhail, A. (1976). Edwards Hotel and Politics. Oral History Program Retrieved March 15, 2006. Murtagh, W. (2006). Keeping Time 3rd ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Nagle, M. (1984, Apr 3). King Edward: Memories Life the Pall. The Clarion-Ledger p. 1C. National Trust for Historic Preserva tion. Retrieved January 18, 2006, from http://www.nthp.org. National Trust Historic Hotels of America. Historic Hotels of America Retrieved January 20, 2006, from http://wwwhistorichotels.org. Neeley. (1979). Jefferson DavisNational Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form Overby. (1967, July 2). King Edward Closes, Ends Era as Second Capital. Jackson Daily News. Reed, E. (1982). Heidelberg Hotel-National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form Baton Rouge, Louisiana. --. (1977). Her Name Has Changed But Romance Remains. Sunday advocate --. The Capitol House: Its History in Bat on Rouges History. Bat on Rouge, Louisiana. Rogers, W. (1998). The Power of the Written Word and the Spoken Word in the Rise and Fall of William Lee Popham Florida Historical Society 76 (3), 265-297. Striner, R. (1998). Determini ng Significance: Mind Over Matter? Preservation of What, For Whom? Ithaca, NY: The National Counc il for Preservation Education. Stroupe, P. (1960, June 27). 3 HousesUppe r House, Lower House, Edwards House. State Times p.2D United States Census Bureau. (1890). United States Census 1890 White, R. (2006). Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long New York: Random House. Williams, T. (1970). Huey Long New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

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68 Wilson, C. and W. Ferris. (1989). Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Wright, G. (1996) Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Louisi ana State University Press.

PAGE 80

69 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Charlene Eiffert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert David Eiffert, is a sixthgeneration New Orleanian. In 2001, Charlene graduated from St. Marys Dominican High School and began the Bachelor of Scien ce program at Mississippi State University in interior design. Her love of art and forei gn cultures led her to two minors, in art and Spanish. In 2003, Charlene spent a summer in Andalusia, Spain studying the history, architecture, language and culture of the country. Her degree was conferred in 2005, upon completion of a design internship at Hi storic Restoration, Incorporated in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she worked primar ily on adaptive use projects and compatible design for a Hope VI project in the Lower Ga rden District. Her four years of study in Mississippi coupled with Histor ic Restoration, Incorporateds role in the King Edward redevelopment initiatives are the source of her in terest in the history of the structure. In August of 2005, Charlene began her grad uate studies in Hi storic Preservation at the University of Florida in the Colle ge of Design, Construction and Planning. She traveled across the country to Portland, Ore gon and to Chicago, Illinois for a series of Preservation conferences. She worked through Christmas and Spring Break seasons in the Gulf Coast region, documenting historic structures damaged by Hurricane Katrina. With a team of her peers, she documented and disassembled a damaged residence known as the Hecker Cottage, slated for demolition, a nd placed into storage th e original structure with the intentions of finding an alternate s ite for its inte rpretation. These experiences

PAGE 81

70 afforded her the opportunity to share what she learned with the Historic Gainesville Commission at their annual Champagne Update in January of 2006. Upon completion of her summer spent with the Preservation Institute: Nantucket program, Charlene will seek employment opportun ities in the architectural and adaptive use aspects of historic preser vation. Charlene enjoys expand ing her modest architectural library and learning about foreign culture and dance. Her interests include early twentieth-century architecture, particular ly the Chicago School and Art Noveau, photography and New Orleans history and culture.


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Dedication
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    List of Figures
        Page viii
    List of Tables
        Page ix
    Abstract
        Page x
        Page xi
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Literature review
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Research methods
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Defining significance
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Contextual support
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    The Edwards Hotel
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Case study A: The Heidelberg Hotel
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Case study B: The Cherokee Hotel
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Case study C: The Jefferson Davis Hotel
        Page 51
        Page 52
    Observations
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Appendices
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    References
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Biographical sketch
        Page 69
        Page 70
Full Text












THE EDWARDS HOTEL:
SIGNIFICANCE AND THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE OF THE DEEP SOUTH














By

CHARLENE MARIE EIFFERT


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Charlene Marie Eiffert























To my parents















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank God for placing me in the right place at the right time: in a

loving family, amidst a supportive academic community, in Gainesville during Hurricane

Katrina and in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on March 15. So

many things in my life would be different if I were left to my own devices, so being in

good hands has everything to do with my success.

I thank my parents. I am especially grateful to my father for teaching me that I

can create my own future by the things I do today. Also, his lighthearted "study long,

study wrong" mantra has helped a perfectionist like me to stop myself when I have done

all I can. These two pieces of advice have taught me to never give up and to sometimes

just let it go: an odd pairing of concepts that, when applied correctly, are my recipe for

success. To my mother I am grateful for her constant encouragement during every

stressful moment of this process, and every one of life's processes so far. She has taught

me so much, particularly to use discouragement as a motivating force. Her role as my

friend is equal to her role as my mother. I love them both.

I thank my "chosen family." I thank Robby, my teammate, for making my

archival research worth every minute. I am so blessed to have someone who views my

successes and failures as his as well. I thank him for losing sleep when I do, and

celebrating victories big and small with me. His presence in my life is the best thing to

have come from this hard work.









I also thank my committee for their commitment to my success. I thank Professor

Peter E. Prugh for his compassion, his motivation and the way he has fostered my

dedication to learning. I am grateful to Dr. Kristin Larsen for illustrating the rewards of a

strong work ethic and for going beyond her duties time and again for many students,

myself included. I also thank Professor Roy Graham for keeping me on my toes,

challenging the status quo, and matching my ambition with opportunities.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF FIGURES ........................................... ............................ viii

LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................ .. ix

ABSTRACT ............................................................................. x

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION ................................................................ ............... ..1.... .. .....

2 LITERA TU RE REV IEW ..................... ................................................................5......

H otel L ife and P personality ....................................................................... .............. .5...
The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man .......................................6...
Living Downtown ........................ ........ ..........8....8

3 R E SE A R C H M E T H O D S .................. ....................................................................... 10

4 D EFIN IN G SIG N IFICA N CE ......................................... ........................ ................ 13

5 CON TEX TU AL SU PPO R T ................................................................... ............... 18

The H otel as an Am erican Tradition ....................... .......................................... 19
H historical Context: The D eep South...................................................... ................ 20
M ississippi Politics ............................................................................................... 24
Jackson H history ..................................................................................................... 27

6 TH E ED W AR D S H O TEL ...................................................................... ................ 34

Jackson D evelops............. .. .................. .................. ............ ........ .... ... ........... 35
Political Significance ..... ..................................................................... ............. 36
Social Side of P politics .... ... ......................................... ....................... . .......... 40
Politics and Prohibition ... ................................................................................ 41

7 CASE STUDY A: THE HEIDELBERG HOTEL.....................................................43

8 CASE STUDY B: THE CHEROKEE HOTEL............................................ 48










9 CASE STUDY C: THE JEFFERSON DAVIS Hotel.......................................51

10 O B SER V A TIO N S ............. .. .................. .................. ......................................... 53
Industry Interaction .... ........................................................ ...... ...... 53
U official C reaction of L egislation......................................................... ................ 54
Urban Justification..................... .. ........... ............................... 54
G ild ed A g e Id eals ....................................................................................................... 5 5
Preservation and History..................... ............... 57
Recommendations for Future Research....................................................60

APPENDIX

A TIMELINE FOR THE EDWARDS HOTEL ...........................................................62

B REV IEW OF H O TEL PA TTERN S............................................................. ............... 64

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ... ........................................................................ ................ 65

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................................... ................ 69















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1 Forty years of vacancy have taken their toll on the Edwards............................ 2

1-2 Neoclassical entryway of the abandoned Edwards Hotel........................................2...

1-3 An editorial cartoon generalizing public view of the hotel's significance.................3...

5-1 View of the Jackson Train Depot from the Edwards Hotel....................................28

5-2 Steel fram e of the Edw ards H otel, 1923................................................. ................ 32

7-1 T he H eidelberg H otel, 1928 ......................................... ........................ ................ 44

7-2 Huey Long received press and associates in the Heidelberg Hotel, where he lived a
public life. Seen here, Long at work in his pajamas at the Heidelberg................45

8-1 The Cherokee H otel ............................................................. .......... 49

9-1 The Jefferson Davis Hotel ............................................................ ...52









TABLE

Table page

B R eview of H otel Patterns ...................................................... .......... 64









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Architectural Studies

THE EDWARDS HOTEL:
SIGNIFICANCEAND THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE OF THE DEEP SOUTH

By

Charlene Marie Eiffert

August 2006

Chair: Peter E. Prugh
Cochair: Roy E. Graham
Major Department: Architecture

The Edwards House was the political center. I guess eighty percent of the members of
the legislature lived at the Edwards House. We could have our meetings there, our sub-
committee meeting. Well, "smoke-filled room" meetings

-John Junkin, Mississippi Politics


The future of the Edwards Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, vacant for forty years, is

the focus of discussion relative to downtown Jackson redevelopment efforts. The present

building, built in 1923, served downtown business and social needs, and as the residences

for lobbyists and politicians during legislative sessions at the nearby capitol. The

historical significance of the Edwards Hotel is currently being debated on the state and

local levels. However, state and regional significance, primarily due to the political and

cultural history of the Deep South has not been considered in discussions about the

hotel's future. The focus of this research is to explore the significance of the Edwards

Hotel in its local context and within the urban environment. Additionally, it investigates

the hotel's role in the urban environment and in the development of a capital city in a

primarily rural state in the Deep South.









The study will investigate significance within the historic preservation field by

looking at several definitions for it as seen across the profession. Oral histories and

archival research are employed to explore the history of the Edwards Hotel with an

emphasis on political and social significance to the state of Mississippi. Case studies

from Baton Rouge, Tallahassee, and Alabama will explore the hotel's significance to the

political landscape of the South, particularly in the first part of the twentieth century.

Based on the history of the sites and the hotel's period of significance as determined by

the National Register of Historic Places, the dates in focus for the study are

approximately 1890 to 1940.

This study is important to understanding the role of hotels in the development of the

urban South, because it explores the social and political significance of the Edwards

Hotel. The study contributes to the understanding of significance by expanding it to

include regional patterns. The research also reinforces the role of history within historic

preservation.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

This study examines the issue of historical significance, focusing on regional

history relevant to an historic southern hotel. An abandoned landmark hotel in the heart

of a small downtown in Jackson, Mississippi has been sitting vacant for forty years. The

structure, the former Edwards Hotel, is the subject of debate in metropolitan Jackson, as

redevelopment plans repeatedly failed to rally enough support and funding. Changes in

the political structure including a current mayor with a proactive approach to downtown

redevelopment have put the building, once one of Jackson's signature structures, in the

spotlight once again. Within the last year, the Mayor's office has threatened demolition

should plans for rehabilitation not take immediate shape. For this reason, the community

and its public officials are in need of the fullest understanding of the hotel's contribution.

The site was home to the original Confederate House hotel built in 1861, which

was replaced by a frame and brick hotel in 1868. In 1923 the current structure, the

Edwards Hotel, was built. In 1954, the hotel was purchased by Dumas Milner, who

removed many character-defining features, including a decorative stained glass skylight.

Interior features and spatial massing were altered, and the hotel was marketed as a

convention and business center renamed the King Edward Hotel. Milner's modern

convention center hotel, with rooftop pool and conference facilities lasted only until

1967, when the King Edward Hotel closed. Despite National Register status in 1976 and

city landmark status in1991, remains vacant to date. From 1967 to 2004 the King









Edward suffered from "false starts, empty promises and unfounded rumors from hotel

owners and half-hearted investors" (Lynch: 2005, 17).













Figures 1-1 and 1-2. Forty years of vacancy have taken their toll on the Edwards

(Photograph taken by Charlene M. Eiffert)

Suggestions for use include another hotel, demolition and mixed use

developments. As of 2004, the Jackson Redevelopment Authority approved a

development package for the hotel from a partnership that includes Historic Restoration,

Incorporated (a New Orleans renovation-based development giant), Saints running back

Deuce McAllister, and Jackson Attorney David Watkins. The structural assessments that

this partnership is currently undertaking are the closest the vacant King Edward has come

to redevelopment and rescue in nearly forty years.

Known by all in the community as the "King Edward," those who see any value

in it attribute it to nostalgia, a familiar landmark in a familiar part of downtown. Local

governmental support is low, and the mayor is growing impatient with the "eyesore",

now restricted from public access because of structural instability and health concerns. In

2001, Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes declared the King Edward "is only historical

now to the pigeons" (Mayer: 2001, 1).























Figure 1-3. Editorial cartoon generalizing public view of the hotel's significance.

The community sees the Edwards Hotel as a nostalgic artifact, while its

significance goes far beyond this concept. The Edwards Hotel: Significance and the

Political Landscape of the Deep Snui, examines the role that the structure played in

shaping Mississippi history. The Edwards Hotel is key to understanding the political

culture of Mississippi and the Deep South. Further, this study shows a pattern of these

hotels in capital cities across the region, and utilizes these structures to learn more about

the development of the South. The historical research presented here illustrates that the

hotel is significant to the cultural history and the heritage of Mississippi and to the

political landscape of the Deep South, particularly in the first part of the twentieth

century. In examining the Edwards Hotel and case studies in neighboring states, this

thesis outlines the significant role of such hotels in Southern, regional socio-political

history, and forms the basis for a thematic study of such hotels.

The study utilizes publications and census information to provide historical

context support for the Edward's Hotel. A series of oral histories were gathered to collect

accounts of happenings in and around the structure. Case studies are introduced and

developed to suggest the existence of a pattern across the Deep South. The hotels used as






4


case studies are from capital cities in states with rural, agricultural traditions: Baton

Rouge, Louisiana, Tallahassee, Florida, and Montgomery, Alabama. Together, they

illustrate the role of the luxury hotel in the development of a "legitimate" urban

environment and the progress of politics in the Deep South.
















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Literature regarding the habits of early twentieth century American hotel living became

available as early as the 1920s. There is less literature to be found on the political legacy

associated with these institutions, particularly for the southeastern region of the United

States. Several resources on these topics contributed greatly to this study. Among them

are "Hotel Life and Personality," which provides information on the behavioral

characteristics of hotel residents during the 1920s. "The First-Class Hotel and the Age of

the Common Man" explains the history of the urban hotel and its civic role. Living

Downtown observes similarities between social position and luxury hotels, and

investigates the role of the structures in the urban environment. This collection of

publications provides concepts for this study, which will focus on political patterns in the

Deep South, to build upon.

Hotel Life and Personality

The March 1928 publication of the American Journal of Sociology included the

Norman S. Hayner article "Hotel Life and Personality." The extensive article profiles

personality patterns in the hotel environment in the era of its publication and heralds the

hotel as "one of the great machines that serve men in this Iron Age" (Hayner: 1928, 793).

"Hotel Life and Personality" is separated into three parts. The first deals with

habits for travelers. Hayner finds that people who lived in hotels did so for freedom,

conveniences and protection. The second section contains a discussion of the types of








6

people who reside in hotels. Childless families and professional men are cited as primary

occupants. Hayner discovers that the individual grows "accustomed to living, eating and

all but sleeping in public" (Hayner: 1928, 793).

The third and final section of the publication describes the behavior of hotel

occupants while away from home. Hotel life, Hayner finds, is marked by a tendency to

act upon impulses rather than on the ideals or standards that he or his peers would

normally use (Hayner: 1928, 794). Men in hotel life "surely come in contact with life in

all its streaked regalia. They have caught prohibitionists drunk and reformers with

women" (Hayner: 1928, 792).

Hayner's research focuses primarily on characteristics of hotel life. Specific

attention is given to personality patterns in the hotel environment. This study explains

that these behaviors were manifested in the political realm during the time. Further, this

study illustrates how the political characteristics of hotel living lend significance to these

structures.

The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man

The Edwards Hotel is of political significance, but it also had a notable social

effect in the cultural landscape. Doris E. King's 1957 contribution to the Journal of

.S,,he ii History, "The First-Class Hotel and the Age of the Common Man," discusses

social implications of these structures, though her research fails to bring attention to such

patterns specific to the South.

Somewhat out of sequence, King eventually defines her term "first-class hotel"

with several characteristics, suggesting most should be present for first-class designation.

These characteristics include an imposing, public-looking building style, costly and









7

luxurious construction that is "awe-inspiring," independence from government

management, and operation by a well-trained staff or servants (King: 1957, 181).

King discusses the rise of the American hotel from the British-inspired taverns.

The study compares the hotels to British boarding houses, finding that American hotels

have more the architectural characteristics of public buildings, even architecturally. She

notes general British reactions to hotel life at the turn of the century. Generalizing this

reaction, King states that "Americans are by nature a gregarious people who loved to live

in public, to see and be seen, to hear and be heard" (King: 1957, 177). Thus, the

American "first-class hotel" has a specific social function.

The focus is not entirely of a comparative nature, as the first-class hotel is

classified as a "peculiarly American institution" (King: 1957, 175). King perceives the

story of the development of the first class hotel as "part of the story of the Rise of the

Common Man" (King: 1957, 173). Giving the American hotel's history, King credits

Boston's Exchange Hotel which, built in 1809, served as a "bold and daring precursor" to

the twentieth century hotel by establishing a lobby and by designating hotel bar rooms

(King: 1957, 179).

The hotel's relevance to civic identity is of particular focus in King's study. By

1840, the typical American hotel was owned by "civic-minded merchants and was

considered a show place necessary for the honor of the town" (King: 1957, 179). In

1860, a Baltimore circuit judge ruled a certain hotel could not be closed because a first-

class hotel was a "public necessity" (King: 1957, 179). This facilitated interaction,

including informal opportunities for local officials to meet, and contributed towards civic

identity, with specific focus on the southern region of the United States.









8

Living Downtown

The most notable contribution to literature on the development of hotel culture is

Paul Groth's Living Downtown, which addresses the history of residential hotels in the

United States. This description is insufficient, however, as his body of research expands

into architecture, social and cultural implications, and urban planning. Groth (1957)

discusses conflicting ideas about hotel life and similarities among hotel standards and

social structure.

He suggests that the hotels match the social statuses of their residents, as

emphasized by a New York hotel keeper in 1903:

We have fine hotels for fine people
Good hotels for good people
Plain hotels for plain people
And some bum hotels for the bums (Groth: 1957, 20).

Material culture therefore reinforced, not merely reflected, social position and power

(Groth: 1957, 20). Luxury hotels offered the greatest advantage in the instant social

position conferred upon residents. For this reason, the lobbies and barrooms of expensive

hotels had a concentration of political, business and social life. Groth (1957) explains

that sojourning politicians comprised a significant amount of hotel residents.

Through the 1800s, each urban political party patronized a particular hotel (Groth:

1957, 20). This study will show that in smaller urban areas, all political parties would

meet in one luxury hotel, and will illustrate that this habit of political patronage lasted

well into the first half of the twentieth century in the Deep South. Groth (1957) also

reviews the history of the role of hotels in the United States, observing that they were

often the most important landmark in a city until the prominent office buildings replaced









them in the 1890s. This study suggests that this trend lasted until around 1940s in the

South.

The most unique observation made in Living Downtown concerns the civic role

that the downtown luxury hotel plays. Groth (1957) explains that cities did not have the

power to "enforce greater urban organization" until the 1920s (187). Hotel owners

played a role in this by helping to specialize districts in which they stood. These

structures influenced ideas about arrangements of urban space by acting as a "scale

model of a successful future city" (Groth: 1957, 53). According to Groth, hotels present

a "total scheme for a diverse but centrally planned set of activities and spaces" (Groth:

1957, 53). Hotels, according to Groth (1957) changed the nature of downtown.

The literature reviewed herein discusses the lifestyles of typical hotel residents.

The sources explain personality patterns and social implications as well as address

motives for hotel living. This study of the Edwards Hotel will show its role in the

development of Jackson, Mississippi. Further, the case studies used herein will suggest

similar patterns in capital cities in the Deep South.















CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH METHODS

Several methods of research were implemented for this study in order to gain a

multi-faceted understanding of the Edwards Hotel. Archival research was done in

Jackson, Mississippi and in each capital city in which a hotel was reviewed. On-site

visits were made, an extensive collection of oral histories were examined, and informal

interviews were conducted. Specific historical literature was also reviewed. Most

importantly, case studies provided invaluable information about regional patterns. The

combination of these research types yields the fullest understanding of the subject for

research of this scope.

Site visits proved especially beneficial when looking at the proximity of the hotel

and state government buildings. During the visit, seeing the scale of the Edwards Hotel

(in relation to adjacent structures in use at the time) aided in understanding the impact

that the hotel had on the developing urban environment.

This study reviews literature to obtain contextual histories of the South, the state

of Mississippi and the city of Jackson itself. These resources illustrate the unique

relationship between politician and constituents that was found throughout the South at

this time, and highlight the important economic trends that were found across the region.

The study of southern history and culture using these resources supplements the historical

facts about the Edwards Hotel.









Informal meetings held with leaders in politics and planning in Jackson,

Mississippi made clear the current attitudes about the vacant hotel. Municipal leaders

vary in their assessment of the hotel's significance, and these meetings made this range

abundantly clear. The need for these municipal leaders to be further informed regarding

the building's history also was confirmed as a result of these meetings.

State archives were extensively used in Mississippi and in each state reviewed. The

Mississippi Department of Archives and History was an invaluable resource throughout

the researching process. Extensive records on the development of metropolitan Jackson

provided necessary contextual evidence for the study of the Edwards Hotel.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History maintains an extensive oral

history series that it makes available in its Special Collections Room. These oral

histories provided a resource that made this study possible. Oral histories were

conducted decades ago by professional historians. Included among them are the oral

histories of the former owner of the Edwards Hotel, several members of the staff, and

local journalists who wrote about political happenings in Jackson. Of most value were

the oral histories with politicians who spoke about their legislative career and,

subsequently, their interactions at the Edwards Hotel.

Mississippi and Louisiana both have site files for their respective hotels.

Additionally, all cities' state archives had site files for individual politicians relevant to

the established period of significance for this study. Reviewing the correspondence for

legislators revealed their social habits and their dependence on the Edwards Hotel for

caucuses. Newspaper resources dating back to 1900 provided information about social

responses to the hotel that emerged in Jackson and in each of the case study cities.









Utilizing case studies in this study was the most effective way of reviewing the

patterns of Southern hotels in capital cities. The case studies used are the Heidelberg

Hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Cherokee Hotel in Tallahassee, Florida, and the

Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama. These hotels were chosen because of

their location in capital cities in what is commonly referred to as the Deep South. These

hotels were also built within a decade of one another, and were all within a close

proximity to the capitol buildings in their respective cities. The case studies are used to

illustrate consistencies in hotel use by political figures, dignitaries and citizens.
















CHAPTER 4
DEFINING SIGNIFICANCE

Historic preservation in the United States encompasses more than its founders in

house museums and garden clubs could have ever imagined. Like never before,

preservationists are looking to the future as much as to the past, planning new directions

for the movement. New applications including landscape preservation and cultural

resource management are finding their place among the Monticellos and Mount Vernons

upon which the movement was founded.

An awareness of the history and theoretical concepts in preservation movement

has been developed, allowing self-reflection. Where has the profession been? Where is

it going? Concepts once more narrowly applied are being carefully reexamined. With

this examination, room for expansion of ideas becomes possible. One such concept

receiving deserved attention is that of significance, which is no longer primarily

concerned with famous places, events or personages. Significance is now being applied

to intangibles in our surroundings. Phrases like sense ofplace and cultural landscape are

more than just popular preservation concepts. These expanding arenas for preservation

allow for recognition of value among resources of every type: archaeological,

environmental, historical, and architectural.

For this reason, before addressing the "significance" of a certain site, a definition

of the term is necessary. Because it characterizes so many persons, places and things, the

word often is dismissed as synonymous with "importance." Unfortunately, this word gets









us no closer to criteria by which to judge historic structures. What is more, defining this

term faces more challenges than just its subjectivity.

Ideas about significance are changing within the preservation field. Activists,

professionals and academics are actively debating how inclusive preservation should be.

It can be argued that a broader, more conceptually flexible standard for applying the term

significance can cheapen the honor bestowed upon high-style nominees for historic

landmark status. This argument is not always made aloud, but can be seen in action

through review boards and heard in the stories of rural architectural examples being

refused several times for local and state listing.

Others apply the label of "significance" more liberally:

We are finding that everything and every place may in fact be important to
somebody, all of these places may be significant in some frame of
reference to someone. This situation leads to the oft-heard charge that
preservation professionals consider everything to be significant to
someone in a pluralistic society. (Lyon: 1998, 46)

Liberal application of the term "significance" can undermine the credibility of the

preservation movement. Most, however, including the National Trust for Historic

Preservation, the National Register of Historic Places and International Council on

Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) generally agree that the conceptual expansion of

preservation to include previously ignored groups of people and structures is beneficial.

Because of this expansion of preservation's concepts, a clear and consistent

understanding of "significance" is critical.

As part of understanding the meaning of the term significance as it is used in

preservation, investigations into how significance is acquired can help define the term.

One can look to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for assistance with defining









significance. This non-profit organization, established in 1949, includes in its objectives

"the identification of important national preservation issues, the support of preservation

efforts, and the expansion of private and public financial resources for preservation

activities" (Murtagh: 2006, 28). The National Register of Historic Places has a fifty year

minimum for buildings being considered for its listing of nationally valued historic

structures. This guideline can imply that age can determine significance. But the fifty

year minimum standard is for successful fulfillment of the word historic and lends

nothing to determining significance. The National Register considers some exceptional

properties to have acquired this illusive quality of significance that fall short of the fifty-

year threshold. Significance is therefore not dependant on age.

Significance, more than any preservation officer would like to admit, is a matter

of perception. Constructed socially, which is to say it is shaped by people's relationships

and perceptions of a particular structure and their relationship to it, significance can

change when the facts do not. For example, in 1955 the federal government attempted to

sell Ellis Island because its services were no longer needed. Today, the island is

preserved and now serves as one of the nation's most popular museums. "It was not the

past that changed. The meaning men and women gave to it changed: men and women

with the ability to do something about what they believed" (Green: 1994, 91).

Significance as a perceived human response can be applied to a building by the people

and places around it, past and present. If this definition of significance seems transient,

perhaps it is. If so, it serves as a testimony to the importance and the urgency of the work

done within historic preservation because resources can be dismissed and demolished so

easily.









In the National Register's Bulletin 15, significance is in "objects that possess

integrity.., and that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to

the broad patterns of our history." The very definition by the National Register uses

significance as a defining characteristic! In spite of this, two satisfactory pieces of

information from this description of significance are evident: the elements of significance

within the context of historic preservation (1) transcend architectural value, and the

elements are (2) associated with a broad pattern of history.

The National Register has made strides to illustrate that the contributions of an

historic building go beyond architectural value. Before the establishment of the National

Register, the concept of significance was already heavily debated. The idea of a building

having "significance" for purely architectural reasons was new and in question, since the

earliest buildings deemed "significant" were associated with famous figures in American

history. There are presently four recognized criteria through the National Register that

serve as the "basis for judging significance, at the national, state, and local levels"

(Murtagh: 2006, 181). These four criteria include (a) association with events that have

made a contribution to broad patterns of history, (b) association with the lives of persons

in the American past, (c) embodiment of distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or

method of construction, or that are representative of a master's work, and (d) informative

(or likely to be informative) about prehistory or history (National Trust: 1996, 1).



In more recent years, as preservation shifts to quality of life and smart growth

initiatives, the National Register of Historic Places has become more comprehensive

since the passage of the 1966 Historic Preservation Act. Intangible aspects of









preservation, such as culture and sense of place, are now considered. Both of these terms

refer to a distinctive character that is unique and deeply connected to the beliefs and

social entities of a community, and that contributes to the significance of a place.

The National Register's definition of significance also brings to light that a

building has a value within the "broad patterns of history" (National Register: 1966, 1).

Patterns of history, a network of events with a common thread, lend significance to an

object. Significance comes from the sum of a building's history, what happened before

and after its construction, and what happened to buildings with common historical

elements.

Historical details must be painstakingly researched. When investigating the

significance of a building, a great deal of history is unwritten, conflicting accounts

surface, and unpopular ideas about buildings can stir mixed emotions in communities,

even diminishing support for a project. These broad patterns of history can occur across

state lines, throughout regions, and extend beyond the job description of a state

preservation officer or special interest group. Professionals within preservation have a

responsibility to cultivate a shared understanding among special interest groups, classes

of people, and across state lines about the layers of significance that a structure can have.

The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology,
engineering and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures
and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials,
workmanship, feeling and association. (Murtagh: 2006, 181)


This definition of significance forms the foundation of this investigation of the Edwards

Hotel.
















CHAPTER 5
CONTEXTUAL SUPPORT

The historical significance of the built environment far exceeds architectural style.

It extends into social, cultural, and even political histories of a place. For this reason,

contextual information, even about events that may not have taken place inside the four

walls of the structure, can provide meaning to it. Architectural context can explain the

development of a particular movement in building style. A building that has elements

consistent with the patterns of that style can be better understood, even if the contextual

examples are in another region.

Likewise, cultural context can provide insight into architectural characteristics as,

for example, that of the Quakers and their aversion to displays of wealth. This religious

organization produced characteristically modest structures that are better appreciated

within their cultural context. Economic context can be especially helpful when looking at

the development of a site and the structures on it. Fluctuations in period of construction,

particularly within groupings of buildings, can be a reflection of times of economic

hardship or success. Political context in this study, paired with social and historical

context, will be of particular value when explaining the role that the Edwards Hotel

played in Jackson, the State of Mississippi, and the Deep South. Finally, case studies

from Louisiana, Florida and Alabama will provide a regional context that places the

Edwards Hotel in a grouping of equally significant structures.









The Hotel as an American Tradition

Though this study focuses on the first decades of the twentieth century, the role of

the capital city hotels within the political arena is not confined to these dates. At the time

of America's founding, European royalty was characteristically unapproachable. The

humble beginnings of our nation set a standard of approachability within American

government that has only recently been drastically changed for purposes of national

security. The concept of lobbying was born of this approachability. In Washington,

D.C., the Willard Hotel began it all. Nathaniel Hawthorne described it best:

This hotel, in fact, may be much more justly called the center of
Washington and the Union than either the Capitol, the White House, or the
State Department. ... You exchange nods with governors of sovereign
states; you elbow illustrious men, and tread on the toes of generals; you
hear statesmen and orators speaking in their familiar tones. You are
mixed up with office seekers, wire pullers, inventors, artists, poets, prosers
... until identity is lost among them. (Edsall: 2004, 1)

Like America's beginnings, the Willard Hotel was a modest collection of humble

dwellings. The 1816 row house-style guest rooms were given a common facade in 1850.

The business-savvy Henry Willard recognized his Pennsylvania Avenue address as

marketable to a certain clientele. Since 1850, the hotel has serviced the Country's

powerful and their companions. This includes every American president beginning with

Abraham Lincoln.

As noted to the visitors of the now "meticulously restored" Willard Complex, this

hotel's lobby was the favorite post-Oval Office respite for President Ulysses S. Grant

(Edsall: 2004, 2). Businessmen and "power brokers" began vying for the President's

attention and support on a wide spectrum of issues while he reclined with cigar and

brandy in the hotel lobby. Grant described these men, without realizing the term's future

permanence in the American vocabulary, as "lobbyists" (Edsall: 2004, 2).









Since the nineteenth century, hotels have been observed as a distinctive cultural

element in America. And, though not limited to political significance, the National Trust

for Historic Preservation also recognizes the contribution to American history and culture

that historic hotels make. In 1989, the National Trust, the national, non-profit

organization, established Historic Hotels of America, an organization which identifies

and grants membership to hotels on or eligible for status on the National Register of

Historic Places. The membership is not discriminatory based on size, rates or ownership,

but hotels must have "faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and

ambience" (Historic Hotels: 2005, 1). Based on the success of the program (there are

over two hundred members in forty-one states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico),

supporters of the program say that historic hotels bring significant value to the American

traveler's experience.

This value is not entirely for the traveler. Popular investment magazines have

begun to note the rising values of these historic hotels, even when compared with the

numerous hyper-marketed modem hotels. Historic hotels had 10 percent higher

occupancy rates than the national average over the last several years. They also reported

rates of $165, more than double the national average (Chapman: 2006, 1). These

statistics suggest that many patrons consider sense of place is worth the often significant

price difference.

Historical Context: The Deep South

With this general background and history, attention should be turned towards

providing a more detailed context within which to examine the case for the Edwards

Hotel. The contextual information will illustrate the importance of place, not merely

time. The South at the time of the hotels' height of significance, 1890-1940, was









distinctly different than the northern and western United States. Several of the founding

states of the Confederacy, particularly Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and

Louisiana, are often in history and literature referred to as the "Deep South." Socially,

attitudes about race, tensions left from the Civil War and Reconstruction, and strong ties

to religion epitomized living in the Deep South. Economically, industry and oil were

struggling to find their place amongst the agricultural dependency in the region.

Politically, Prohibition and a tug-of-war between the old way of life and the new created

new parties and new party lines. A brief review of each of these aspects of turn of the

century life in the Deep South can paint a clearer picture.

Socially, the South the time of significance of the hotels is dealing with the

consequences of the loss of the Civil War, and the loss of its legal ownership of a human

workforce. In the 1890s, Jim Crow laws were developed beginning segregation laws

throughout the South. While southerner's established these regulations to refrain some

control over the recently freed slaves. In this way, the South is completely backwards

from the Northern social structure. This is due to these struggles to evolve from a time

that is rooted in a caste system with an abundance of free manual labor (Ayers: 1992,

233).

The migration of blacks out of the Jim Crow South is essential to Southern social

structure in the first decades of the twentieth century. There was nothing short of a mass

exodus of blacks from the South to the North to escape the tensions and lynching laws of

the South (Ayers: 1992, 212). This Great Migration of blacks was due in large part to

greater job availability in the urban, more industrial northern locations during and after

the First World War. Because of World War I, the South is forced to come to terms with









a disappearing work force, making a comparatively less progressive part of the country

suddenly desperately interested in newer technologies and industrialization (Ayers: 1992,

216). Technology begins to make its way into the South.

From 1900 to 1949, the South also differed economically from the North. The

Civil War, although decades before, had a direct effect on the following century. The

economics of the South after emancipation shifted from slave-based capital to land-based

capital (Wright: 1996, 7). The new capitalist landowners, used to free labor and for many

decades following emancipation, were willing to pay very little for a workforce. For this

reason, virtually no migration of workers occurred into the emancipated South. The

Southern economy remained totally distinct for nearly eighty years after the Civil War

(Wright: 1996, 7).

Economic dynamics in the South changed again in the 1930s. The New Deal

ushered in forced changes in industrial wages. After this, the once economically

backwards South began to more closely resemble the economic structure of the rest of the

United States. This distinctiveness was gone after the labor and goods demand of World

War II (Wright: 1996, 8). The economic distinctions of the South prior to World War

Two further set the stage for the significance of the early twentieth century luxury hotel.

The hotel is a reflection of the economic progress of the rural South.

Since this study illustrates the political significance of the Edwards Hotel, a

luxury hotel in the Deep South, understanding political context is essential. The two

sides of the southern political coin come down to this: on one side, the view of the South

as compared directly to the entirety of the nation; on the other, the independent

development of each southern state and the political battles therein (Key: 1984, 11).









Unlike the two-party system that dominates the present political arena, power in the

South before the twentieth century rested upon the Democratic Party. Distinctions within

were not more than "transient and amorphous political factions...ill designed to meet the

necessities of self-government" (Key: 1984, 11).

As an answer to this ill-fitting political system, the Populist Party emerged from

the rural farmlands of the Deep South. What began as a series of alliances around the

Deep South was forming into much more. This group, called the Farmers' Alliance,

began convening annually and started taking the form of a political party more than a

union of workers. These Southern farmers knew change was inevitable, but held tightly

to their dissolving way of life in light of industrialization:

They were dismayed by the politics of sectionalism but proud of the
Confederacy. They were distrustful and contemptuous of black politicians
but eager for black votes. They were hopeful about the (Farmers')
Alliance but fearful about abandoning the Democrats. (Ayers: 1992, 249)

This is not to say that Populists wanted a return to their father's time, forsaking

technology and progress. "The Populists, judging from their words and their

backgrounds, wanted a fair shot at making a decent living as it was being defined in the

Gilded Age" (Ayers: 1992, 281). With this desire as a motivating force, the Southern

farmers at turn of the century sought reform through governmental office.

Politicians began seeing opportunities in a "broad, uncoordinated" series of

reforms called Progressivism (Ayers: 1992, 413). Within this series of reforms in the

twentieth century was the increasing control over corporations. As new industries were

established, legislators saw new opportunities but also new threats. Foreign (meaning

Northern) corporations promised wealth and progress to the Deep South. Rural









Southerners looked to their (often equally rural) political leaders to weed out the "bad

apples" within this influx of industry and change.

Mississippi Politics

"Northerners, provincials as they are, regard the South as one large Mississippi"

(Key: 1984, 229). Southerners, eager to separate themselves from this distinction, place

Mississippi in a class all its own. Some Southern states consider Mississippi to be a place

of still despairing civilization, while other states view their political history as the sign of

a backward culture. Both Northern and Southern states tend to regard twentieth century

Mississippi as nothing more than a hotbed of racial intolerance. True, many political

issues in Mississippi history in the twentieth century involve racism and segregation.

However, the political factions in the state reflect its two distinctive regions and the

socio-demographic differences associated with the predominant livelihoods in these

regions.

The Delta, a region of fertile soil that stretches out on either side of the

Mississippi River, extends about two counties outward of the riverbank. This area was

controlled by the wealthy, "old money" families of the antebellum period. Still profiting

from cotton, these Mississippi elites used the marginally more ethical system of

sharecropping in place of slavery. In the early parts of the twentieth century, the Delta

produced one million bales of cotton each year, in some years a tenth of the American

crop, and ranked at the top of the cotton-producing regions of the world. "Their common

battle against the River is in itself enough to unite the planters; but like men of property

everywhere they are bound together in the promotion and protection of their own

interest" (Key: 1984, 231). These interests are, in part, embedded in self-preservation.

The best, most fertile soil in the state is in the Delta. These lands were maintained by the









established hierarchy of the old "Delta planter and the Negro," and any influx of new,

roughneck whites was considered a disintegration of the system and a dilution of its

purity.

Meeting the eastern edge of the Delta is a less refined, non-pedigreed lineage

living in the "Hills" of Mississippi. These significantly less successful, predominately

white tenant farmers worked the less fertile soils of the rest of the state. The "rednecks"

from the Hills were embittered by the class system that bound them to the land, and the

financial success denied them by the Delta planters, who employed predominately black

tenants. "The 'Hills' are supposed to be the habitat of the redneck, the white tenant

farmer, the lesser white farm-owner...the hardest labor produces only the most miserable

livelihood. The white must eke out a livelihood on the farms of the Hills" (Key: 1984,

231).

Though outnumbering the Delta planters in overall population and farm acreage,

the combined poverty of the Mississippi hills kept these farmers from improving their

situation with consistent political power. Thus the delta region had the benefit of

political power in many elections. The state as a whole was still rural. Only twelve

towns exceeded 10,000 people in 1940, and these towns served as supply points for

surrounding agricultural regions. Legislators from hill counties were often farmers

themselves, though it is difficult to say how many since many self-proclaimed farmers

were actually primarily lawyers who listed themselves as "lawyer and farmer," perhaps to

better appeal to their constituents (Cresswell: 1995, 12).

Neither group, the Delta nor the Hills, had a distinct political faction to identify

with. They both voted Democrat, as did nearly every Southern state at this time.









From campaign to campaign divisions among voters change- a fluid
factionalism. The political life-cycle of a southern Senator may follow an
often-repeated sequence. He manages to get himself elected, perhaps by a
rabble-rousing appeal, and then builds his fences so well with moneyed
interests that no opponent can raise a campaign fund large enough to make
much of a fight against him. Reelection succeeds reelection without
serious contest. (Key: 1984, 247)

Even though these divisions among voters existed, it was usually not enough to replace

the lawmaker in power. In this way, state senators from Mississippi become incumbents,

wielding extensive control over their counties, voting in likeness with one another to

advance their individual or regional power. The Mississippi Legislature become a

powerhouse of representatives from the Delta and the Hills, butting heads and meeting

secretly to strategize for battle on the floor of the Senate or House.

The Delta and the Hills did not differ solely in matters of economics. Wealthy

Delta dwellers were reputably "wet"- against alcohol prohibition in the state. Wealthy,

more gentlemanly elites in this part of the state saw no problem with an activity they

considered social. In the Hills, prohibition gave fuel to a growing Protestantism

movement in the Deep South. Fights over prohibition pulled people into the political

debate who had been generally excluded from politics and fed into the anxieties of the

times (Ayers: 1992, 178). The preachers of the Hills fight the "demon rum" and their

followers vote for prohibition, while the "sinful" Delta votes for liquor. Walter Sillers,

former Speaker of the House and Delta dweller from Rosedale, Mississippi, recalls

traveling to Jackson for sessions by train with legislators from around the state.









"Everybody on the train was bound for the Edwards House and there was lots of wit and

humor exchanged. They used to kid me about being from 'the wicked delta' and in fact

they would go even farther and say I was from the center of iniquity, Rosedale"

(Stroupe: 1960, 2).

Jackson History

The period of significance for the Edwards Hotel parallels a period of significance

in Jackson's history. The period from 1890 to 1940 pushed the capital city and the state

of Mississippi into an industrial era that was already in progress in states in the North.

Agricultural and industrial changes occurred around the state. These statewide events

affected Jackson and can illustrate its progress. Specifically, the significance of this

period is quantified in terms of population, transportation, industry and policy changes.

Jackson's growth in the last decade of the nineteenth century was, in large part, a

result of black in-migration from rural areas. The newcomers increased county

population by 33 percent, bringing the Jackson population in 1890 to approximately

6,400. Of these, over 71 percent were black (United States Census Bureau: 1890). The

citizens of Jackson in the late nineteenth century experienced the development of Jim

Crow. This affected the entirety of the Deep South but by 1890 was paired with a new

state constitution in Mississippi that further disenfranchised blacks. Racial segregation

was upheld strictly in Jackson and affected nearly every aspect of life in the state capital.

These racist attitudes, now legitimized by law, set the tone for social and political

activities during the next half century in Jackson.

City leaders in Jackson took active steps to bring industry into the city during the

last decade of the nineteenth century. In 1895, the Jackson Board of Trade began raising

money from local businessmen and investors to attract new industry (Jaeger, 23). These









marketing programs paired with incentive programs were successful in recruiting

business to Jackson, but freight costs from railroads prevented Jackson from becoming

the regional city that it had envisioned itself as before the turn of the century. Until 1922

regulations that standardized rates, freight costs in Jackson were higher as compared to

considerably more competitive rates of steamboat operations along the Mississippi River,

in towns like Vicksburg, Mississippi (Jaeger, 24). The slow progress was not for lack of

railroads. More than a dozen passenger trains and many freight trains arrived and

departed daily on the rail lines that converged from across the state at the depot

downtown. The city self-proclaimed "Jackson has become a great railroad center"

(1884). An increased number of travelers by rail had a positive effect on the city's hotel

industry, which flourished around the depot. The Edwards Hotel is directly adjacent to

where the station still stands.


figure 3-1. view ot me JacKson rain uepot irom me Lawaras Miotel

(Photograph by Charlene M. Eiffert)









An increase in downtown visitors was more than a result of an increased number

of travelers from around the state. Transportation for citizens of Jackson also improved

with the reorganization of the electric streetcar system in 1890. The company, originally

known as the Jackson City Railway Company, was restructured under the name Edwards

Hotel and City Railroad Company. The President of the streetcar line was also the owner

of the Edwards Hotel (Jaeger, 30). By 1898, another streetcar line was authorized by a

city ordinance allowing Jackson Light, Power and Railroad Company to operate another

system in town. To Jacksonians, streetcar improvements were a sign of prosperity and

progress. "The first evidence of renewed prosperity are shown in the new coats of paint

the cars are taking on" (1884).

The citizens of Jackson looked for signs of progress all around them. With the

turn of the century, grew from 7,816 in 1900 to over 21,000 in 1910 (Jaeger, 37). The in-

migration of blacks from rural communities was balanced by the trends of the Great

Migration, and the population stabilized. In the next ten years, the population grew by

only 1,555 people. Streetcar suburbs to the west and south of town became incorporated

into the city limits, and by 1911 the city had doubled in size (Jaeger, 38).

The new supply of citizens became useful in 1914 as the country became involved

in World War I. Jackson became like most communities, engaged in the war industry

and the ensuing industrial development was met with a ready workforce. By 1920,

Jackson was no longer dependent on an agricultural economy; rather, it developed into an

industrial and transportation-centered city. Once again, these changes were met with

enthusiasm and proclamations of the wonders of progress and human achievement:

Immense factories with smoke from their funnels towering heavenward
attest to the great development in manufacturing activity.. .Five railroads









leading out in several directions are the arteries of trade that swell the bulk
of commerce to immense proportions.. Miles upon miles of siding, spurs,
etc. are being constructed in or near the city for the use of 37
manufacturing plants already in operation and other building... Knockers,
chronic grumblers and leeches have been buried or exported and only a
live citizenship is in charge! (Jackson Board of Trade: 1904, 14)

Socially, this period of twenty years, from 1900 to 1920, saw a transition in

Jackson. The city moved from a system of informal social networks and voluntary

organizations to a system of formal clubs and organizations and professionalized city

departments (Jaeger, 50). The city's elite and the city's services were closely tied. These

groups linked together for the development of green spaces and beautification of Jackson.

As roads and railroads developed around Jackson, the progressive City Beautiful

movement developed nationally (Jaeger, 58). Jackson showed evidence of this

movement with the construction of its new, Beaux-Arts style State Capitol Building in

1903, the installation of sidewalks, the development of the Jackson Zoo in 1913 and

Livingston Park in 1916.

The 1920s in Jackson saw the continuation of progress and industrial

development. In 1922, the Interstate Commerce Commission in Mississippi revised the

freight rates for Jackson, making the transportation of goods to and from the capital more

affordable. In the eight years following the revisions, approximately thirty additional

industries had come into Jackson, either opening new businesses or buying out struggling

ones (Black: 1953, 315).

The downtown streetscape changed drastically in the 1920s in the "leading

wholesale and retail center of Mississippi" (Jaeger, 70). For much of the decade, the

downtown was largely under construction as the city received several new high-rise

buildings into its commercial center. One of which, The Edwards Hotel, changed the









streetscape dramatically when its developers demolished an earlier structure in 1923,

resulting in a transition from a modest structure to twelve-story landmark within a year.

The steel-frame hotel was a sign of progress and technological advancement. Its

Chicago-style architectural composition introduced design elements and ideals not yet

seen in the newly booming urban city. The addition of this hotel to the streetscape of

downtown Jackson meant a new sophistication and legitimacy for citizens. Some felt its

citizens should begin to act accordingly. When a child was injured from a misfired shot

between two quarreling men in downtown Jackson, the daily newspaper spoke out

against such uncivilized, frontiersman-like conduct:

The people of Jackson need a new law. It shall be unlawful for any one to
shoot at another... and miss him between the hours of 7am and 12pm. The
clinching argument against the practice is that Jackson can't afford to be
behind the times and this habit is out of vogue in front of leading New
York hotels. It just isn't being done in up-to-date towns. (1920, 2)

The city also saw the construction of the Lamar Life building, completed in 1925.

The Gothic Revival style building included a clock tower and terra cotta gargoyles and

stood ten stories on the city's center avenue, Capitol Street. The Lampton Building,

another ten-story structure, opened in 1928 and provided the city with office space for its

expanding industry. Finally, the eighteen-story Merchants Bank building and the

nineteen-story Standard Life Tower were both completed in 1929.




































Figure 5-2. Steel frame of the Edwards Hotel, 1923

(Photograph in Mississippi State Historic Preservation Office, Edwards Hotel site file)

During the 1930s, population increased 22%, from 42,282 in 1930 to 62,107 in

1940. Much of this population growth was a result of in-migration by failed farmers

trying to survive the Depression years (Wilson and Ferris: 1989, 717). Farmers with

cotton surpluses, unable to sell their product, would come to the Edwards Hotel and sell

to those who could buy "as much as they could buy and just hold it off of the market"

(McPhail: 1976, 49). The bales of cotton would sit stacked five to ten at a time outside of

the Edwards Hotel's drugstore, remembers the barber who used to work in the hotel

(McPhail: 1976: 50).









While the rest of the country was suffering disastrous effects of the stock market

crash, the discovery of natural gas in Mississippi gave Jackson the economic push it

needed to survive the 1930s. The 1939 discovery of oil in Hinds County, Jackson's own,

furthered the economic growth of the city and state. Local offices for oil companies were

established in Jackson, some in the Edwards Hotel.

Industries were attracted to Jackson by the convenience of transportation, general

location and labor supply. The oil discovery provided local materials yielding reduced

rates in fuel. These reduced rates, paired with the ease of rail line transportation and in-

migration of rural workers made Jackson in the 1930s "the central place to purchase, sell,

and ship livestock, produce, and other agricultural products from the still very rural state

of Mississippi." (Jaeger, 96).

With the end of the 1930s came the end of an era in Jackson's history.

Streetcar lines were removed and replaced with a bus system. New Deal legislation

changed labor laws and melted the Deep South economy and labor force into conformity

with the rest of the nation. World War II broke out, removing men from industries

around the city and state and ending the building boom around downtown. Jackson's

growth and struggles during this period, from 1890 to 1940, are unique to any other time

in Mississippi history. The significance of the Edwards Hotel is built upon this

foundation of history- social, economic and political. After a discussion of the hotel's

past, the significance of the Edwards Hotel will be supplemented through a comparative

study of regional hotels with similar roles. This analysis will provide insight into the role

of downtown capital city hotels within the South.















CHAPTER 6
THE EDWARDS HOTEL

A building's significance is, in part, defined by the history of its site. This

building is no exception. Predating the existing vacant structure was another hotel. This

site has housed lodging establishments since 1861: three structures in total. The first, the

Confederate House, was built by Major R.O. Edwards in 1861. Destroyed by Union

troops in a fire in May of 1863, the site sat vacant through the end of the Civil War.

Construction was underway in 1867 for the Edwards House, owned by the same R.O.

Edwards. The name Edwards has since been associated with every structure on the site.

The earlier hotel remained in operation until 1923, when it was demolished to be replaced

with a larger, more modern version.

The new Edwards Hotel made news since the day it opened its doors. Hailed as

the "Most Modem in the Country" in the headlines days before its grand opening,

statewide media gushed over the lobby that, upon entering, leaves one "almost appalled

and smothered with the magnitude of its beauty" (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1). Every

compliment available was given to the amenities available to both guest and employee of

the Edwards Hotel. One article gushes:

The New Edwards is a thing of beauty and it will be a joy to the traveling
public...each room is equipped with the most comfortable beds...most
attractive views...most up-to-date appliances...the complete electrically
operated bakery prepared to supply the most modem pastries.., a complete
ice cream plant and ice cream storage with the most modem freezers...the
main lobby is not only electrically lighted but is provided with art glass
overhead for day lighting...the main dining room is by far the most
beautiful room of its kind. (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1)













Jackson Develops

The Edwards Hotel offered more to Jackson than aesthetics and modern

amenities, especially when viewed in light of social and economic conditions in the Deep

South at this time. The historical context of the hotel's role in the socio-political history

of Jackson previously discussed lends a fuller understanding of this historic property.

Also important is the role the hotel played in Jackson's development. A hopeful

sentiment in Jackson accompanied the hotel's construction and opening. This hotel could

easily belong in New York, Chicago, or some other major American metropolis. No one

seems to believe it possible that "so much elegance, with such splendid taste could be

possible in a hotel in a city the size of Jackson" (New Edwards Hotel: 1923, 1). For the

owners of the new establishment, the Edwards Hotel contributed to the dream of the

citizens that Jackson would be one of the leading cities in the South. In the rural,

agriculturally-driven Deep South, this hotel was equated with progress. It earned the

small capital city legitimacy at a time when the South was struggling to socially justify

itself, socially, politically and economically.

In 1927, the Edwards Hotel welcomed Charles Lindbergh, who was "elaborately

and enthusiastically received" as part of a plan to help spur Jackson's citizens to follow

through with their ideas of building an airport (Jaeger, 80). The visit and the related

fanfare truly inspires the citizens- the day after Lindbergh's visit, the city approved a

special bond issue for the purpose of acquiring land. Within one year, the airport was

constructed and dedicated. Representative Walter Sillers remembered Lindbergh's visit

to the hotel well- he was "decked out in a full dress suit" and spent leisure time in the









hotel's civic club (Overby: 1967, 6). Citizens recall Lindbergh's visit to the Edwards

Hotel, not just Jackson, and attribute this visit to the progress of transportation in

Jackson.

Political Significance

The site of the Edwards Hotel has a legacy of political significance. In 1876, the

Edwards House was already being advertised as a place for senators and representatives

to take up residence while in Jackson, Mississippi for legislative sessions (Edwards

Hotel: 1976, 7). Captain H.C. Myers, Secretary of State of Mississippi, stayed in the

Edwards House in 1878. Walter Sillers Sr., Mississippi legislator and father of

Mississippi Speaker of the House Walter Sillers Jr., would stay at the Edwards House

when he was in Jackson beginning in 1886. In 1900, stationary for the hotel reads

"Commercial and Political Headquarters for the State". From 1908 to 1909, while the

Governor's Mansion underwent remodeling, Governor Edmond F. Noel made the

Edwards Hotel his official residence.

The Edwards Hotel continued to house political happenings significant to

Jackson's history well into the next decade. Before the 17th Amendment was passed in

1913, United States Senators were elected by the state legislature. In 1910, the

legislature sat to elect a United States Senator, and the distinguishing battle between the

"Delta" and the "Hills" became clearer than ever.

The careers of LeRoy Percy and Theodore Bilbo personify, even caricature, the

chasm between the Delta and the Hills (Key: 1984, 238). With the impending 1910

election, the great Delta blueblood LeRoy Percy saw no one currently volunteering to run

that he deemed satisfactory. As his son described it, "confident that no Delta man and no

gentleman could possibly be elected, Father consented" to enter the race. The other four









candidates slated to challenge the Hills candidate, James K. Vardaman, dropped from the

candidates list and threw their support behind the Delta planter (Key: 1984, 238).

What followed was what is referred to as the "secret caucus," which, according to

Speaker of the House Walter Sillers resulted in LeRoy Percy defeating James K.

Vardaman. Speaker Sillers, famous ringleader of the Edwards Hotel caucuses and Delta

man himself, deemed it the "greatest historical events around the Edwards Hotel"

(Stroupe: 1960, 2). The decision was actually made in these caucuses, what Sillers

described as "a gathering of leaders who discuss an issue and work out their differences

so they know how to meet opposition on the House floor when the real test comes"

(Stroupe: 1960, 2).

As predicted, the decisions and loyalties determined at the Edwards Hotel stood

firm against opposition. Two months after the election, Theodore Bilbo, a lieutenant of

the defeated Vardaman, stood before the legislature waving currency he alleged he

accepted as a bribe to vote for Percy. The stronghold in the House was unrelenting, the

charge proven untrue, and the representative from the Hills of Mississippi was saved by

only one vote from expulsion by his fellow legislators (Key: 1984, 239). The always

dignified and currently victorious Delta legislators, proud of the maintained results of

their secret caucus labors at the Edwards Hotel, settled for a heavy censure of Bilbo:

Resolved, in view of the unexplained inconsistencies and inherent
improbabilities in the testimony of Senator Bilbo, his established bad
character and lack of credibility, that the Senate of Mississippi does
hereby condemn his entire bribery charge. Resolved further... the Senate
pronounces Bilbo as unfit to sit with honest, upright men in a respectable
legislative body, and he is hereby asked to resign. (Key: 1984, 239)

Later, using his persecution as a stepping stone in his political career, Bilbo went on to

rally the people of his Hills roots. He won the governorship in 1915, again in 1927, and









United States Senate seats in 1934 and 1940. The condemnation of Bilbo is expunged

from all records in the Senate.

The event is vividly remembered by participating members of the Edwards Hotel

secret caucus. Also remembered are the altercations resulting in the Edwards Hotel

lobby. Guests recall seeing legislators and delegations "mad as a wet hen with Bilbo here

in the lobby. They would be shaking their fingers in his face and giving him down the

river" (Overby: 1967, 6). Bilbo was apparently unshaken. "Old Bilbo would just sit

there and puff on his cigar... he would say just a few words and they'd all smile and hug

him." Hotel residents remember not-so-happy endings to confrontations. "There were

even some brawls in the lobby. With politicians there, there were some violent words

and actions" (Nagle: 1984, 1).

The Edwards Hotel continued to serve a political purpose. Eventually, the hotel

became dependant on its legislative clientele during the otherwise slow winter months.

When the original Edwards Hotel was demolished in 1923, it was imperative that the new

hotel be open before the first day of the new legislative session. Agreements were made

with the railroad company, Illinois Central, whose tracks ran alongside the site. In order

to transport such a massive amount of material, a total of 975 freight cars averaging four

cars of material a day were unloaded at the site (New Jackson Miss.: 1924, 37). The

construction and completion of the new Edwards Hotel took a total of ten and a half

months, giving this "Million Dollar Hotel" the nickname "Hotel Quickly Built."

The nicknames should have mentioned the role that lobbying played in the

political events at the Edwards Hotel. Nearly all legislators stayed at the luxury hotel

during legislative sessions, unlike the legislators of more recent times who stay in









apartments or second homes around the city (Cossar: 1973, 3). This proximity, paired

with adjacent offices of oil and transportation companies, offered an ideal location for

lobbyists to mix with politicians who were in legislative session.

With the discoveries of oil being made around the state in the first half of the

twentieth century, stakes were high for the oil industry. These industrial tycoons found

themselves up against the Populist Party's concern for the rural farmer, under whose land

oil was being found. Legislators from these counties tended to support a greater profit

sharing between the oil companies and the landowner, and these legislators nearly always

voted together. During sessions of the legislature, some of the people in the oil and gas

industry, in return for "friendly treatment of legislation," paid the hotel bill and tabs for

legislators (Minor: 1974, 2).

As mentioned, legislators voted as a result of activities at the Edwards Hotel. The

1916-1944 member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and eventual Speaker of

the House Walter Sillers took up residence in the hotel during sessions. From his corner

suite 601, he would hold private caucuses in the evenings with eighty-two members of

the House banded together. Said one legislator of the time, "we met and mapped out our

strategy as to how we were going to meet the various problems, and we all stuck

together" (Junkin: 1975, 14). Former legislator John Junkin spoke of the power this

group had when they organized: "Legislator Thompson McClellan would get up and

he'd say 'Anybody here now that don't believe in going along with what we're going to

do, now is the time to leave'" (Junkin: 1975, 14). Examples such as these have led many

to comment that more laws were passed at the Edwards Hotel than on the floor of the

Senate. Sillers himself has asserted that "Everything that happened in politics, at the









State Capitol and around the legislature basically began at the Edwards House" (Stroupe:

1960, 2). Says one newspaper heading, there are three houses of the legislature: "The

Upper House, the Lower House and the Edwards House" (Stroupe: 1960, 2).

Social Side of Politics

The Edwards Hotel's political significance included legislators mixing business

with pleasure. Politicians and the statewide elite came together on November 1st, 1909 at

the original Edwards House. The citizens of Jackson, Mississippi hosted a banquet in

honor of President William Howard Taft. Formal meetings and events such as this were

not as frequent as they are for legislative groups now; not as many public commitments

dominated a legislator's schedule Minor: 1974, 2). Groups of friends from within the

Senate and House would convene for long, leisurely breakfasts in the Edwards Hotel.

One of the more popular breakfast clubs included the "Big Four" in the legislature in the

1930s: Walter Sillers, Tom Bailey, Joe George, and L.T. Kennedy (Junkin: 1975, 1).

Sillers himself remembers more members. "I remember we all used to eat breakfast

together. There were Senator Roberts of Bolivar County, Oscar Blesdoe, Tom Bailey,

Lawrence T. Kennedy... and many more" (Stroupe: 1960, 2).

Wyatt Sharp came to Jackson from the Delta in 1926 as a trombone player for the

Edwards Hotel's lunch and evening band, entertaining legislators and lobbyists. He

explains that the hotel was where Jackson people went to dine, and where "the lobbying

was done for the legislature" (Nagle: 1984, 1). According to legislator George P. Cossar,

who entered politics in 1932, the social life usually revolved around the hotel rooms of

the Edwards Hotel. "They entertained practically every night...it was all centered around

the hotel" (Cossar: 1973, 8). The social scene at the hotel made partygoers out of even

straight-laced legislators. "It's funny... fellows that wouldn't drink, come (sic) up here









and drink after they'd be elected. I never saw so much whiskey in my life" (McPhail:

1976, 16). Walter Sillers describes his fellow politicians as a "funny lot," particularly

with their words and their contradicting actions at the Edwards Hotel. "They'd cuss each

other out in the paper then go upstairs and drink together" (Overby: 1967, 6).

Politics and Prohibition

With the turn of the century came a new focus on alcohol and its contribution to

the problems in American society. Mississippi made alcohol illegal in 1907, years before

the federal prohibition law was passed in 1919. In the Edwards Hotel, however, it seems

few took notice. Hotel employees would later note that Prohibition wasn't in effect at the

Edwards Hotel. Legislators would too: "Lots of water has run through those hotel

lobbies in all those years- and often it was more than water that was flowing" (Stroupe:

1960, 2). During the three-month sessions of the legislature, whiskey would be stacked

thirty cases high in the lobby.

Lawmakers developed the habit of using alcohol to their advantage when

discussing upcoming legislation. One such personage was Walter Sillers, longest serving

legislator in Mississippi and Speaker of the House. Eventually serving over 44 years,

Sillers was regarded as the "patriarch of all politicians" at the hotel. After moving into

the Edwards Hotel when elected in 1916, he had the reputation of handing out a drink or

two to the "little fellows" to prepare them for a vote. When a Sillers-supported bill came

up, "They'd be ready to vote! And they'd pass the law!" (McPhail: 1976, 29).

Walter Sillers also made good friends with the barber at the Edwards Hotel, Allen

McPhail. In 1943, Sillers met McPhail at the Hotel's drugstore and ten chair barber shop

for a haircut and a drink. There, Sillers confided in McPhail that he was considering

running for Governor (McPhail: 1976, 24). Sillers' decision not to run was based on the









hot-button issue of Prohibition around the State. A month after their drugstore drink,

Sillers told McPhail, "I'm for whiskey being legalized. I don't like this way they're

doing it a bit. I'm wet, and I've talked to people and they said, you know, that it

wouldn't do any good to run" (McPhail: 1976, 31).

In the later years of Prohibition, greater care was taken to protect the goods from

being confiscated or broadcast to pro-Prohibition hotel guests. In the 1930s, the Hotel

kept a whiskey room, and a "Negro" named Gales Foster, the night porter, kept the key

(Butler: 1976, 19). The room was located on the west end of the main floor, midway

among the twenty sample rooms, in a closet. Legislators coming in for the beginning of a

session would bring along their supply of liquor, and staff at the Edwards Hotel would

assist them in unloading it (Abney: 1975, 3). Guests could request a glass from the

dining room, but were encouraged to drink in their rooms. This practice became so

popular, that objections were being made by other hotel guests because "they got so open

with it- everybody knew what was going on" (Butler: 1976,19). To maintain

appearances, the hotel began insisting that guests ignoring Prohibition laws ask for cups

instead.

The presented evidence suggests that the Edwards Hotel played an important

role in the social and political development of Jackson, Mississippi. This idea lends

further significance to the structure. In the following chapters, facts about similar hotels

in capital cities around the Deep South will be investigated. These case studies provide a

means of discovering similarities and differences in capital city hotels, and investigating

regional patterns of Southern urban development.














CHAPTER 7
CASE STUDY A: THE HEIDELBERG HOTEL

Beyond the specific histories of the Edwards Hotel and its predecessor and its role

in the city of Jackson and Mississippi, the Edwards Hotel reflects a broader significance.

It is part of a regional tradition found in similar structures in other parts of the Deep

South. Connected by a shared historic context, these structures are located in Louisiana,

Alabama and Florida and form a network of significant structures with a shared history

and role in state politics. By examining the history of these other politically-centered

hotels in the Deep South, the Edwards Hotel reaches its fullest potential in its

contributions to the broad patterns of Southern and American history.

The most effective illustration for comparison to the Edwards Hotel comes from

perhaps the most predictable resource for political fascination in the Deep South:

Louisiana, and its Heidelberg Hotel. Like the site of the Edwards Hotel, the Heidelberg's

riverfront address once held a mansion-hotel. Built in 1825, the Bonnecaze similarly

hosted dignitaries and political celebrities and developed a reputation for accommodating

them. Most famously, the structure was frequented by the twelfth President of the United

States, Zachary Taylor, who stayed in Baton Rouge in 1845 (Reed, 1). More fortunate

than the original Edwards House, this structure survived the Civil War. In 1927, just four

years after the Edwards Hotel was built on the razed surface of its predecessor, the old

mansion was razed to make room for the luxury hotel, the Heidelberg.












































Figure 7-1. The Heidelberg Hotel in 1928

(Photograph from Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office site file)

The Heidelberg Hotel was, like the Edwards Hotel, the rural state's first "Million

Dollar Hotel" (Reed: 1977, 1). The rent its very first year in operation was a sky-high

five dollars a night. Like the Edwards Hotel, the Heidelberg Hotel had in-house

amenities: a private drugstore, a beauty salon and modem dining facilities. Its proximity









to the railroad station and the state capital earned it the in-state reputation as a social and

political mecca almost immediately.

Baton Rouge in the 1920s and 1930s was under the rule (a word carefully chosen

for its imperial overtones) of Huey P. Long, a man both famous and infamous in the state

and region. Much like Mississippi's Governor Theodore Bilbo, Long was a product of

the rural, impoverished Louisiana heartland. He won his political power by being a

governor of the common people, harshly answering critics and coercing his opponents

using whatever tactics necessary. Like Bilbo, Long was directly associated with the

luxury hotel in his capital city. Telling his wife he simply was not meant for normal

family life, Long took up residence in Baton Rouge's Heidelberg Hotel, in spite of the

newly built Governor's Mansion (White: 2006, 115). He had a notorious obsession with

monitoring and furthering his power in the state, and the Heidelberg Hotel was the

primary location for chaperoning of peers and opponents. From there he lived his public

life, received guests and press, and wrote extensively, including his autobiography

Everyman a King ( Figure 7-2) (Reed: 1982, 6).















Figure 7-2. Huey Long received press and associates in the Heidelberg Hotel, where he
lived a public life. Seen here, Long at work in his pajamas at the Heidelberg.

(Photo courtesy of Louisiana Department of Archives and History)









Most memorably, the Heidelberg Hotel was the site of the state capitol, if only for

a brief time. In 1930, Governor Huey Long won a seat in the United States Senate.

Having broken with his lieutenant governor, Paul Cyr, soon after their gubernatorial

election, Long waited nearly two years to take his oath of office in the Senate to prevent

Cyr from taking over the governorship (Williams: 1970, 212). After the 1932

gubernatorial elections secured the victory of Alvin 0. King, Long's "hand-picked

successor," Huey Long traveled to Washington to take his oath of office, with

instructions for King in Baton Rouge to immediately be sworn in (Reed, 1977, 3).

Before this could happen, Cyr "impetuously declared that Long had vacated the

office by his election to the Senate and announced that he would set up his 'seat of

government' in the Heidelberg, from which he would govern as the State's chief

executive" (Reed: 1977, 3). The Heidelberg was Cyr's second choice to the Capitol

itself, but he was barricaded by guards from entering the building. On January 3, 1932,

Cyr issued a formal proclamation listing Long's misconduct, recounting the events he felt

earned him governorship and announcing

I do now proclaim that the seat of executive government of Louisiana is
now established, pending the present insurrection, at Room 443,
Heidelberg Hotel, in the city of Baton Rouge, where I will maintain my
executive office as governor. Either myself or Leon Gray, my secretary,
the secretary to the governor, will be found there at all times. (Cyr: 1932,
1)

The Heidelberg did not stay the seat of power in Louisiana for too long; for, upon hearing

this news, Huey Long called the manager of the hotel and had the self-proclaimed

governor evicted from the hotel.

More of Huey Long's enemies took up residence in the Heidelberg Hotel. Oil

discoveries were creating big business in Louisiana, as was happening across the South at









the time. Just as in Jackson, Mississippi, the oil industry expected legislative assistance

to further its success. President of the Louisiana division of Standard Oil, Daniel Weller,

paid $25,000 for an apartment on the top floor of the Heidelberg Hotel. Weller paid a

lobbyist known only as "Jim" who was to be responsible for the courting of the

legislators. Unfortunately for Weller and Standard Oil, Jim was a Long loyalist and

maintained full disclosure with him throughout the legislative sessions (Reed: 1977, 3).

He had the unsuspecting Weller reserve the entire tenth floor of the Heidelberg Hotel for

Standard Oil, and was able to steal time between floors to keep Long "fully aware of

what was going on" (White: 2006, 199).

These are just a sampling of the political happenings at the Heidelberg Hotel.

Huey Long's son, Senator Russell Long, recognizes the contribution the hotel made to

Louisiana:

Prior to the days of legislative reform, committees held caucuses, political
deals were finalized, and compromises on important pieces of legislation
were hammered out in the privacy and comfort of the Heidelberg.
Oftentimes, the vote on the floor of the Louisiana Senate and House
merely confirmed a decision made earlier in an informal meeting in the
Hunt Room bar (in the Heidelberg Hotel). (Reed: 1977, 4)

The Heidelberg, deserving of independent focus and research, serves here to illustrate the

distinct role that the downtown capital city hotel played in Deep South politics during this

time. As supplementary evidence of the role these structures have played, it lends

significance across state lines to the Edwards Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi.













CHAPTER 8
CASE STUDY B: THE CHEROKEE HOTEL

The Cherokee Hotel is cited in picture and text alongside the greater commercial

buildings and homes of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Tallahassee (Figure 8-

1). Described as the "Pride of Tallahassee," the hotel was the temporary residence of

legislators and the choice of other elite visitors to the state's capital (Dunn: 1974, 140).

The hotel's dates of highest use, the early 1920s through 1940, are consistent with the

Edwards House and the Heidelberg Hotel. Also consistent are the descriptions in local

newspaper articles detailing every exciting step in the process to the opening of this

progressive, modern, luxury hotel. Tallahassee's Daily Democrat detailed the days

leading up to the opening, sharing with its readers the modem kitchen equipment and

"everything else of the latest and improved type" that was being placed in the four-story

structure ("Opening Date for the Cherokee", 1924). The morning after its opening, the

paper asserted "The Cherokee hotel became a West Florida institution last night" ("Hotel

Cherokee Opens", 1924).

This instant landmark status is consistent with the previous case studies,

particularly the Edwards Hotel. Consistencies also exist with relation to attention given

to modem facilities and amenities. Attention given such luxuries assisted in separating

hotels like the Cherokee Hotel from its more moderately-priced counterparts. Also

separating it from other institutions was the attention given by statewide industrial and

political leaders.
























Figure 8-1: The Cherokee Hotel

(Photograph courtesy of Florida Department of Archives and History)

William Lee Popham, described as a "poet, author, promoter and developer," had

ties to the Cherokee Hotel. The pioneering "Oyster King" and developer of St. George's

Island had an influence in Florida that was immediate and that resonates through the end

of the twentieth century (Rogers: 1998, 266). A candidate, though unsuccessful, for

Florida's House of Representative in 1922, Popham became Mayor of Apalachicola in

1923, with the opposition receiving only two votes. Charged with fraud in 1923, the

local stir created by his trial prompted Popham's lawyer to petition for a change of venue.

All involved personages in the trial moved into the Cherokee Hotel in Tallahassee, where

they stayed until his conviction. Before being sent from the Cherokee Hotel to a federal

prison in Atlanta, Popham was considered the lead candidate for the governor's race in

Florida (Rogers: 1998, 289).

The Cherokee Hotel also had a politically significant role in the 1926 Senatorial

race in Florida. The election and its primaries are referred to as having more possibilities

for the state of Florida than most any other election (Flynt: 1963, 142). Jerry Carter,









called "Mr. Democrat," accepted the nomination to run, stating that the state needed to be

represented by a "vigorous man of progressive ideas" (Flynt: 1963, 145). In what can be

interpreted as a reflection of his progressive nature, Carter formally announced his

campaign headquarters would be the Cherokee Hotel.

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 came just fifteen years too late for

the Cherokee Hotel in Tallahassee, Florida. This hotel, once located in the heart of

downtown, was demolished in 1951. Since its demolition predates site files and National

Register nominations, State Archives and Historic Preservation offices come up empty

handed when asked about this piece of Florida's state history. When placed within the

context of this study, the hotel belongs to a network of politically significant hotels in the

first parts of the twentieth century Deep South. Its loss seems suddenly tragic.

Evidence for significance, though initially seeming minimal, comes greatly from

its context within the fabric of the pre-World War II political Deep South. Based on

patterns of history during this time and within this region, significance can be assured.

Equally assured, Tallahassee and the Deep South alike are remiss for the loss of such an

asset.
















CHAPTER 9
CASE STUDY C: THE JEFFERSON DAVIS HOTEL

Alabama is Mississippi's rural neighbor and rival for the most frequent target of

Southern stereotypes. Often called the "twin states" because of geographical similarities,

the two states share much more than state lines and coastal access. Alabama shares

Mississippi's rural history, agricultural beginnings and nineteenth century Populist

sentiments. Moreover, Alabama supplements (and is supplemented by) the Edwards

Hotel and its regional significance. Alabama's capital city Montgomery boasts

possession of a fitting addition to this study- the Jefferson Davis Hotel.

Like the Edwards Hotel, the Jefferson Davis opened in the 1920s. Hopeful

sentiments in Montgomery replicate those in Jackson, Mississippi at the arrival of the

Edwards Hotel. As in Jackson, the new hotel was the state's first million-dollar hotel,

with final construction costs averaging over 1.2 million dollars (Neeley: 1979, 2).

Citizens and local journalists marveled at the "most up-to-date" engineering and

amenities, and with due cause (Figure 9-1). Just as in the Edwards Hotel, guests had an

available coffee shop, barbershop, cafe and more without needing to leave hotel property.

Entertainment was also provided by the colorful interactions in the lobby of the

hotel, with the politicians who frequented the Jefferson Davis. As soon as its two-year

construction was completed in 1929, it became the "most popular place for legislators" in

Montgomery during Alabama legislative sessions (Neeley: 1979, 3). Governor George

C. Wallace and attorney General Bill Baxley held events at the Jefferson Davis Hotel.









These two politicians served their official elected terms after the period of significance

applied to the study of the Edwards Hotel, which may indicate an extended period of

significance in this particular case study.




























-.. _, j ---___-----







Figure 9-1: The Jefferson Davis Hotel

(Photograph from National Register Nomination form)
















CHAPTER TEN
OBSERVATIONS

In examining the Edwards Hotel informal by these supplementary case studies,

important patterns emerge. Research on these structures yields results that, when

combined, form a collection of capital city hotels that reflect a high level of historical

significance. During this study's selected time frame, from 1890 to 1940, the Edwards

Hotel has associations with broader regional concepts distinctive to the South. The hotel

and its case studies also reinforce a need for greater cooperation among history and

preservation professions.

Industry Interaction

The Edwards Hotel, as in its supplementary case studies, is a location for the

interaction of industry and politics. In some cases, industry representatives make these

hotels their offices, indicators of profitable possibilities for the future, industrialized

South. At the Edwards Hotel, Standard Oil Company paid for hotel rooms for legislators

of more rural backgrounds and modest means. They also paid restaurant and bar tabs,

and provided women for the legislators. The president of Louisiana's division of

Standard Oil also had an apartment in Baton Rouge's Heidelberg Hotel and at one time

occupied an entire floor of the hotel. Florida's Cherokee Hotel housed politician and

oyster industrialist William Lee Popham as well as all related parties for his trial, due to

the local stir it caused. Perhaps this relocation served dual purpose: to secure "face time"

with other state politicians before Popham's impending gubernatorial election.













Unofficial Creation of Legislation

Patterns appear within the research suggesting that these hotels provided a

location drafting, discussing and finalizing legislation. As seen in the Edwards Hotel,

legislators admit to creating and informally voting on legislation from the suites of the

hotel. Caucuses held in the Edwards Hotel among well-organized legislative alliances

decided what legislation would be supported in the following days' sessions. Extensive

review of the Baton Rouge case study shows consistencies with this pattern of events.

Chapter Nine reviews Russell Long's evidentiary statement that decisions on the Senate

floor merely confirmed decisions made at the Heidelberg. Evidence is less explicit for

the Cherokee and Jefferson Davis hotels. However, legislative residency within these

spaces during the time of characteristically unreformed political activity and more casual

methods of lawmaking warrants further investigation.

Urban Justification

An unexpected result of this study is the pattern of "urban justification" that

accompanies the opening of each of the hotels. Urban justification used as a term herein

refers to the transformation in the eyes of the citizens. The cities, with dirt roads and

agricultural dependencies, now had a point of pride and, most importantly, a sign of

progress. This is not to imply that Jacksonians looked to the Edwards for assistance with

urbanization, rather that it acted as an indicator of the oncoming transformation to a

legitimate urban environment. The Edwards Hotel is of steel-frame construction, a

revolutionary concept that hailed from Chicago, reflecting modem architectural

technology and thought. The same type of construction were used for the Heidelberg and









Jefferson Davis Hotels. The facilities and mechanical systems in the Edwards are the

most modem for its time and were announced in statewide publications as they were for

the Heidelberg, Cherokee and Jefferson Davis. The words "Million-Dollar Hotel" are

used time and again.

The luxury hotel during the first decades of the 20th century played an important

role in defining the Deep South at a time where politicians and citizens felt like rural

colonists in their own, quickly industrializing nation. Newspaper stories insisted that the

Edwards Hotel was hardly believable in a city and state of agricultural means. The

Edwards Hotel gives its small capital city prestige and legitimacy. It serves as a source

of pride and proof of a civilized society in a part of the country whose social structure

was not easily understood by outsiders.

Gilded Age Ideals

Generally accepted dates for America's Gilded Age place its final years

somewhere near the beginning of the twentieth century. Research cited in the historical

context chapter of this study, and in subsequent chapters that discuss industry and social

attitudes, suggests Gilded Age ideals reach full fruition in the Deep South during the time

periods of the hotels' construction (approximately 1920-1930). While the Gilded Age

begins around the time of Reconstruction in northern urban areas (accepted dates for the

Gilded Age, a term popularized by Mark Twain, are 1865 to 1901), there is a delay in

progress in the South due to the extensive financial and social costs of unsuccessful

warfare and geographical distance.

In spite of this delay, characteristics of the Gilded Age are apparent in the capital

cities of the Deep South. The influx of railroad construction in the United States is not

reflected in the South until the late 1880s. The influx of rural Americans into urban









environments during the American Gilded Age is also notable in the South, though years

after the accepted dates for the period. True, shifts towards Jackson begin taking place in

the black population in the immediate decades following emancipation, but this migration

increases dramatically, by approximately 170 percent between 1900 and 1910.

Urbanization after the end of the First World War shows signs of a decreased dependency

on agriculture and a substantial interest in railroad transportation and industry in Jackson.

These trends accompany a significant jump in population and, moreover, resemble

Gilded Age developments that had long since occurred in northern states.

This shift to an industrial focus means appears in the period surrounding the

Edwards Hotel's construction. After the 1920s, Southern urban areas saw significant

interest from a prominent corporation that emerged during the Gilded Age, John D.

Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company. There was similar interest from Standard Oil in

Louisiana, as seen with the floors they occupied in the Heidelberg Hotel for proximity to

policymakers.

The Edwards Hotel during its period of significance stood as a center for political

and social activity in Jackson, in a particularly progressive time in the city's history. It

was the location of business meetings among industrialists, and, for the citizens,

legitimized Jackson. The hotel celebrated the achievement of a growing urban area and

celebrated excessive luxury. The innovative steel-frame construction, seen in Jackson for

the first time in large scale, was a sign that progress and prosperity was on the horizon.

The construction of the hotel affected the actions of those around it, as though it

somehow silently demanded more polished behavior. In these ways, the Edwards Hotel









stood as a physical representation of the development of Gilded Age ideals in the Deep

South. This concept also applies to the Heidelberg, Cherokee and Jefferson Davis Hotels.

Preservation and History

There are larger implications of this study that can contribute to the overall

understanding of the present preservation movement. The Edwards Hotel and buildings

like it are of greater value to our national history than originally considered. There had

not yet been a complete realization of the contextual and thematic issues common among

these prominent Southern hotels during this period.

This lack of acknowledgement is an error shared by historians, preservationists

and interest groups alike. Historians can be accused of a disassociation with buildings

and their value, perceiving them as work for architects and historic preservationists.

Preservation is often misunderstood, confused with the "bricks and mortar" preservation

rather than encompassing broader concepts such as cultural landscapes.

Preservationists, in a desperate effort for local or National Register listing, sift

through facts and building materials until enough evidence is found for a successful

nomination. Perhaps for lack of funding or because of specific types of funding,

activities following National Register listing focus on maintenance of the resource and

education of the public. While these ideals are worth pursuing, a commitment to

furthering an understanding of how the resource contributes regionally should also be a

priority. While many can agree that this concept is worthy of appropriate action, regional

patterns of history fall outside of the already congested job description of State Historic

Preservation Officers. With loaded schedules and limited funding, State Historic

Preservation Officers begin to resemble members of a legislative body- their first loyalty









is to their constituents. Unfortunately, this can result in a lack of attention to significant

preservation issues that extend beyond state lines.

The greatest contribution to the preservation movement can also be to its

detriment. Special interest groups initiated the historic preservation movement, and their

concerns about protecting the past began the house museum and historic battlefield

designations. Unfortunately, special interest groups are generally homogeneous in the

composition of their members. Because of this, the special interest group, an overall

asset to the preservation and American community, tends to produce an inherently flawed

product. The Edwards Hotel, for example, is undoubtedly a location that prostitutes

frequented. There is little likelihood that a potential benefactor to the interpretation of

the site as a source of pride for Mississippi would wish to include information about

prostitution and the social elite. The issue of handling unpopular or unflattering history is

controversial, and the risk of losing relevant facts about historical events is real.

When any of these groups act independently or pursue self-interests, even

innocently, history becomes a segmental series of stories instead of a comprehensive and

interrelated one. Selecting what perspective is best for a site, these groups categorize

"good" history and "bad" history- a dangerous concept. Further, built history and

American history are likewise not two distinct concepts- or rather they should not be.

Perhaps the greatest observation to be made from the study of the Edwards Hotel's

significance is that historic preservation can benefit from regional patterns in history- an

idea that stretches beyond bricks and mortar and ties patterns and themes together that are

more than similarities in building materials and ornamentation. There is an

unquestionable, invaluable dependence upon history within the preservation movement.









Too often preservationists forget that everything pertaining to humanity's
development is grist for the historian's mill- that however important and
distinct architectural history may be; it overlaps with social, economic,
urban, intellectual, and other forms of mainstream history. Conversely,
historians forget too frequently that places in the built environment and
cultural landscape are documents that merit attention from scholars in
fields far beyond architectural history. In short, preservationists and
mainstream historians can learn from one another to a greater extent than
is presently the case. (Striner: 1998, 137)

As preservation expands to include new concepts, such as vernacular architecture,

sense of place and intangible culture, history is at risk of being simplified and categorized

to make room for new and popular preservation priorities. The preservation movement

must maintain a commitment to the most thorough methods of examining significance

possible. This ensures structures such as the Edwards Hotel, and others like it, can

contribute more fully to the present.

Additionally, these hotels were a place for politicians to meet and make decisions.

The ethical issues surrounding this type of policy-making are questionable at best, but

they must be viewed in light of their illustration of a period in history. This "back room"

approach to lawmaking was certainly not new, nor is it now completely a memory; but,

its location in the early twentieth century luxury hotel brings it to light in a new way that

relates it to the built environment.

Buildings can lend and receive significance for one another. This is a valuable

concept to be taken from this study. Within Florida, the historic preservation offices have

little information about the Cherokee Hotel. While attempting thorough research of the

former structure, virtually no information was available to contribute to the study.

Anything more significant than the few sentences available in dusty old guidebooks of

the city was considered lost information. Now with the similarities in times of









construction, periods of significance, and commonality of social climate, the Edwards

Hotel and the others studied here provide thematic material to build a case for the

Cherokee Hotel. Further, for purposes of this study, the significance of the Edwards

House in the Deep South can be more fully realized given the common and distinctive

characteristics associated with it. Supplemented by one another, these hotels achieve a

depth of significance otherwise unachievable.

Recommendations for Future Research

The luxury hotel's role in the Deep South has been established as significant for

more than architectural value. By the end of the 1930s, the Edwards Hotel had a political

subculture within the city of Jackson. Outside of the political arena, the citizens of

Jackson saw their community legitimized by the construction and success of the

structure. Similarities in case studies evaluated herein reinforce this idea as a trend

across the region. Further study into the similarities between the meaning that these

structures gave to their urban environments and the ideals of the Gilded Age and

Progressive Area may reveal a later influence of these Ages in the southern region of the

United States.

The Edwards Hotel saw its demise due in part to the migration of legislators to

other hotels during desegregation. Politicians who would otherwise welcome blacks into

their homes found themselves moving out of the Edwards during desegregation because

of social pressures and the necessity of maintaining an appropriate public image (Abney:

1975). "There was just one or two [politicians] that moved out and started the run and

the rest of them had to go. That's politics" (Abney: 1975, 2). Further study is needed to

identify the connections between desegregation and the public and private buildings that

were affected by it. This information can be beneficial to both historians and









preservationists by providing information about the way whites and blacks interacted

with their built environments during such a pivotal time in American history.

This study focuses on a rural capital city within the Deep South. During the

period of significance, Jackson and the case study cities were transitioning from

agricultural centers to more urban and industrial environments. Having identified the

powerful role that the luxury hotel played, further study on more urban capital cities

would be a beneficial contribution to the body of knowledge on this subject. Luxury

hotels in larger capital cities such as Atlanta were potentially received much differently.

Information within a larger scope would aid in the understanding of the perception of the

built environment during this time in Southern history.

The Edwards Hotel, with the supplementary evidence provided by the Heidelberg,

The Cherokee and the Jefferson Davis Hotels shows regional patterns of significance

within a certain time and social era. Regional patterns of history are not a new concept,

but the association of these patterns with the built environment is underdeveloped.

Further research should be done to understand the value of regional preservation efforts.

The history and historic preservation professions can benefit immensely from the

production of a model for best educating the public on networks of structures across

regions of the country. If these structures are primarily urban (that is that they are not

closely associated with a valuable parcel in the natural environment), new developments

in understanding cultural landscapes may leave these structures behind. Future study

investigating opportunities within the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the

National Register of Historic Places, and the role of State Historic Preservation Officers

may find ways to efficiently link regions together for the increased sharing of resources.















APPENDIX A
TIMELINE FOR THE EDWARDS HOTEL

1861: Construction of the Confederate House by Major R.O. Edwards.

1863: Civil War, General Sherman's forces burn and destroy the hotel.

1867: Major Edwards begins rebuilding.

1868: Edwards dies, property is completed, named Edwards House.

1900: Property is acquired by the Enochs Brothers.

1908-1909: Edwards House is official residence of Governor Edmond Noel.

1919: Enochs Brothers dissolves, hotel passes to Edwards Hotel Company.

1923: Old wood frame hotel is demolished, steel-frame constructed Edwards Hotel is
erected and opened.

1946: Hotel is reacquired by Enochs family.

1956: Dumas Miller buys the hotel property for one million dollars, renames it the King
Edward Hotel, and begins renovations and removal of many character-defining features.

1967: The King Edward Hotel closes.

1967: Standard Life Insurance Company buys the hotel. Hotel is placed on National
Register.

1981: Hotel is sold to M.M. Laurence and D. Morley of Virginia for $500,000.

1991: The Jackson City Council names the hotel a city landmark.

1992: William C. Windham and John S. Turner Jr. of Bossier City, LA propose a six
million to seven-million dollar project to convert the building into apartments for the
elderly. The Jackson Realty Company proposes renovating the hotel as office space.

1995: Xanadu Limited of Detroit proposes to turn the hotel into a casino.









1997: Renovating the hotel is included in a multi-million dollar Capitol Complex
proposal to legislators.

1999: The Mississippi Telecommunications Conference and Training Center
Commission votes 5-3 on January 19 to negotiate a contract with The Alexander
Company of Madison, Wisconsin to develop the hotel into a conference center.

2000: The Telecommunications Conference and Training Center Commission abandons
plans to convert the hotel.

2001: City Council approves moving forward with legal action, including possible
condemnation.

2004: The city acquires the vacant structure, beginning the process of either renovation or
demolition.

2005: The Jackson Redevelopment Authority approves a development package for the
hotel, allowing HRI Incorporated of New Orleans, New Orleans Saints player Deuce
McAllister, Matt Bataille of Mandeville, LA and Jackson Attorney David Watkins to do
interior structural testing. The deal includes a 2 million dollar interest-free loan from the
Mississippi Development Authority.

June 15, 2006: Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, impatient with the redevelopment's
progress, meets with billionaire investor from Texas, Gene Phillips although the project is
under contract. The Mayor states that he will proceed with Phillips plan, which uses no
public funds, if the currently contracted group does not begin work by August.













APPENDIX B
REVIEW OF HOTEL PATTERNS



Table B-1. Review of Hotel Patterns.
Edwards Hotel Heidelberg Cherokee Hotel Jefferson
Hotel Davis Hotel

Date of 1923 1927 Circa 1920 1929
Construction
Legislative Yes Yes Yes Yes
residents


Association
with
politician


Association
with industry


Social
implications






Current
Condition


Economic
effects


Proximity to
amenities


Wilson Minor,
Governor
Bilbo


Oil,
Transportation
(railroad)


Activities not
done in front
of hotels in
"up-to-date
towns" (p.30)



Vacant


Yes- first
"million-dollar
hotel" in
Jackson


In-house barber
shop,
restaurant,
adjacent to
railroad
station, near
capital building


Huey Long


Site of
entertaining
for
politicians
and
dignitaries


Rehabilitation
in progress
Yes- first
"million
dollar
hotel"
in Baton
Rouge
In-house
restaurant,
drugstore,
beauty
salon, near
capital
building


Popham


Popham,
called
the "Oyster
King" is
associated
with the
hotel.

Yes- called
"Pride of
Tallahassee,'
became
"social
institution
overnight."
Demolished
in 1950s


Modem
facilities, near
capital
building


George
Wallace
and
Bill Baxley


Social events
sponsored
by
politicians,
dignitaries



Rehabilitated


Yes- first
"million
dollar hotel
in
Montgomery"


Modern
facilities, near
capital
building















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(1884, Sept 3). The Clarion.

(1920, July 16). The Clarion-Ledger.

(1923, Feb 14). An Opening Date for Cherokee Hotel Will Soon Be Made Public. The
Daily Democrat.

(1923, Mar 1).Cherokee Hotel Will Probably Open Next Week. The Daily Democrat.

(1923, Mar 9).Hotel Cherokee Opens in Blaze of Social Splendor. The Daily Democrat.

(1923, Dec. 28). The New Edwards Hotel to Be Opened Saturday; Most Modem in
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(1924, June). New Jackson, Miss. Hotel Quickly Built. Illinois Central Magazine, p.37.

Abney, R. The Edwards Hotel, Jackson, Mississippi. Oral History Program, Retrieved
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68


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Charlene Eiffert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert David Eiffert, is a sixth-

generation New Orleanian. In 2001, Charlene graduated from St. Mary's Dominican

High School and began the Bachelor of Science program at Mississippi State University

in interior design. Her love of art and foreign cultures led her to two minors, in art and

Spanish. In 2003, Charlene spent a summer in Andalusia, Spain studying the history,

architecture, language and culture of the country. Her degree was conferred in 2005,

upon completion of a design internship at Historic Restoration, Incorporated in New

Orleans, Louisiana, where she worked primarily on adaptive use projects and compatible

design for a Hope VI project in the Lower Garden District. Her four years of study in

Mississippi coupled with Historic Restoration, Incorporated's role in the King Edward

redevelopment initiatives are the source of her interest in the history of the structure.

In August of 2005, Charlene began her graduate studies in Historic Preservation

at the University of Florida in the College of Design, Construction and Planning. She

traveled across the country to Portland, Oregon and to Chicago, Illinois for a series of

Preservation conferences. She worked through Christmas and Spring Break seasons in

the Gulf Coast region, documenting historic structures damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

With a team of her peers, she documented and disassembled a damaged residence known

as the Hecker Cottage, slated for demolition, and placed into storage the original structure

with the intentions of finding an alternate site for its interpretation. These experiences









afforded her the opportunity to share what she learned with the Historic Gainesville

Commission at their annual Champagne Update in January of 2006.

Upon completion of her summer spent with the Preservation Institute: Nantucket

program, Charlene will seek employment opportunities in the architectural and adaptive

use aspects of historic preservation. Charlene enjoys expanding her modest architectural

library and learning about foreign culture and dance. Her interests include early

twentieth-century architecture, particularly the Chicago School and Art Noveau,

photography and New Orleans history and culture.