Scimitar Building

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Scimitar Building
Scimitar Building NRHP 83003065.jpg
Location179 Madison Avenue at Third Street
Memphis, Tennessee
Built1902
ArchitectAugust A. Chigazola and William J. Hanker
Websitewww.choicehotels.com/tennessee/memphis/ascend-hotels/tn729
NRHP reference No.83003065
Added to NRHPJune 1983

Scimitar Building, also known as the Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Building, Winchester Building and most recently Hotel Napoleon, is a five-story stone-veneer structure in Memphis, Tennessee. Its architecture features a combination of Beaux-Arts and Romanesque Revival styles. It started life as the home of the Memphis newspaper Evening Scimitar and is currently a boutique hotel.

Building[edit]

The Scimitar Building is a five-story stoned-veneer structure on a raised basement, designed in a combination of Beaux-Arts and Romanesque revival styles.[1] The lobby is lined with original Tennessee marble, and is encircled by large circular, arched windows.[2]

Originally the building had entrances on both Third and Madison streets.[1] Lion heads decorate the top of the building along the fifth floor.[1]

Although several alterations have been done in 1920s, 1950s, 1970s, and 2010s, the building overall retains a high degree of historical and architectural integrity.[1]

History[edit]

Scimitar Building in 1909

The Scimitar Building was commissioned by Napoleon Hill (1830–1909) in 1902 and designed by local architects August A. Chigazola (1869-1911) and William J. Hanker (1876–1958).[1][3] Hill, known as Memphis' original "merchant prince",[4] was one of the wealthiest people in Memphis, and a part owner of the Evening Scimitar.[1] Hill lived across Madison Avenue in a mansion which stood on the site of the present Sterick Building.[1][5] Hill's initials can still be seen etched into the façade of the building.[2]

The Scimitar Building was home to the Memphis newspaper Evening Scimitar (later News-Scimitar and then Press-Scimitar) from 1902 to 1929.[1] The newspaper took up three floors of the building.[1] The raised basement was home to the stereotype and composing rooms of the newspaper, as well as the press machinery.[1] People on the street could view the press machinery in operation through the building's giant windows.[1] In 1926, the newspaper outgrew the building and moved to an address on Union Avenue.[1]

The building was the headquarters for Memphis Light, Gas and Water from 1937 to 1970.[1] Later, the building was an office building known as the Winchester Building.[6] The Winchester Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.[2] The property went on the market in 2012 and was sold in 2014 for $1.26 million.[6]

In 2016 the building re-opened as the Hotel Napoleon with 56 guest rooms, a business center, and fitness center. The local architecture firm, UrbanARCH, was responsible for the re-design and conversion. The project garnered both local and regional design awards recognition. [7] Named after original owner Napoleon Hill, the hotel is a member of Ascend Hotels, the boutique brand of parent company Choice Hotels.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "National Register Digital Assets: Scimitar Building". National Park Service. National Park Service. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Faber, Madeline (16 August 2016). "Hotel Napoleon Joins Growing List of Unique Downtown Lodging". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Hill, Napoleon".
  4. ^ Jacobson, Kelsey (2 August 2016). "Hotel Napoleon slated to open in Downtown Memphis by end of August". WMC Action News 5. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Scimitar Building". Historic Memphis Buildings. Historic Memphis. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Hotel Developer Moves On Scimitar Building Conversion". The Daily News. September 1, 2015.
  7. ^ Sell, George (October 2016). "Hotel Napoleon in Memphis taking bookings". Boutique Hotel news. Retrieved 27 October 2016.