Multiple hotels have stood at the corner of Hay and Donaldson Streets. Though no hotel stands here now, the current office building, built in 2000, features an homage to one of the earlier buildings. The historical record especially focuses on the Hotel Lafayette, which existed in two different incarnations on the site.
Backstory and Context
The first was the Lafayette Hotel, which existed on the eastern corner of the two streets and burned in 1831.
The Fayetteville Hotel was then built on the western corner of Hay and Donaldson and is mentioned in the journals of Charles Chesnutt. The Fayetteville Hotel burned in 1885 and a third hotel, named Hotel Lafayette, was built on the site. A distinctive feature of the Hotel Lafayette, which opened in 1887, was its fourth-story tower.
The tower and fourth floor were destroyed by fire in 1939 and the hotel was completely remodeled.
According to the Fire & Rescue Journal, "In its latter years [the hotel] became apartments for the elderly. The Salvation Army used the facility for emergency housing for women, children and families" but the hotel was finally closed in 1972 amid the general decline of downtown Fayetteville.
The building remained vacant until it burned in 1995 and was ultimately replaced by an office building which features an homage to the fourth-story tower.
Edwin Perry, Charles Chesnutt's father-in-law, supposedly operated the barber shop in this building (Jarrett).
According to his journals, during fall 1878 Chesnutt met at the Fayetteville Hotel with John J. Ladd, chief instructor of the white normal school in Fayetteville (104).
It was at this meeting that Ladd "declared that he had never met a youth who, at my age and with my limited opportunities for instruction, had made such marked and rapid progress in learning" (105). This meeting spurred Charles Chesnutt to pursue his writing more seriously and may have sparked the ambition that ultimately led him to leave the city.
Chesnutt, Charles. The Journals of Charles W. Chesnutt. Ed. Richard H Broadhead. Duke University Press, 1993.
"The Fayetteville Hotel." North Carolina Gazette, 7 Jan. 1875, https://www.newspapers.com/image/65273558/?terms=%22fayetteville%2Bhotel%22#.
Jarrett, Calvin D. “A Negro Novelist Remembered.” Black World/Negro Digest, vol. 13, no. 12, Johnson Publishing Company, Oct. 1964.
Lewis, Ronald G. "Looking Back: Hotel Lafayette, Fayetteville, N.C." The Fire & Rescue Journal, Spring 2009, https://www.legeros.com/history/osfm/pdf/osfm-fayetteville-hotel-lafayette.pdf.
Weeks, Parker. Fayetteville, North Carolina: A Pictorial History. Donning Company, 1984.