Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vacation, Day 3, 10/23/2009, Part 4

Just a bit for you, around downtown Jackson, Mississippi, the city I was born in almost 62 years ago, in the no-longer-there Baptist Hospital on North State Street which is also Highway 51. Whoa. Does that sound ever-lovin' weird! How could I be 62 on Saturday? How? Not sure, just thankful!

The King Edward Hotel, also known as Edwards Hotel, is a historic hotel in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. The second of two buildings located on the site at the corner of Capitol and Mill Streets, it was closed and vacant for nearly 40 years before renovations began in 2006. The hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976[1] and declared a Mississippi Landmark in 1990.[2] The Hilton Garden Inn-Jackson Downtown, formerly known as King Edward Hotel will open to the public December 15, 2009.

The entrance faces West Capitol Street, walk out, turn left and cross at the light--you're on your way to the Jackson Amtrak Station, beautifully renovated between 2003-2004.

It would have been a sacrilege to tear down this wonderful building.

Surely this sign will remain, even with the name change.


The original hotel on the site was known as the Confederate House, built by "Major" R.O. Edwards. After being destroyed in the Civil War, the hotel was reopened in 1867 as the Edwards House. This structure was replaced in 1923 by the present building, a 12 story beige brick structure, designed in the Beaux-Arts architecture style by New Orleans architect William Nolan. The hotel was the center of Jackson society and politics for over forty years.

A room at the hotel was used by Okeh Records to record a number of important blues sessions in December 1930.

In 1955, the hotel was purchased by R.E. "Dumas" Milner, a wealthy automobile dealer and businessman. Milner renovated the hotel in the popular modernist style of the day. Many of the original details were obscured in the renovations. The hotel closed in 1967 after years of declining occupancy rates and has remained vacant since. Standard Life bought the building in 1976 and got it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. They sold to private developers for half a million dollars in 1981. While a number of attempts to restore the building had proven ineffective and demolition of the building continued to be considered by Jackson city leadership, a workable plan was finally agreed upon. The former Mayor of Jackson, Harvey Johnson Jr., called the renovation of the hotel the "linchpin" [sic] in attempts to revitalize the downtown of the city.

As of December 2006, Watkins Partners, former New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Historic Restoration Inc. of New Orleans have formed a partnership to restore the King Edward. It is expected to reopen its doors as a Hilton Garden Inn in December of 2009 with 186 hotel rooms, 64 luxury apartments expected to be ready in December, a signature restaurant, bar coffee shop and some retail space. The interior renovation of the historic hotel, designed by Thomas Hamilton & Associates of Richmond, Virginia, incorporates Hilton brand design requirements into the existing hotel, while preserving some of the original historic architectural elements as part of the hotel project. The renovation began in November, 2007 and will be completed in December, 2009, at a cost of $90 million.

H.R.I. and Watkins Partners also plan to renovate the adjacent Standard Life Building into 76 luxury apartments, beginning in 2008 with an anticipated completion in late 2009.

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