New Addition Will Be Ready For Occupancy In September-Constructed At Total Cost Over Million
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
With the completion and formal opening in September of the new Hotel Roanoke, Roanoke City and County will have one of the most beautiful and modern hotels in the country. The project was started in September of last year.
The new structure is being built at a cost of $1,055,000, exclusive of furnishings, and is the first hotel in America scientifically planned for air-conditioning. The hostelry will have 310 rooms; a new garage, which with present facilities, will accommodate 100 cars; the largest ballroom in this territory, a new dining room; an ultra-modern kitchen, laundry and other features which provide adequate facilities to efficiently handle large conventions. The hotel will be completely fireproof throughout. Radios will be installed in each room of the new building, with the latest control system.
The new west wing of the hotel is designed to harmonize with the present east wing and will carry out the old English style of architecture. The new part of the hotel will include 181 new rooms, the new ballroom, main and private dining rooms, lobby, lounge rooms, roof garden, beauty parlors, barber shops, kitchen, laundry and garage.
The hotel is being built of structural steel framework with floors of reinforced concrete and hollow cinder block. Conforming with the architecture of the present building, the exterior of the hotel is face brick, paneled with stucco and half timbering, faced with Indiana limestone and native field stone. The hostelry will have a roof of slate on gypsum slabs. Plans call for rearranging and paving of the driveways with provision for adequate parking space.
During construction, guests are being housed in the east wings, beneath which are established a grill and kitchen. A temporary entrance to the building is in the east wing, in which are located the hotel offices.
The focal point of the new hotel will be Jefferson Street and Shenandoah Avenue, instead of directly south as at present. A pyramided tower will form the central motif of the structure. This will be flanked on the south and west by two octagonal towers, suggested by early English mansions. The towers will house the better suites and will have windows on three sides.
The main entrance, which faces a pool and park, with an encircling driveway, is formed by five arched porticos, flanked by bowed terraces. Passing through the porticos the guest enters an English lobby, 35 by 74 feet, paneled from floor to ceiling with American walnut. To the left of the lobby is the main dining room, which has a floor space of 5,000 square feet and a seating capacity of 250. This room will be featured by a large circular bay on the north side and central dance floor.
On a higher level, to the right of the lobby, will be located an oval shaped palm room-45 feet wide by 56 feet long. Adjoining the palm room is a large assembly hall or gallery, 15 feet wide and 100 feet long, which opens into the huge ballroom and four large private dining rooms. The ballroom, 55 feet wide by 108 feet long, will be one of the largest in this territory. The ballroom and the private dining rooms will have a seating capacity of approximately 1,000. The management pointed out that these rooms, which will be treated acoustically, will form one of the largest hotel convention areas in this section of the country.
Other features of the main floor include a large lounge to be done in knotty pine, and rooms designed for afternoon teas and parties, etc.
All guest rooms will be modern in every respect, with tub and shower, ample closet space and otherwise equipped to provide the last word in comfort and convenience. Guests can “make their own weather” during any season of the year by the simple turn of a radio-like dial, which automatically controls the temperature in each of the 181 rooms in the new wings.
Rooms on the front of the hotel will be equipped with double, double-hung windows-four sashes in each opening. This innovation, it was pointed out, will ensure the utmost quiet at all times.
The kitchen of the hotel will be one of its most unusual features, according to the architects and operators, who made an extensive study of plans for this department. Arranged for efficient and fast service, it will be fitted with every modern culinary apparatus for the preparation of dishes for which Hotel Roanoke is famous. The walls will be of glazed terra cotta tile, with floors of quarry tile and fixtures of stainless steel. Foods will be kept in refrigerating units designed along the most scientific lines. These features, plus mechanical dish washing units and other modern equipment, provide for the utmost in sanitation and cleanliness. Plans also include an adequate banquet pantry designed for handling large convention groups.
Another innovation of the hotel is a roof garden, 46×67 feet, located on the fourth floor level. It will be appropriately appointed and decorated.
Barber shops, beauty parlors, etc., will be located beneath the main lobby. A completely equipped, modern laundry, which will handle all hotel linens and cleaning, will be located in the basement on the north side of the building.
The penthouse on the seventh floor of the tower will include a kitchenette, living room, dining room, two bedrooms and hall.
Widely known for its distinctive architecture and setting, Hotel Roanoke is one of the oldest hostelries in the city. The original Hotel Roanoke was built in 1882 by the Roanoke Land and Improvement Company when the town had a population of approximately 1,000.
The first addition to the original building was built in 1888. Since that time, the hotel has been frequently enlarged and improved, including the construction of new wings and other additions. In 1916, a three-story, 72-room addition was built on the old east wing site. The project also included construction of private dining rooms, a ballroom and other facilities. This was followed by further alterations and betterments, such as the palm room, grill room, new lobby and modernization of the west wing.
The most important improvement within recent years was made in 1931 with the construction of a four-story addition to replace the old north wing, and a 60-car garage.
Luxuriously furnished with the most modern facilities for the comfort and convenience of the guests, the new wing was formally opened to the public on November 10, 1931, with a reception, banquet and dance.
Located in the basement of the hotel, the garage is equipped with every facility and provides complete servicing for automobiles.
During a career of more than half a century, Hotel Roanoke has played a prominent part in the civic and social life of the city. The hostelry is noted for its cuisine. Of old English architecture, and known as “A Modern Version of an Old English Inn,” the hotel is set on a natural eminence in a ten-acre park, with rolling lawns, flower gardens, huge oaks and other shade trees.
-Prepared by Lisa King