Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Martha Washington

This hotel/apartment in Jacksonville's historic Riverside neighborhood was named the Martha Washington to play off the name of the George Washington Hotel downtown.  Originally built as a home in 1911, the mansion was converted to a hotel for women in 1939 and an addition was constructed on the back.

The home at 1636 King Street was built for lumberman Bryan W. Blount and was one of the largest mansions in the King Street area.
When the home was converted to a hotel, the name Martha Washington was chosen to play off downtown's George Washington Hotel and to reinforce the identify of this as a hotel for women only.  The George Washington Hotel operated from 1926 to 197.  It was torn down in 1973.  The new federal courthouse now occupies the site.
Meanwhile, the Martha Washington Hotel's women only policy did not last through World War 2, although it remained a residential hotel until 1977.  It was closed and was slated for demolition.  A wrecking company had already moved in when a group of preservationists organized investors to raise money to save the building.  It was then re-sold to a developer who converted it into condominiums.
This vintage picture will give you a sense of how the building has been altered over the years.  Compare to the picture at the can see that part of the veranda has been enclosed.
The other change, as mentioned earlier, is the addition on the Oak Street side of the building.
Despite the addition and other changes to the building, the Martha Washington Hotel remains a Riverside landmark.

No comments:

Post a Comment