Editor's Note: This is the 254th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — It's been nearly a half century since the Frederick Hotel checked out its last guest, but Huntingtonians still talk about it today.
In its heyday, the Frederick was said to be the most elegant hotel between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. A newspaper account published when it opened in 1906 hailed it as "the greatest building project ever begun in Huntington."
The statistics back up that claim. Construction of the grand hotel required 3.5 million bricks, 4,000 lights, 282 miles of electrical wire, 200 telephones and five railroad cars of glass for its windows. The owners put the total cost of their new hotel at $400,000 and said they traveled to Chicago to pick out $100,000 worth of furnishings.
Named for George Frederick Miller, the chief promoter and financier of the project, the Frederick was designed in the neoclassical style by two prominent Huntington architects, Edwin Alger and James Stewart. The building's well-preserved facade is attributed to a special hard pressed brick used in its construction. It was called repressed brick and was made about 50 miles down the Ohio River in Portsmouth, Ohio.
The hotel offered 150 guest rooms (many with private bathrooms, something rare at the time), 65 office spaces, two dining rooms, a ballroom, bar, billiard room, Turkish bath, barbershop, cigar stand and pharmacy, along with a variety of retail shops on its first floor along 4th Avenue and 10th Street.
It had its own emergency power generators in the basement and a large brilliantly colored stained glass skylight over the lobby. Despite persistent rumors of a tunnel running beneath 4th Avenue linking the Frederick and the Keith-Albee Theater, no evidence of such a tunnel has ever been found.
The Frederick closed as a hotel in 1973. Today, the building is still a busy place, housing apartments, offices, restaurants and retail stores.