San Carlos Hotel (Pensacola, Florida)

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San Carlos Hotel
General information
Architectural style Mediterranean Revival
Location 1 North Palafox Street
Construction started April 1909
Completed 1910[1]
Demolished 1993[1]
Cost $500,000[1]
Client James Muldon & F.F. Bingham
Technical details
Size Seven stories[1]
Design and construction
Architect William Lee Stoddart[1]
Engineer

C. H. Turner[1]

San Carlos Hotel
Location 1 N. Palafox St., Pensacola, Florida
Area less than one acre
Demolished 1993
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82002374[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 1982
Removed from NRHP February 4, 1994

The San Carlos Hotel, sometimes called the Hotel San Carlos and affectionately dubbed the Gray Lady of Palafox, was a grand and revered hotel in Pensacola for much of the 20th century.

The San Carlos Hotel was the project of local businessmen James Muldon and F. F. Bingham, who saw the need for the kind of upscale hotel being erected in larger cities and issued stock in the project under the name Pensacola Hotel Company. Regarding the site, their original choice was the northeast corner of Palafox and Garden Streets, which had no significant structures at the time. However, they instead purchased the northwest corner from the First Methodist Church, which was relocating to Wright Street, at a cost of $75,000. (The Methodists had purchased the property from Colonel C. C. Yonge] in 1882 for an old Tarragona Street church building valued at $1,500 plus $100 "to boot."[3])

The hotel was designed by New York architect William Lee Stoddart and erected by local firm C. H. Turner Construction Co. at a cost of $500,000.[1] A sturdy beam-and-girder structural system, designed to withstand hurricane winds, was covered by ceramic tile and stucco. The name "San Carlos" was selected on January 15, 1909, and site clearing began thereafter. As the Pensacola Journal explained:

Ground was broken in April 1909, and construction was completed in 1910. It opened its doors on the first day of Mardi Gras celebrations. The hotel had its own well, with a rooftop cistern and purification system, and the original 157 rooms each had an exterior window and modern furnishings.

Muldon and Bingham leased operation of the hotel to George Charles Harvey[5] until 1919, and then to the Newcomb Hotel Company until 1922, when it was sold to lumber magnate William B. Harbeson[6] and managed by his son-in-law. The new owners soon announced a massive expansion on the north and west sides of the hotel that maintained a consistent facade and added 246 rooms, a ballroom, a new lobby, and space for offices and shops. New Orleans architect Emile Weil, Inc. and associate architect W.D. Willis were responsible for these renovations, with kitchen and food services upgrades completed by the Albert Pick-Barth Companies.[7]

WCOA began broadcasting there in 1932. Artist Joy Postle painted murals in the main lobby and dining room.[8]

The San Carlos Hotel ceased operations in 1982[1] and lay vacant for more than a decade. A proposal by Baptist Health Care to convert it to retirement apartments failed to materialize. Despite it being added to the National Register of Historic Places,[9] the hotel was demolished in 1993.[1] A new United States Courthouse was built on the site in 1998 (designated the Winston E. Arnow Federal Building in 2010.[10]).

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Site of the San Carlos Hotel, Florida Historical Marker
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ "Purchased For $1,600, Sold 26 Years Later For $75,000." Pensacola Journal, January 29, 1909.
  4. ^ Hotel San Carlos The Name Selected Pensacola Journal, January 16, 1909.
  5. ^ Tersely Told The Pensacola journal., December 22, 1909]
  6. ^ Stone & Webster Journal, Volume 31, July-December 1922
  7. ^ Hotel Planning and Outfitting. Chicago: The Albert Pick-Barth Companies, 1928. The Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
  8. ^ Hotel monthly, Volume 45, John Willy, 1937
  9. ^ Historic Pensacola hotel to be razed, Lakeland Ledger, November 2, 1986
  10. ^ Obama approves new federal building names, The Washington Post, December 15, 2010

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