As we neared the Main Street entrance to the Jefferson, I saw lots of orange highway cones and scaffolding going
|Jefferson historic staircase ©Mary Montague Sikes|
Alligators in the lobby is one of my favorite stories about the old hotel that opened in 1895. The alligators first appeared around the time of the Grand Reopening of the hotel (following a terrible fire in 1901) between 1905 and 1907. Old Pompey, the last alligator, died in 1948. He is now immortalized by an impressive bronze statue situated at the hotel entrance located by the driveway off Franklin Street.
|Old Pompey decked out for Christmas ©MM Sikes|
As we dined in TJs, enjoying the view of the Grand Staircase, I learned from our waiter that only about 62 of the hotel's guestrooms are now open. The hotel is undergoing a renovation to create more lavish and larger rooms.
As always, hotels are changing. I am happy to see that the historic Jefferson continues to improve. Some of the other hotels I chose to include in Hotels to Remember no longer exist. I am sad about that but very proud to have the Jefferson Hotel as part of my book.
Please contact me to order a specially-priced autographed copy of Hotels to Remember.