Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nashville Hotels 1870

Excerpt from
Nashville and Her Trade for 1870
By Charles Edwin Robert

As the social and moral qualities of men or women are rated according to the company they keep, the pretensions of a city to metropolitan prominence are generally judged by the character of its Hotels. Comfortable quarters and generous fare are inducive to good humor, liberality and fair dealing. In such a humor the Wholesale Dealer prefers to find his prospective customers; while it is equally true that cramped, gloomy accommodations and unpalatable cookery are formidable agents in driving trade from those points where they are but too often the chief characteristics of trade establishments. A capacious Hotel, well kept, handsomely furnished, thoroughly ventilated and in a central locality, actually amounts to many thousands of dollars in the pockets of the business men who control the trade of the place where it is situated, and we are glad to know that Nashville in this respect is fully and ably prepared to surpass any city of equal size in the United States. This may seem to persons who are not familiar with our Hotels an extravagant assertion, yet we but reiterate the opinions of tourists and strangers who have recently visited our City and who have not only willingly admitted their excellence in point of architectural beauty, magnificence, convenience and general appointments, but in all matters pertaining to their cuisine departments and general facilities for lodging guests. All travelers use Hotels for three special purposes—shelter, eating and sleeping. And in these requisite particulars we challenge our sister cities to offer more appropriate, luxurious and pleasant houses for the weary traveler, the business man, or he who has only

"To take mine ease at mine inn,"
than this same City of Nashville we are now discussing. However when we come to particularize their claims for public patronage we must admit the embarrassing position that a writer is thrown in who attempts complimentary discrimination, for in many instances what characterizes one may in all appropriateness be applied to another.

This splendid structure, occupying an admirable site at the junction of Cherry and Church Streets, in the immediate heart of the City, is a building in which the highest architectural skill has been displayed, not only for the convenience and comfort of guests but for the excellent and economical and systematic performance of the necessary labor to conduct such a mammoth and magnificent house. The Maxwell House is six stories high in its front elevation and seven stories in the rear, counting the basement. It has 180 feet front on Cherry Street and 170 on Church Street. There are in the building two hundred and four sleeping apartments, besides elegant suites of ladies and gentlemen's parlors, dining rooms, ordinaries, promenades, corridors, and the grand rotunda, making in all two hundred and forty rooms. The building is supplied with Otis & Co.'s latest improved and patented Passenger and Baggage Elevators.

The cookery and laundry departments are run by steam and the entire building is heated by steam—in truth, everything is in keeping with the most metropolitan and modern advancements in Hotel arrangements, and language has not yet been invented terse and concise enough to give in one breath its many conveniences. From its elegantly furnished parlors and drawing-rooms to the farthest removed apartment in its top-loftical stories all is neatness, cleanliness, splendor. Bath-rooms and water-closets are on each floor, while to its general appointments are added a Telegraph and Railroad Ticket Office, a News Depot, Shaving Saloons, Billiard Rooms, and a first class Bar.

The Maxwell House was erected at an outlay of about one-half million of dollars, and was opened to the public during October of last year, furnished and fitted in splendid style from top to bottom. Since that time its success has been unprecedented in this section, and we learn that by actual calculation not less than 12,000 names were included in its register the first six months of its career. The Maxwell House is owned by Mr. John Overton, of Nashville, a gentleman whose wealth, enterprise and public spirit has marked him as one of our most prominent citizens. It is under the control of Messrs. M. Kean & Co., who are also the well-known proprietors of the Louisville Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky. The senior of the firm gives the "Maxwell" his whole and undivided attention, and to whose liberality, enterprise and large-heartedness the Hotel to-day owes a goodly share of its grand success. In the office of the Maxwell may be found a trio of gentlemanly clerks—Messrs. William M. Bowles, F. M. Crawford and James Carr—well up in matters of affability, experience and attentiveness. The cuisine is under the supervision of Mr. Louis R. Kean, caterer and assistant general Superintendent—a " chip of the old block"—who, like his worthy progenitor, understands how to keep a hotel. The whole force employed in running the establishment numbers one hundred and fifty persons, and we verily believe none are retained who are wanting in efficiency, in its strongest sense, for the most systematic order is preserved throughout from parlor to kitchen.

The "Maxwell" enjoys an enviable situation as regards convenience to the Business Centres, Railroad Depots, Steamboat Landings, Churches, Public Buildings and points of interest about the Capital. Special and reduced rates are made by the proprietors with merchants and tradesmen visiting Nashville with a view of purchasing their goods in this market, and tourists and travelers will find the " Maxwell" a most delightful place to stop at.

The City Hotel of Nashville dates its origin back to the days of "Old Hickory," and will be remembered as the scene of the celebrated fight which occurred between General Jackson and the Hon. Thos. Benton, in 1813, and which has been previously referred to by us. From time immemorial it has been the rendezvous of many of the prominent men of this section, and on its old register pages might be traced the names of a legion of those, who, as it were, have "moved nations in their day." Passing successively through the hands of a long line of genial and hospitable landlords, in July, 1869, it came into the possession of, and was opened under the most favorable auspices, by the present firm, Messrs. Joel A. Battle & Co., composed of General Joel A. Battle and Mr. Stephen M. Jones. Refitted, refurnished and renovated entire, it began a career whose success has never flagged.

The City Hotel is situated on the east side of the Public Square, in the very center of the "Wholesale trade of our City, and is a most desirable stopping place for the country merchant, or visitor to the City. It has 65 bed chambers, beside a full complement of parlors, sitting rooms, etc. It is three stories high, without the basement and four stories with it. It is built in the regular Southern Hotel style, having long porticos extending the full length of the building. Its location is high and airy, and the rear of the premises run back to banks of the Cumberland River. From the windows of the Hotel a most charming view of the City and of Edgefield, and their beautiful surroundings is obtained. On account of its admirable system of drainage the City Hotel was prominently spoken of as the Custom House site, and this fact only renders it the more desirable as a Hotel. To those who have been familiar with its history it need not be told that under its present management the establishment is perhaps on a better footing than has ever before been known, and strangers will find themselves perfectly at home in the hands of the experienced proprietors, courteous clerks and attentive waiters. The table is always supplied with the very best that the market affords, and its lodging apartments are unsurpassed. General Joel A. Battle, the senior of the proprietors, will be remembered by many of his old comrades in arms as the commander of the 20th Tennessee Regiment, of the late "so-called." Patriarchal in appearance, and courteous and hospitable by nature, he cannot fail, by his genial presence, to inspire his guest with a feeling of perfect ease and satisfaction. Mr. Stephen M. Jones, of this firm, is a gentleman of enlarged hotel experience, and in former days was the proprietor of the Commercial Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee, and during the war, of the Augusta Hotel, Augusta, Georgia.


The Stacey House, under the control of its builder, owner and proprietor, Capt. J. Edward Stacey, is on Church Street between Summer and High, in one of the most central and fashionable yet retired and convenient quarters of the City.

The Stacey House was built in 1863, and was conducted by Capt. Stacey with marked success for a considerable time. He finally disposed of the property, but lately repurchased it, and in 1869, after refitting and refurnishing the establishment entire, opened under the most favorable auspices one of the neatest and best-arranged Hotels in this section. The Stacey House has some sixty sleeping apartments, a dining-hall, tidy and comfortable, capable of accommodating one hundred persons at one sitting, and many other conveniences modern and metropolitan. Church Street is the dividing line North and South of the City, and the Stacey House is at about its business center, and enjoys unrivalled advantages for the entertainment of guests who desire quietude conjoined with all the luxuries and most of the advantages of city life.

The Commercial Hotel, located at the corner of Cedar and Cherry Streets, occupies a desirable centrality. It is on the opposite corner from the new City Post Office and midway between the State Capital and the Public Square. The Hotel is an old and well-established house, and in days prior to the war was known as the "Verandah," but during the war, if we mistake not, received its present title. The Commercial has forty-one bed-rooms, besides parlors, family rooms, bridal-chambers, etc. In addition, there is in convenient connection with the office a News-Depot, Barber-Shops and a Saloon. The present proprietor is Mr. J. G. Fulghum, and behind the counter may be found Messrs. Jos. LaPrade and W. H. Benton, ready to do the agreeable to the weary traveler. Mrs. J. G. Fulghum gives her entire attention to the culinary department, a fact which is at once recognized as sufficient to insure for the Commercial a most liberal share of trade and travel. The Hotel opened under its present management in the early part of 1866, and on the whole has been the most successful house of the kind in the City. It is the headquarters of a large number of country merchants who come to Nashville to trade. Convenient to Churches, Railroads and places of interest about town, it has grown vastly popular.


This new Hotel and Restaurant, kept on the European plan by Wm. T. Linck, Esq., is located on North College Street, first door South of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Depot. The Linck Hotel is owned and was built during last year by its present proprietor.

Linck's Hotel

It is perhaps one of the cosiest and neatest establishments of its kind in this section of country, and is as compact and convenient a building as any traveler would desire to stop at. Bath-rooms and water-closets are on each floor, and the utmost nicety and cleanliness is preserved throughout the entire building. The Linck Hotel dates its existence from the 12th of October last, at which time it was thrown open to the public with everything in it new and first class. The Restaurant table is supplied at all seasons with delicacies of home and foreign markets, and by no means the least noticeable feature of the establishment is the elegant Bar well-fitted and well stocked with everything in the way of drinkables. The European plan has rendered the Linck Hotel exceedingly popular, and takes well in Nashville.

The Merchant's Exchange Restaurant and Saloon is located on North Cherry Street between Church and Union and nearly opposite the Maxwell House. The Saloon of the "Merchant's" is under the conduct of an enterprising and experienced firm—Messrs. Kinney & Wand, while the Restaurant department flourishes under the personal supervision of the Jonnard Brothers, distinguished caterers in this section. First-class and elegant in every particular, the extensive patronage it enjoys not only from Nashvillians but from strangers who visit the City, is but a just recognition of its merits. Centrally located, pleasantly surrounded and with everything about the establishment admirably arranged, it offers inducements that cannot be ignored by those who seek comfort, convenience, luxury and ease. The Saloon is one of the largest and best stocked in the City, while the viands prepared for the Restaurant table are always of the most inviting nature and bear the test of skill as exercised by a most accomplished corps of cooks. Then, as if to crown all, polite and efficient waiters attend the guest at every beck and call, making the Merchant's decidedly inviting as to rest and refreshment.

There are in addition to the foregoing quite a number of other Hotels, small it is true, but are well kept and well patronized. They are located as follows:

Nicholson House, a first-class house in many particulars, I. C. Nicholson, proprietor, No. 185 Church Street.

Nicholson House
St. Charles Hotel, 35 North Market Street, N. B. Hamilton, proprietor.

Planters' Hotel, 83 North Summer Street, Mrs. S. A. Ballowe, proprietress.

Franklin House, 105 North College St., E. Franklin, proprietor.

Broadway Hotel, 82 Broad Street, Mrs. J. F. Keel, proprietress.

Gordon House, 90 South Market Street, Jno. H. Dix, proprietor.

Kendrick House, corner Church and McLemore Streets, B. McCabe

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