Saturday, February 2, 2013

The City Hotel




In 2004-2005, I became interested in the City Hotel in Nashville after coming across an article in the National Banner and Nashville Whig.  I was able to locate a file in the Davidson County Chancery Court Loose Papers that gave details on the hotel.  I went downtown to the Tennessee State Library and Archives on several Saturday mornings to find out if they had additional information on the hotel.  I found a few more mentions of City Hotel in the newspapers and looked through many books for references.  My friends Mike Slate and Kathy Lauder were always looking for new material for their Nashville HistoricalNewsletter.  I sent them a summary of what I had found and they encouraged me to write an essay for them.  Following is the first essay I wrote in 2004, and some of the reference material that I found in my research.  At the end of the page you will find a link to the finished, edited version that was published in the Nashville Historical Newsletter.

The City Hotel
By Debie Oeser Cox
February 2004

The City Hotel was built in 1827 on the site of the old Talbot's Hotel, fronting the East side of the Nashville Public Square. The back of the hotel overlooked the Cumberland River and the Edgefield community that lay beyond.  The hotel was offered for sale in an advertisement that appeared in the National Banner and Nashville Whig, Saturday, February 2, 1828.  

The City Hotel can be seen behind the Davidson County Courthouse is this circa 1856. - TSLA


"The Nashville Bank offers for sale, that large and commodious building on the Public Square in the town of Nashville, known by the name of the City Hotel. As any person inclining to purchase would wish to examine the premises, a minute description is unnecessary. I suffer it to say, that the whole establishment is of brick, and entirely new, having been erected during the last year." 
The City Hotel Company created by an act of the Legislature for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a hotel in the city of Nashville purchased the property from the Nashville Bank for a sum of $20,000.   The first proprietor to lease the property from the City Hotel Company was James Edmondson.


On the first floor was a large dining room, seventy by thirty feet in size, which could be extended to a length of 130 feet by opening folding doors into an adjacent room. The second-floor ball room was the same size as the dining room. Spacious covered verandas surrounded the building on each floor. The private part of the house, intended for families was separate from the public areas.

In the spring of 1845 Joseph Marshall and Samuel M. Scott entered a contract to manage the City Hotel as a hotel and tavern.  Joseph Marshall died soon after.  As a consequence of a suit filed in Chancery Court concerning Mr. Marshall's estate, an inventory of the contents of the City Hotel was made and filed with the court. This inventory detailed the furnishings of fifty-seven guest rooms and a garret room.  Most of the guest rooms were furnished with one or two bedsteads and feather beds, mattresses and bedding, a washstand, pitcher and bowl. Many of the rooms had a table, several chairs, a looking glass and fireplace accessories.   Other rooms included in the inventory were North and South parlors, two dining rooms, a kitchen, a pantry room, and a bar room.

The South parlor had two sofas, a side board, a dozen cane-back chairs, and a pier glass (a tall, narrow mirror fitted between two windows). There were four pictures and frames, a carpet, a mantel ornament, and a brass fender for the fireplace.
The North parlor featured one sofa, a pair of side tables, ten hair-seat chairs (mahogany), and one rocking chair. Other furnishings included a mantle clock, two mantle ornaments, one pair of convex reflectors, one large pier glass, one astral lamp, one center table with cover, one carpet, and one brass fender. 

There were both public and private dining rooms. The public room had nineteen tables and eighty-eight Windsor chairs, three side boards, a coffee urn, and a tea urn. There were eleven dozen white dinner plates and six dozen knives, forks and teaspoons. Glassware included forty-four tumblers and twenty-four wine glasses. There were nearly five dozen cups and saucers, along with salt stands, celery stands, sugar tongs, ladles, tureens, molasses jugs, and a gong. The private dining room was similarly furnished but on a smaller scale, with only nine tables and thirty chairs listed. 

In the kitchen was a cook stove, a coffee boiler, a tea boiler, four small boilers, a large iron grill for the fireplace, twenty-three pans, eight steamers, and three sinks. In the pantry room were kettles, cake pans, and shape pans. The bar room had a sideboard, some writing desks, an iron chest, eleven chairs, and four settees, along with a map of the world, two lamps, a looking glass, and nine decanters.
In 1859 Enoch Ensley made several purchases City Hotel Company stock.  From Memucan H. Howard, the largest shareholder, he acquired 135 shares.  He bought 119 shares from Lizinka  Brown and from several other smaller amounts of stock.  In October of 1859, Ensley owned in total 313 shares of stock with 79 shares remaining in other hands.  Ensley purchased the property with the intent of repairing and refurbishing the building to enable the hotel "to compete with others, in the city, existing and contemplated."

James R. Winbourn and his mother Mary B. Winbourn leased the City Hotel in December of 1861 from Enoch Ensley.   The Winbourns had previously managed two other hotels in the city, the Broadway House and the Watson House.  The amount of the rent for the year 1862 was $3000.  The leased was renewed for the years 1862, 63 and 64 for the same amount.  In 1865 the amount of the rent was raised to $8000 and that amount was charged in 1866.  In February of 1866 the Winbourns sold their interests in the City Hotel including the furniture to Hare and Roberts.  During their proprietorship at the City Hotel, Mary Winbourn managed the hotel while her son James took care of a farm the Winbourn's had purchased in order to supply vegetables and milk for the hotel.  

1865 Nashville City Directory

Smith Tanklsey who was employed by the Winbourns as chief steward, testified in Chancery Court in a case filed by Mathew Johnston against the Winbourns in 1865.    Mr Tanksley gave a listing of some of the foods served in the hotel daily, as follows;  2 ½ bushels Irish potatoes, 1 ½ bushels onions, 25 dozen ears corn, 3 bushels green peas, 2 bushels snap beans, 2 bushels cucumbers, 1 ½ bushels beets, 2 bushels carrots, 15 heads cabbage, 40 cantaloupes, 2 bushels tomatoes, 3 bushels apples, 1 bushels squash, ½ bushel ochre (okra?), 6 gallons sweet milk and 6 gallons buttermilk.  Peaches, cherries, gooseberries, plums and pears were also served each day.  Tanksley stated that about 200 persons were fed at the hotel each day.  

City Hotel on the Public Square, just beyond the Courthouse.

In about 1876 the City Hotel was torn down to make way for the Ensley owned, City Hotel Block, which housed merchant warehouses and retail stores. These buildings stood for the next one hundred years before being demolished in the mid 1970's, to make way for the reconfiguration of the area surrounding the courthouse.

*********************************************
History of the Dickinson Road by L. C. Bell, 1936
National Banner and Nashville Whig, Saturday, January 12, 1828
National Banner and Nashville Whig, Saturday, February 2, 1828
Chancery Court Loose Papers McIntosh vs Marshall #35
Chancery Court Loose Papers Ensley vs Brown #2680
Chancery Court Loose Papers Johnston vs Winburn #4298
________________________________________________________
National Banner and Nashville Whig, Saturday, January 12, 1828
City Hotel, Nashville -- the subscriber has the pleasure of informing his friends and the public, that he has taken that splendid Tavern lately built by the Nashville Bank.  This house being planned an erected for the express purpose of a Tavern, comprises advantages rarely found in such establishments, and he believes he is risking little when he says, that for its internal and external arrangements for the accommodation of single gentlemen and families, it stands unrivalled in the west.  It has a front of one hundred feet on the public square, running back towards the river, with a wing one hundred and forty feet;  surrounding the back front are spacious balconies communicating and on a level with each story, forming airy, sheltered and delightful promenades -- the whole three stories high.  The private part of the house, intended for families is entirely separated from the public establishment, and ladies therefore can be free from observation as secluded as in any private house.  The situation of the house claims attention, being situated on the highest part of the bluff open in front and overlooking the Public Square, extending behind to the bank of the river, and commanding a most extensive and delightful view up and down the Cumberland and of the bridge, and a prospect of the surrounding country, claiming the admiration of every traveler.  I need not say after my long and well known experience, that no personal exertions on my part shall be wanting to entertain those who may favor me with their company in the most comfortable and generic style. 
  We shall be prepared for the reception of company by the 15th of next month. 

J. Edmondson 
formerly of Cincinnati and late of Louisville Ky 
Nashville August 11, 1827.


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History of Davidson County, Tennessee, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, by Prof. W. W. Clayton, J. W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, 1880, p. 199

RECOLLECTIONS OF NASHVILLE,  By Col. Willoughby Williams.
On the east side of the public square was the post-office, Robert B. Currey being postmaster, appointed by Mr. Jefferson, retained his office until removed by President Adams in 1826. 

This office was situated on the opposite side of an alley, which separated him from Talbot's Hotel, which stood on the ground now occupied by the Ensley Block. Talbot's Hotel is where the bloody fight took place between Gen. Jackson and Jesse and Tom Benton, which created most intense excitement.
 
The Commodore Perry Inn was the next house, and was situated where the Methodist Publishing House now stands, the public square descending gradually from this point to Water Street; the cut in the bluff for the bridge was not then made. Northeast of the public square at this point was the office of the old Nashville Whig newspaper, edited and owned by McLean & Tunstall. Col. McLean, one of the editors, is still living near Memphis, and his memory of old events is more vivid than any man's in the State. He is now in his eighty-sixth year, with intellect unimpaired by age. In 1816, McLean & Tunstall sold out their paper to Moses and Joseph Norvell

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The City Hotel
            National Banner and Nashville Whig, Saturday Feb. 2, 1828.
The Nashville Bank offers for sale, that large and commodious building on the Public Square in the town of Nashville, known by the name of the City Hotel.  As any person inclining to purchase would wish to examine the premises, a minute description is unnecessary I suffer it to say, that the whole establishment is of brick, and entirely new having been erected during the last year.  The building is three stories high: it fronts on the public square one hundred feet with one wing extending back one hundred and thirty feet, and another about seventy feet.  In the principle wing, on the first floor, is a spacious dining room, 70 by 30 feet, but which can be extended as occasion may require, by means of folding doors, the whole length of the wing, or 130 feet.  On the second floor, is a ball room of the same dimensions.  The building is so constructed that exclusive of numerous bed chambers, a convenient portion of it may be set apart for the accommodation of families, or private parties.  The whole of the building on the back front, which commands a fine view of the Cumberland river, and the adjacent country, is surrounded with spacious piazzas, communicating with each story.  Attached to it are all the necessary buildings for a tavern.  
When it is remembered that the property is situated in one of the most thriving towns of the west – in the midst of a rich, fertile and healthy country, and on a large navigable stream – and that it is at all times the resort of a large number of strangers, the advantages it offers the experienced innkeeper, are equal to any, and superior to most establishments in the western country – It will be sold on a credit of one, two, three and four years.  Notes with approve security will be required, and a lien on the property to secure the payment.  If not previously sold at private sale, it will sold at public auction on the first day of July next.  W. TANNEHILL Cashier.
Nashville, Tenn., January 29, 1828

 1853 Nashville City Directory:  Jno. L. Bayne, House of Entertainment 183, S. Market St.;  City Hotel, 69 Public Square;  

"Talbot’s Hotel was torn down by the Nashville Bank in 1826 and the City Hotel erected on the site.  The City Hotel was in turn demolished about 1876 to make room for the Ensley block the buildings of which are still standing.”

Joseph Marshall had been proprietor of the City Hotel.  As part of the inventory of his estate a complete inventory of the furnishings of the hotel were listed in the following court file. 
Davidson County Chancery Court Loose Paper, Metro Nashville Archives
Chancery Court Case # 35, John McIntosh, Adm. of Joseph Marshall 1845-1850
South Parlor
2 sofas
1 side board
1 dozen cane b. chairs
1 carpet Ingrain
1 mantle ornament
1 pier Glass
4 pictures in frames
1 Brass fender
N Parlor
1 Sofa, 1 pr side Tables, 10 hair seats chairs (mahogany)
1 Rocking Chair
1 Mantle Clock
2 Mantle Ornaments
1 pr convex reflectors
1 large pier Glass
1 Astral Lamp
1 Centre Table & Cover
1 Carpet
1 Brass Fender
Rooms
No 1.
5 Feather Beds & Bedsteads & Clothing
2 wash stands
1 Table (small)
7 Chairs (windsor)
2 wash bowls & Pitchers
1 Looking Glass (small)
1 Carpet & 5 mattresses
No. 2
2 Feather Beds & Bedding & 2 Mattresses
2 Bedsteads
1 Bureau
5 Chairs
1 Small Table
1 Small Looking Glass
1 Carpet
2 Wash Bowls & Pictures & Stands
No. 3
2 Feather Beds & Bedding
2 Mattresses
6 Windsor Chairs
1 Bureau
1 Carpet
2 Small Tables
1 Looking Glass
2 Bedsteads
1 Wash Stand Bowl & Pitcher
1 Small Foot Bucket
No. 4
2 Feather Beds & Bedding
2 Mattresses
2 Bedsteads
1 Small Table
1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
1 Looking Glass
3 Chairs & Carpet
No. 5
2 Feather Beds & Bedding
2 Bedsteads
1 Mattress
1 Carpet
1 Small Table
1 Wash Stand Bowl & Pitcher
3 Chairs
No. 6
1 Feather Bed & Mattress
1 Bedstead
1 Carpet
1 Table (small)
1 Wash Stand Bowl & Pitcher
1 Looking Glass
2 Chairs

No. 7
2 Feather Beds & 2 Mattresses
2 Bedsteads & Bedding
1 Carpet
1 Small Table & 3 Chairs
1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl 
No. 8
2 Feather Beds 2 Mattresses 2 Bedsteads
1 Carpet 1 Small Table 1 Wash Stand Bowl & Pitcher
No. 9
2 Feather Beds  4 Mattresses 2 Bedsteads
1 Small Table  & Wash Stand
No. 10
2 Feather Beds 2 Mattresses 2 Bedsteads
1 Carpet
1 Small Table  Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
3 Chairs 1 Looking Glass
No. 11
2 Feather Beds 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads
1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
1 Small Table
1 Carpet, 2 Chairs
 No. 12
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 1 Small Table, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 13
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 Small Table, 1 carpet, 4 Chairs, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 14
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 15
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 16
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 17
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 18
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 19
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 20
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 21
2 Feather Beds & Bedding 2 Mattresses & 2 Bedsteads, 1 carpet, 3 Chairs, 1 Small Table & looking glass, 1 Wash Stand Pitcher & Bowl
No. 22
2 Feather Beds
No. 23
3 Feather Beds
No. 24
No. 25
2 Feather Beds
No. 26
1 Feather Bed
No. 27
2 Feather Beds
No. 28
No. 29
No. 30
No. 31
1 Feather Bed
No. 32
2 Feather Beds
No. 33
4 Feather Beds
No 34 – 35
1 Feather Bed
No. 36
3 Feather Beds
No. 37 and 38 listed out of order
No. 39
 1 Feather Bed
No. 40 – 41
2 Feather Beds
No. 42
1 Feather Bed & Furniture 1 Mattress 1 Bedstead 1 Carpet 1 Bureau with Glass
1 Mantle Ornament 1 Small Table 1 Fender Wash Stand & Bowl & Pitcher Shovel & Tongs 5 Chairs 1 Trundle Bed and B. Stead
No. 43
1 Feather Bed & Bedstead Mattress & Furniture
1 Carpet 1 Bureau 1 Looking Glass 1 Ward Robe
1 Small Table 6 Chairs Wash Stand & Bowl & Pitcher
1 Fender Shovel & Tongs
No. 44
1 Feather Bed 1 Trundle Bed
No. 45
1 Feather Bed
1 Fender Shovel & Tongs
No. 46
1 Feather Bed 1 Dressing Table 2 Candle Sticks
1 Fender  & And Irons 1 Waiter
Shovel & Tongs
NO. 47 – 50
1 Feather Bed
1 Fender Shovel & Tongs
No 51 – 52
1 Feather Bed
1 Fender Shovel & Tongs Brass Andirons
No 53
1 Feather Bed
No. 54 -56
2 Feather Beds
No. 57
2 Feather Beds
2 Pillows & Bolsters
2 Brass Fenders 3 Carpets 2 Ruggs
No 37
1 Feather Bed 1 Fender
No 38
2 Glass Bowls sent t0 Dining Room
1 Ward Robe  1 Carpet

Kitchen
1 Cooking Stove         2 Coffee Boilers
1 Tea Boiler                4 Small Boilers
1 Large Grid iron        23 Pans
8 Steamers                  3 Senks

Pastry Room
1 Large Brass Kettle   2 Small Kettles
9 Cake Pans    6 Shape Pans   4 do. Break    

Publick Dining Room
19 Tables        3 Side Boards
8 Branch Candle Sticks (Silver Gilt)
88 Chairs (Windsor)   1 block
4 Custers         1 Coffee Urn
1 Tea Urn        1 Tea (black)
2 Tea Boards   11 Waiters (small)
6 Doz. Knives 7 Forks            44 Tumblers
11 Doz. White Dinner Plates  23 Jelly Glasses
24 Wines         15 Dishes Aported
15 Butter Plates          12 Salt Stands
2 Molasses Jugs          20 Stalk Glasses
5 Egg Boilers              10 Pitchers
5 Celery Stands           5 Sallad Stands
2 Tureens                    41/2 Doz. Cups & Saucers
10 Creams                   1 Gong
6 Doz. Ger. Sil. Spoons (Tea Sp.)      13 Table Spoons
4 Sugar Tongs             2 Silver Ladles

Private Din. Room     
1 Copper Coffee Urn  1 Block           1 Side Board   9 Tables
3 Casters         5 Sil. Candle Sticks with Shades        1 Large Pier Glass
30 Chairs         2 Silver Soup Ladles   25 Silver Table Spoons
4 Cream Spoons          3 Sugar Tongs             23 Silver Tea Spoons
4 Butter Knives           21 German Silver Tea Spoons           
34 Large Ger. Sil. Forks         32 Dinner Knives        29 Small Ger. Sil. Forks
2 Carvers & Forks      1 Tureen Soup           
34 Dinner Plates         6 Dishes          3 Pickle Dishes          
4 Sallad Bowls            4 Creams         19 Cups & Saucers    
3 Glass Stands             4 cust(?) Stands          3 Celery Stands
6 Sugar Dishes            2 Sauce Boats             35 Champ. Glasses
27 ___ Glasses            3 White Pitchers         3 China Pitchers
6 Salt Sellers               3 Hash Dishes with covers
2 Tea Pots                   1 Plate Heater
3 Large Waiters          4 Small Waiters
1 Molasses Jug            3 Glass Sweet ___ Dishes
11 Tumblers

Bar Room
1 Side Board               1 Water Can
2 Writing Desks          1 Iron Chest
11 Chairs                     4 Settees
Map of the World       2 Lamps
1 Looking Glass          9 Decanters



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