Editor's note: This is the 92nd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON - For more than 40 years, from its opening in 1926 until it closed in its doors in 1970, The Prichard was one of downtown Huntington's leading hotels.
The late Frederick C. Prichard boasted he spent more than $1 million to build and furnish his 13-story hotel. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A Grayson, Kentucky, native, Prichard came to Huntington after making a small fortune in the coal business in Fayette County. He also built another Huntington landmark structure, the Robson-Prichard Building.
Located on the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street, the Prichard was designed by architect H. Ziegler Dietz of Indianapolis. It had 300 rooms, each with its own bathroom, a rarity in hotels of that day. It also had 14 private dining rooms, a restaurant and a ballroom.
Prichard lost most of his fortune in the Great Depression and was forced to sell his hotel. He left Huntington for Texas, hoping to start over there. He died in 1960 at age 89.
Over the years the Hotel Prichard had some famous guests. In 1949, singing cowboy Gene Autry stayed there when he was in town for a show. His horse Champion slept elsewhere. But a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs was an honored guest in 1956 when the cast of television's "Today" show came to Huntington. John F. Kennedy, his wife Jackie and his brother Ted all stayed at The Prichard during JFK's 1960 presidential campaign.
In 1970, Polan Realty of Huntington purchased the old hotel and converted it into offices and apartments. In recent years, police complained the building was often the scene of illegal drug activity and other crime.
In 2014, current owner Shane Polan christened the building with a new name - Hope Tower - and launched an effort to transform it into a comprehensive, spiritually based addiction recovery center.
To read more articles from this series, go to www.herald-dispatch.com. Click on "News," then "Lost Huntington" series.