BIRMINGHAM, AL—Downtown Birmingham’s historic Tutwiler hotel celebrated 100 years of serving guests with a plaque commemorating the event and describing the property’s history.
The centennial celebration also featured a birthday cake replica of the building, and the great-grandson of the hotel’s namesake displaying his grandfather’s pocket watch.
Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell Sr. and Temple Tutwiler III, the grandson of the original hotel’s financier, unveiled the new historic landmark sign in a ceremony that also featured hotel officials donating 100,000 Hilton Honors points to the local chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“It is a singular honor to be included in this splendid event as a representative of the founding family,” stated Tutwiler. “I know my great-grandfather would have been proud that the new ownership and management of this hotel recognizes its importance to the history of Birmingham.”
Now owned by Interwest Capital and managed by New Orleans-based HRI Lodging, the Tutwiler is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Today, the hotel is known as the Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler.
In 1913, George Gordon Crawford, president of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co., complained to Robert Jemison Jr. that, when friends and officers from U.S. Steel came to town, they had no decent place to stay. W.P.G. Harding, president of the First National Bank, set out to secure the mortgage for the hotel, and the group approached Major Edward Magruder Tutwiler.
Major Tutwiler agreed to underwrite the first mortgage bonds. Then he added, “If agreeable, I wish they could call the hotel…The Tutwiler.”
The Tutwiler opened June 15, 1914. More than 8,000 people turned out in formal attire to see the newly proclaimed “Grand Dame of Southern Hotels.” For the next 60 years, The Tutwiler was the hub of Birmingham’s business, social and political circles.