Daniel Boone Hotel, 1929-1981
The Daniel Boone Hotel was built in 1929 by a group of Charleston citizens known as the Community Hotel Corporation to provide an elegant place for politicians and visiting dignitaries to stay in the capital city. This elegant hotel served as a base for most state legislators during the 60-day legislative sessions. Many laws were conceived, discussed, or modified in the smoke-filled rooms of the hotel, and most of Charleston’s major meetings, banquets, and conventions were held here as well. This piece of property has held a long standing with state government, as it housed the “Pasteboard Capitol” prior to housing the political guests of the Daniel Boone Hotel. Some notable patrons of the Daniel Boone Hotel were John F. Kennedy, Debbie Reynolds, Bette Davis, and Elvis Presley.
Backstory and Context
The A.G. Higginbotham Company of Charleston hired New York City architect, W.L. Stoddard to build the Daniel Boone Hotel in 1929. Prior to housing the Daniel Boone Hotel, this piece of property was home to the “Pasteboard Capitol” that was destroyed by fire in 1927. The Daniel Boone Hotel was one of the premiere hotels in the region when it opened in 1929. The ten-story luxury hotel featured the classical revival style with its blond brick exterior and stone terra cotta. Even after the capitol moved from this section of downtown to the east end, the hotel remained the center of political life and hosted legislators and federal officials traveling on government business. It also hosted dignitaries and celebrities from Presidents Hoover and Truman and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to Bob Hope, Jack Dempsey, and Gene Autry. Elvis and President John F. Kennedy also stayed in the historic hotel. The Cardinal Room was the Daniel Boone’s fine dining space where many of these politicians would dine during their stay.
Despite the nationwide depression, the hotel expanded in 1936. World War II and the post-war period saw a period of sustained economic growth in the region. Union workers in coal and other industries enjoyed middle-class standards of living and Charleston experienced population growth throughout the decade. In 1949, the hotel expanded once again, providing an ornate ballroom, meeting rooms, and 465 guest rooms. However, the region's growth did not continue as central Appalachia suffered industrial decline in subsequent decades-a phenomenon that was similar to the famous "Rust Belt" cities of the upper Midwest. The hotel closed in 1981. Three years later, the former hotel reopened as a downtown office building and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Today many local businesses and firms are located in 405 Capitol Street.
Marshall, Paul D.. Cook, John D.. Historical and Architectural Survey Downtown Charleston, West Virginia. Charleston, WV. New-Mail Company, 1984.
Gioulis, Michael. NRHP Nomination Form. March 10, 1984. Accessed March 05, 2017. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/kanawha/84003602.pdf.