EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 30th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- In 1893, a new hotel, the Adelphia, was built on the southeast corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street. In his "Cabell County Annals and Families," local historian George S. Wallace writes that the Adelphia "was regarded as an up-to-date hotel and was extensively patronized until it was destroyed by fire on July 2, 1901."
After the fire, the Adelphia moved a block north and built a new building on the northwest corner of 5th Avenue and 9th Street. Its original location remained vacant for a while but in 1910 the new Hotel Huntington was built on the site. In its early days, the Huntington was an elegant place with a first-class restaurant, ballroom and barbershop. Later a fancy glass-enclosed balcony was constructed over the front entrance.
A.E. Kelly was the hotel's long-time manager. Kelly, described by Wallace as a "genial Irishman," made much of his Irish heritage, using a shamrock as the hotel's logo and placing it on the hotel's letterhead and china. When the Hotel Prichard opened just across 9th Street from the Huntington in 1925, he would manage it as well.
Over the years, the Huntington would be popular with business travelers, often hosted visiting ball teams and during World War II provided overnight housing for 200,000 inductees who came to town to take their draft physicals.
When John F. Kennedy brought his 1960 presidential campaign to West Virginia, the campaign was headquartered at the Prichard, where he and Jackie had a comfortable suite. But Kennedy also had his staff keep a room for him across the street at the Huntington. The future president explained he sometimes needed a place where he could just get away from everybody and think for a while.
By the 1970s, the old hotel was struggling. It was closed and demolished in 1976. Today, its former site is home to the Huntington C&O Credit Union.
For more Lost Huntington stories, visit www.Herald-Dispatch.com. Click on "News," then "Lost Huntington series."