Above: The Grand Hotel in 1937 (Indiana Historical Society, William H. Bass Photo Company, #237,900)

It goes without saying that the Claypool would be at the top of the list, but we just covered that a couple weeks ago. Here are five others worth revisiting:

English Hotel and Opera House. Image: Library of Congress circa 1905

When discussions of time travel and visiting Indianapolis’ past comes up, inevitably the first hotel mentioned is The English. The impressive structure that once stood on the circle calls to mind the upper crust of Victorian society in Indianapolis.

A few highlights from The Hotel English:

  • Belt of Bedford sandstone, and adorned with heads of members of the English family back to colonial times, carved in stone.
  • Throughout the hotel, and theaters, the color scheme was green and ivory with touches of gold when it was expanded in 1898.
  • There were 14 “store rooms,” or shops in the hotel.
  • The Ladies Entrance opened into a pretty reception room with green and ivory paneled walls, rich rug and mahogany tables and chairs.
  • The intertwined initials “H. E.” could be found on all the silver in the hotel when the expansion of the hotel opened in 1898.
  • A “New English Hotel” was created of an old apartment building just a couple blocks north.

Read a full article about The Denison Hotel here and, in the meantime a few extra morsels about the place:

One of the many convention hotels of early Indianapolis, undoubtedly decked out for one of them, in the tiled lobby.

  • It was the headquarter hotel when the League of American Wheelmen held their annual national meet in Indianapolis in 1898.
  • Governor James A. Mount died in the hotel lobby, as he was preparing to head home to Montgomery County.
  • The hotel is also known for changing from a primarily Republican gathering place to one for Democrats when Thomas Taggart became the executive head of the Denison in the fall of 1907.
  • If political life in the city was a game of chess, the Denison was the chess board.
  • The Denison’s popular bar stood at the corner of Pennsylvania and Wabash, until the 18th Amendment went into effect in 1919.
  • The hotel was razed in 28 days– between October and November 1933–just a little over a month before that bar could’ve gone back into public service.

Denison Hotel razing under way. image: Indiana Historical Society, P0236

Looking northwest over the intersection of Ohio Street, Pennsylvania Street and Massachusetts Avenue over what was the site of the Denison Hotel Indiana Historical Society, P0236

Read about The Grand Hotel on the southeast corner of Maryland and Illinois streets was five stories tall with a basement as well and

  • had 7000 feet of marble tiling
  • formally opened their parlors to the public on September 22, 1875, after projecting to open on September 1.
  • was made of pressed brick and Elliotsville stone
  • had 7 New Brunswick tables in the billiard parlors.
  • had 200 rooms in 40,000 square feet of space
  • the hotel was among a three-block stretch of South Illinois between Washington Street and Union Station nicknamed “The Levee”
  • was demolished after May 26, 1957 when the below ad appeared for a business that operated out of the hotel’s building

The  Imperial Hotel building designed first as a Surgical Institute and constructed in 1893, became a series of hotels post-1900. In its last years was an apartment building. It was razed in 1949, after a fire.

1900 ad for Imperial Hotel

The Lincoln Hotel  Demolished by implosion in 1973, the first building of its size to be felled in this manner. You might be a preservationist if the below images make you want to hurl.

A new crop of hotels is on the way to replace some of what we lost plus the additional visitors you’d expect with the country’s growing population. It’s just unfortunate we lost these.

We’d love to see any items readers have relating to any of these or other historic hotels. Feel free to send us an image by following this link.

2 responses to “5 Indy Hotels You’ll Wish You’d Seen”

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