The Park Hotel, later named Hotel Raleigh, was built in 1893 at 138 West Martin Street. It was designed by the enigmatic A.G. Bauer, who also designed the Governor’s Mansion and the old Meredith College building downtown.
The hotel thrived during the era when most people traveled by train. Located a block away from Union Station, it proved a convenient resting place for those traveling between New York and Florida.
As the car began to replace the locomotive as America’s primary means of long distance travel, hotels and motels popped up along highways and interstates. This caused the centrally located hotels to go into decline. By the late 1960s and early 70s, most of Raleigh’s downtown hotels were shuttered.
October 25, 1923
This isn’t the hotel we’re staying at but we are staying here for the night. Have made 723 miles so far. All feeling fine. We are quite tired when night comes. Hope you are getting along fine.
Mr. + Mrs (?)
The hotel underwent a series of changes in the early part of its life. It was remodeled several times and operated under different policies regarding long term and short term guests. In 1912, it became Raleigh’s first apartment building after another conversion and remodeling.
It was known as Park Central in the 1960s when it again operated as a hotel.
It was demolished to make way for a surface parking lot in 1975.
This postcard was published by James E. Thiem here in Raleigh. The Thiem family owned a number of downtown businesses in the early and middle part of the last century. One of the surviving remnants of the Thiem family businesses is a mosaic entryway adjacent to the Raleigh Times.
Above is a city directory advertisement for A.G. Bauer’s architectural firm. Below is an advertisement for the hotel.