About the Morris Building
The Morris Building, located on the southwest corner of 4th Avenue and 9th Street, was built originally as the Farr Hotel by John Farr, a Huntington coal operator and building supply dealer. Farr was instrumental in developing and incorporating Central City -- which now is known as West Huntington -- in 1893. The hotel building was designed by the Huntington architectural firm of Meanor and Handloser.
On Nov. 14, 1918, James Shaw, a pottery salesman from Philadelphia, became the first guest to register at the new Farr Hotel. Over the years, the Farr would be a favorite with business travelers. The hotel was planned to be 14 stories, but soaring construction costs during World War I halted work at seven floors.
When the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company bought the hotel, it changed its name to the Governor Cabell after William H. Cabell, governor of Virginia from 1805 to 1808, for whom also Cabell County was named.
The hotel closed in 1965 and later was leased to the federal government as a residential facility for the Huntington Women's Job Corps Center. During that time, it was known as Cabell Hall.
The West Virginia Grand Lodge International Order of Odd Fellows sold the building to Helen Morris, widow of the late real estate broker R. Taylor Morris, in 1972. Known for a while as the 401 Building, it was remodeled to feature offices and apartments.
For many years the first floor of the building was home to the former Foard & Harwood shoe store.
In recent years, the building has housed various offices and a variety of first-floor retail tenants. It has been owned by River City Properties since August 2004.
A painted faded "Hotel Farr" sign can still be seen on the building's south wall.
Two popular local restaurants -- Backyard Pizza and The Peddler -- are currently on the first floor.
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