Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia)

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Jefferson Hotel
Jefferson Hotel Richmond VA.jpg
The historic Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond
General information
Location101 W Franklin St., Richmond, Virginia, U.S., 23220[1]
Coordinates37°32′39.42″N 77°26′43.09″W / 37.5442833°N 77.4453028°W / 37.5442833; -77.4453028Coordinates: 37°32′39.42″N 77°26′43.09″W / 37.5442833°N 77.4453028°W / 37.5442833; -77.4453028
OpeningOctober 31, 1895
OwnerCCA Financial[2]
Technical details
Floor count6
Other information
Number of rooms166
Number of suites15
Number of restaurants2
Parkingon-site valet and self parking
Jefferson Hotel
Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia) is located in Virginia
Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia)
Location in Virginia
Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia) is located in the United States
Jefferson Hotel (Richmond, Virginia)
Location in United States
Location104 W. Main St., Richmond, Virginia
Coordinates37°32′39″N 77°26′44″W / 37.54417°N 77.44556°W / 37.54417; -77.44556
Area1.5 acres (0.61 ha)
ArchitectCarrère and Hastings, J. Kevan Peebles
Architectural styleLate 19th and early 20th century American Movements
NRHP reference No.69000351[3]
VLR No.127-0001
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 4, 1969
Designated VLRNovember 5, 1968[4]

The Jefferson Hotel is a luxury hotel in Richmond, Virginia, United States, opened in 1895. In 1969,[5] it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Jefferson is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[6] On site is "Lemaire", a restaurant named after Etienne Lemaire, who served as maitre d'hotel to Thomas Jefferson from 1794 through the end of his presidency.


Tobacco baron Lewis Ginter planned the development of the hotel as a premier property in the city of Richmond. It was designed in the Spanish Baroque Style by Carrère and Hastings, noted national architects based in New York City who later designed the New York Public Library. Construction began in 1892 and the hotel opened for business on October 31, 1895.[7] After a fire gutted the interior of the hotel in 1901, it had a lengthy restoration. It reopened in 1907. It has received restorations and upgrades of systems through the years.

Patrons have included thirteen United States presidents, writers, and celebrities, including Henry James, Charles Lindbergh, The Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Anthony Hopkins.[8]

In 1901, there was a wire fire that destroyed three-fifths of the hotel. There were no casualties; however, the statue of Thomas Jefferson was almost destroyed. The sculptor and crew pushed the statue on a mattress and pulled it to safety. During the rescue process, the head broke off. Eventually, the sculpture was repaired. In March 1944, another fire occurred. Six people were killed during the fire.[citation needed]

In the check-in lobby, known as the Palm Court, nine original stained glass Tiffany windows with the hotel's monogram remain. The three stained glass windows above the front desk and the stained glass dome are reproductions.

Alligators in the lobby[edit]

In his autobiography The Moon's a Balloon (1972), Academy Award-winning actor David Niven described a trip from New York to Florida in the late 1930s, during which he decided to spend the night at the Jefferson Hotel. Niven said that, as he was signing the guest registry in the lobby, his eyes snapped open with amazement when he noticed a full-sized alligator swimming in a small pool located six feet from the reception desk.[9] The alligators at the Jefferson became world-famous. Old Pompey, the last alligator living in the marble pools of the Jefferson's Palm Court, survived until 1948.[10][a] Bronze statues of the alligators now decorate the hotel. Its restaurant, Lemaire, has a theme of alligator motifs.[11]

In culture[edit]

The hotel and its restaurant were used for filming interior scenes for the 1981 American film My Dinner with Andre, featuring Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory.[12]

Jefferson Hotel, early 20th century


  1. ^ Currently, the space that was filled with alligators is now a statue of Thomas Jefferson.[10]
  1. ^ "Jefferson Hotel by AreaG2". AreaG2, Inc. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  2. ^ "Affiliated Companies". CCA Financial. Archived from the original on September 19, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "Hotel Jefferson National Register Nomination" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "The Hotel Jefferson, a Historic Hotels of America member". Historic Hotels of America. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  7. ^ "The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Virginia". Simon and Baker.
  8. ^ "Henry James as Landlord". The Atlantic Monthly. August 1946. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  9. ^ Niven, David (1972). The Moon's a Balloon. Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-399-10557-3.
  10. ^ a b "History". Jefferson Hotel. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  11. ^ "Lemaire Fact Sheet [Press Release]" (PDF). Lemaire Restaurant. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  12. ^ Chaney, Jen (June 23, 2009). "DVD Review: "My Dinner with Andre"". Washington Post.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Jefferson, Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore: Press of A. Hoen & Co., c. 1890s, OL 22883875M (Promotional brochure)
  • Herbert, Paul N. (2012). The Jefferson Hotel: The History of a Richmond Landmark. The History Press.

External links[edit]