New Alcazar Hotel

The New Alcazar Hotel also known as Alcazar Hotel is a historic building in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Once considered one of the premier hotels in the South, the Alcazar Hotel hosted guest such as playwright Tennessee Williams. Located in the hotel was a restaurant and several other businesses, including WROX radio station which broadcast from the hotel for 40 years.[1]

New Alcazar Hotel
Alcazar Hotel Clarksdale.jpg
Early 20th Century drawing of the Alcazar Hotel
Location127 Third Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S.
Coordinates34°12′05″N 90°34′25″W / 34.20139°N 90.57361°W / 34.20139; -90.57361Coordinates: 34°12′05″N 90°34′25″W / 34.20139°N 90.57361°W / 34.20139; -90.57361
Built1914-1915
ArchitectCharles O. Pfeil
Architectural styleColonial Revival/Classical Revival
NRHP reference No.94000646
Added to NRHPJune 24, 1994

HistoryEdit

The original Alcazar Hotel was built in 1895; it was destroyed by arson set by a former employee in 1947.[2] The new hotel was built by architect Charles O. Pfeil of Memphis; completed by 1915. Billed it as the "most modern hotel in Mississippi," it had a glass dome skylight was more spacious than the original.[3] The building was four-stories with eleven storefront bays where prominent Clarksdale businesses operated.[4] The hotel was remodeled in 1938 to include private bath in each room. About a decade later a mezzanine level was introduced in between the first and second floors c. 1948.[2]

In the 1940s, musician Ike Turner operated the elevator in the hotel as a pre-teen.[5] He was also worked as a deejay at WROX radio located in the hotel.[6] Musicians like Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, Ike & Tina Turner, and B.B. King performed live at WROX and were interviewed by Early Wright, the first black deejay in Mississippi.[7]

The Alcazar Hotel and Coffee Shop were an all white restaurant and hotel owned by Clarksdale King Anderson Company. The general manager of the hotel was Fred E. Pelegrin and he assisted his wife in managing the coffee shop.[8] After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the employees of the Alcazar Hotel and the Alcazar Coffee Shop were instructed by Clarksdale King Anderson Company to "refuse service to Negroes." According to the US District Court ruling filed in November 1965, Reverend George W. Trotter III of Memphis, a black man, attempted to obtain a room at the hotel on July 6, 1964, and Mrs. Vera Mae Pigee of Clarksdale, a black woman, attempted to obtain service at the coffee shop; both were refused because of their race. The next day, the owners closed the hotel and coffee shop to avoid serving black customers. A few weeks later on July 27, the Regency Club was founded as a whites only private club, working in conjunction with Clarksdale King Anderson for use of the hotel, coffee shop, and staff. In December 1965, the court ruled against the discriminatory practices, barring the hotel from operating in cahoots with the club.[8]

The Alcazar Hotel was eventually closed and the building was used for other commercial purposes. WROX moved out of the building in the 1990s. The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.[3] In 2009, the hotel was listed as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi by the Mississippi Heritage Trust.[9] There have been plans to facilitate the building, but as of 2017, the building which has been repainted and weatherproofed remains vacant.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Library, Judith Coleman Flowers on Behalf of the Carnegie Public (2016). Clarksdale and Coahoma County. Arcadia Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-4671-1582-7.
  2. ^ a b "National Register of Historical Places Form" (PDF). May 27, 1994.
  3. ^ a b Wilkerson, Lyn (2010). Slow Travels-Mississippi. Lyn Wilkerson. ISBN 978-1-4523-3229-1.
  4. ^ Suzassippi (May 1, 2012). "Suzassippi's Mississippi: Hotel Alcazar, Clarksdale". Preservation in Mississippi.
  5. ^ Turner, Ike; Cawthorne, Nigel (1999). Takin' Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. Virgin. ISBN 9781852278502.
  6. ^ "WROX - Clarksdale". Mississippi Blues Trail.
  7. ^ Thurber, Jon (December 18, 1999). "Early Wright; Mississippi 'Soul Man' Deejay". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ a b "United States v. Clarksdale King Anderson Company, 288 F. Supp. 792-797". Casetext. November 11, 1965. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  9. ^ Edwards, Jennifer (September 11, 2009). "Arlington tagged "endangered"". The Natchez Democrat.
  10. ^ "Alcazar Hotel". 10 Most Endangered Historical Places In Mississippi.