The Hermitage Hotel

Built in 1910, it was Nashville's first million-dollar hotel. The only remaining commercial Beaux Arts structure in the state, the hotel is a special place to Nashville residents. Six presidents and entertainment royalty have graced the guest book. Includes 24-hour room and concierge service. It is Tennessee's only AAA Five Diamond hotel.
A $17 million restoration project restored the hotel to its former grandeur in 2003. Meticulous in detail, the project focused on the hotel's grand public spaces while adding new elements, such as DVD players in every room and personalized storage trunks for frequent guests.

Commissioned by 250 Nashvillians in 1908, The Hotel Hermitage (named after Andrew Jackson's Hermitage estate) opened its doors on Saturday, Sept. 17, 1910. The new hotel, which would flip flop its name in the 1940s, advertised its rooms as "fireproof, noiseproof, and dustproof, $2.00 and up." Each of the 250 rooms provided hot and cold circulating water, which was distilled to avoid typhoid. Each room had a private bath, telephone and electric fan, and a device to indicate the arrival of mail. When the hotel opened, there was a convention hall on the top floor that seated 200 people.

Only the finest materials were used: Italian sienna marble in the entrance; wall panels of Russian walnut; a cut, stained glass ceiling in the vaulted lobby; Persian rugs; and massive, overstuffed furniture. Downstairs, adjoining the Oak Bar, was the Grille Room (now The Capitol Grille), which was originally planned as a rathskellar. The room was built by craftsmen imported from Germany and emerged as a private club for men only.

As Nashville's first million-dollar hotel, it was the preferred gathering place for the city's socialites. It was the national platform for both pro- and anti-suffrage forces, and a national radio program originated from its famous dining room.

The Hermitage Hotel was a symbol of Nashville's emergence as a major Southern city. For its first 50 years, it flourished in the heart of a city that repeatedly earned its rightful place in the nation's history books. The hotel became a social center for Nashville and a frequent stop for some of the nation's most prominent figures, from presidents and war heroes to actresses and gangsters. From the early 20th century through the '30s and '40s, "Meet me at The Hermitage" could have been deemed the city's slogan.

Sadly, as Nashville's downtown business district began to decline in the 1960s, so did The Hermitage Hotel. The mid-1970s marked the beginning of a dismal period in the hotel's history, as the grand structure fell into disrepair and closed its doors in 1977. It had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places only two years earlier. Its closing marked the sad end to an era of elegance. During the four years it was closed, the hotel was almost was turned into an office complex, but after the financing for that project fell through, the hotel was renovated and reopened in 1981.

The hotel changed hands several times in the 80s and 90s. Then, in June 2000, Historic Hotels of Nashville, LLC., purchased The Hermitage Hotel and completed a $17 million renovation of the guest rooms and public areas. The hotel reopened on Valentine's Day 2003, and then received the prestigious American Automobile Association Five-Diamond rating - less than nine months later.


The Architect

John Edwin Ruethven Carpenter was born in Columbia, Tennessee, on January 7, 1867. He received his schooling at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, as well as what is now known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Les Ecole de Beaux Arts de Paris. Upon returning to the United States, he established a practice in New York City, where he remained until his death on June 11, 1932, at the age of 65.
Carpenter's commissions included buildings of all shapes and sizes in the cities of the Eastern United States. The work for which he is best known and honored is for innovation in design of apartment buildings. His greatest achievement in this area of design was generally considered to be the 630 Park Avenue Building, which was acknowledged to be the finest apartment plan ever developed in New York City.
The grandest project with which J.E.R. Carpenter was ever involved was the development of a design for the Summer Capitol of the United States, which was to be sited on a mountain in West Virginia. Carpenter, in 1918, produced a grand and beautiful plan, but obviously the project was dropped and nothing was built.
In the design of the Hermitage Hotel, Mr. Carpenter utilized his knowledge of the industrial structures and beauty of the Beaux Arts classicism. The school of design encourages the individual artist's taste and design to begin basically and simply. In the rising architecture emerges the French Renaissance embellishments and unites the exterior and the interior with repetitious designs.

The Architecture

As Nashville's only remaining grand hotel and commercial example of Beaux Arts, The Hermitage Hotel is also a member of the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America. It has a well-unified style in the mode of Beaux Arts Classicism, employing arched openings between coupled columns, a five-level composition, and extravagant detailing influenced by the French Renaissance style.
The building has notable continuity of design from exterior to interior, even to the smallest details, and despite the differences in the materials used - metal, wood, plaster and glazed terra cotta.
The interior features elegant furnishings imported from all over the world. Grecian and Tennessean marble accentuate the lobby, while 

President Lyndon B. Johnson
President John F. Kennedy
President Richard Nixon
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President William Howard Taft
President Woodrow Wilson
Bill Anderson
John Anderson
Gene Autry
Chet Atkins
Tallulah Bankhead
Ned Beatty
Terry Bradshaw
Smiley Burnette
Glen Campbell
Al Capone
Carrie Chapman Catt
Francis Craig
Boss Crump
Bette Davis
Jack Dempsey
Dixie Chicks
Patrick Duffy
Minnesota Fats
Greta Garbo
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
Danny Glover
Louis Gossett Jr.
Billy Graham
Bryant Gumbel
Scott Hamilton
Helen Hayes
Isaac Hayes
Charlton Heston
Ron House
Waylan Jennings
Al Jolson         
The Judds
David Keith
Ed Landers
Michael Learner
Brenda Lee
George Lindsey
Art Linkletter
Barbara Mandrell
Louise Mandrell
Giovanni Martinelli
Marie McCormick
Ronnie McDowell
Reba McIntyre
John Michael Montgomery
Bette Midler
Louie Morgan
Lily Pons
Diamond Rio
John Ritter
Cesar Romero
Willard Scott
George Beverly Shea
Brooke Shields
Dinah Shore
Nancy Sinatra
Steven Spielberg
Mickey Spillane
Alexandra Stevenson
Marty Stewart
Joe Theisman
Randy Travis
Tanya Tucker
Conway Twitty
Jim Varney
Paul Whiteman
Oprah Winfrey
Christy Yamaguchi
Sgt. Alvin York 

 Battle over Suffrage waged at Hotel

In 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, giving women nationwide the right to vote. That's quite a milestone in Tennessee and US history.
But did you know that the heated political debate, carried on most fervently by women on both sides, was centered at The Hermitage Hotel?
The Hermitage Hotel gave room to equal causes and drew reporters from New York, Washington DC, Boston and other cities who were in town to report the suffrage fight.
It all began in 1914, when The Hermitage Hotel hosted the National American Women's Suffrage Association's national convention. By 1915, news reports predicted that Tennessee's powerful suffragists might win the vote for all American women.
In 1920, the hotel was the headquarters for both pro- and anti-suffrage forces. The anti-suffrage movement used the hotel as a platform for decrying the loss of womanhood and motherhood, certain results if suffrage passed, they believed.
The final vote came on Aug. 18, when Rep. Harry Burn broke a 48-48 tie in favor of women's suffrage. It's passage was celebrated with as much intensity as the fight to achieve it and mourned with all the drama and sensationalism used to fight it. At The Hermitage Hotel, emotions ran the gamut. In March 1995, a celebration marking the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage was held at The Hermitage Hotel.

Hotel leaves a Musical Heritage

The Hermitage Hotel was the cornerstone of social activity in Nashville during the '30s and '40s. The Francis Craig Orchestra entertained Nashvillians from the Oak Bar and Grille Room from 1929 to 1945 - the longest running hotel gig on the books. Craig's orchestra was also the first to broadcast over WSM and enjoyed phenomenal success with a 12-year show that was aired over the entire NBC network. In 1949, he introduced a newcomer, Dinah Shore, who entertained his audience with a new song entitled, "Near You."

Where the Famous Flocked

The guest book reads like a Who's Who in American History. Six presidents have made their way to The Hermitage Hotel along with such celebrities as Bette Davis, Greta Garbo and Al Capone. An autographed photo of Gene Autry in full cowboy garb at the hotel desk now hangs proudly on the wall of the hotel's lower level. Local World War I hero Sergeant Alvin York is said to have hung his hat at the hotel while touring Nashville.
Former Vaudevillian and consummate performer Al Jolson also dropped by the The Hermitage Hotel, probably on his way to belt out a few bars of "Suwannee" or "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" at the Ryman Auditorium.
Shortly after its opening, The Hermitage Hotel played host to a variety of political figures. President William Howard Taft came to Nashville on Nov. 9, 1911, and was entertained at the finest room in the city - the main dining room of The Hermitage Hotel. Women were permitted to attend the banquet - a first in Nashville history. The following year, Woodrow Wilson, then governor of New Jersey, attended a banquet there held in his honor.
The Hermitage Hotel really made its mark on political history when Memphis' own Edward H. (Boss) Crump headquartered his statewide political machine there. The stalwart politico - known as the Red Snapper of Tennessee politics - launched many Democratic campaigns from the hotel. For years, the hotel served as the headquarters of the state Democratic Party.
President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt came to Nashville at the invitation of local Congressman and US Speaker of the House Joseph W. Byrns on Nov. 17, 1934. According to newspaper reports, the largest crowds in Nashville history lined the downtown streets to get a glimpse of the Roosevelts en route to The Hermitage Hotel. The First Couple was here to promote the "New Deal" programs, many of which were pushed through Congress with the help of Speaker Byrns.
The hotel continued to accommodate presidents in style in the years to come, serving as the headquarters for Sen. John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign. While on the campaign trail, Kennedy spoke to a crowd in front of the hotel and a few years later spent the night when visiting Nashville as president.
President Lyndon B. Johnson visited The Hermitage Hotel in 1964, when a President's Club reception was held for him in the Iris Room. And President Richard M. Nixon checked into the hotel on a trip to Nashville during his administration.

Pool King

The hotel was home for eight years to pool legend Minnesota Fats. The pool shark, arguably the most famous player to pick up a cue stick, had his own table on the Mezzanine above the elegant lobby.

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Our Select Member Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel
Country: USA
City: Nashville
Opening date: Saturday 17 September 1910

Note from the Host

General Manager


231 Sixth Avenue North, Nashville, TN, 37219
USA, Nashville

Tel: +1615 244-3121 or 888-888-9414

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