Fact Friday 130 - Hotel Charlotte & Carillon Tower
Happy Cold Friday!
Hotel Charlotte, Charlotte's grandest and most famous hotel
The Hotel Charlotte opened uptown in 1924 and quickly became one of the city's leading social gathering places. It was the brainchild of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and a group of local financiers who felt that the city lacked a high-class signature hotel for visiting salesmen and businessmen. By 1930 the Hotel Charlotte sat amid a boom in uptown development and boasted 400 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the Carolinas. During the 1930s and 1940s Charlotte became a major recording center for country, blues, and gospel music, and hundreds of recording artists such as the Monroe Brothers and the Carter Family were made in a suite of rooms on the tenth floor by RCA Victor Records. The guest list over the hotel's years of prominence included presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, as well as Babe Ruth.
This earlier photograph shows the base of the hotel and its surrounding storefronts in 1930.
The Hotel Charlotte became a fixture of Charlotte's skyline and remained the city's most exclusive hotel into the 1960s. Despite the addition of the much-needed convention center adjacent to the hotel, it suffered decline in business in the late 1960s. The rise of motels and the construction of a local civic center sealed its fate, and it closed in 1973. Despite being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it was razed on November 6, 1988. During the demolition, magician and escape artist David Copperfield performed an escape from the rubble after being locked inside a safe in the building. The site is now occupied by the Carillon Tower, a 394-foot high-rise office building that was completed in 1991. The only reminder of the Hotel Charlotte is inside, there a motorized kinetic art sculpture incorporates the ornate lion's head carving that once adorned the hotel.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass