Lost Huntington: The Milner Hotel
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 22nd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- Erected in the late 1920s, the high-rise Park Tower Hotel stood on the northeast corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Street, across from the Cabell County Courthouse in downtown Huntington.
The sender of this vintage postcard, mailed in 1939, wanted everyone back at the office in Columbus, Ohio, to know she was "having a swell time," would be traveling on to Cincinnati the following day and would "see you soon." Beneath her handwritten note, the hotel included its own printed message on the card: "P.S. Forgot to mention. Park Tower Hotel is a good place to stop."
Designed by well-known Huntington architect Levi Dean, the Park Tower offered 70 guestrooms with private baths and 53 rooms without baths. When the hotel first opened, you could book a room for $2 a night.
In 1943, the Park Tower was acquired by the Milner hotel chain and so was given that name. The Milner chain was once one of the nation's largest, with more than 170 locations. But the death of founder Earle Milner and growing competition from new roadside motels doomed the company. By the time its Huntington hotel closed, the chain had dwindled to little more than a dozen locations.
Once a respectable hotel, the Huntington Milner steadily declined over the years. Police long complained that it was a haven for petty crime and prostitution.
In the 1970s, the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority marked the Milner for demolition as part of the city's downtown urban renewal project and, after a court battle with the Milner chain, acquired and demolished the hotel in 1980. A small office building was built on the corner site. Today, the building is home to a stockbroker, RBC Wealth Management.
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