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The Jefferson Hotel

Jefferson Hotel

The Jefferson Hotel
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development


The Jefferson Hotel is one of the nation’s most outstanding examples of late 19th-century eclectic architecture. Major Lewis Ginter, the hotel’s patron, commanded the architects to provide Richmond with the finest hotel in America. In an era when sumptuous hotels were being erected throughout the country, the design and amenities of the Jefferson Hotel made Ginter’s dream into a reality.

Completed in 1895, the hotel is a massive but graceful building of buff-colored brick and stone. Its design is typical of the work of New York architects Carrere and Hastings in that it effectively blends a number of architectural forms and styles, although the exterior elements are primarily from the Italian and Spanish Renaissance. Four towers rise from the main block of the hotel, combining with the large entrances, loggia, varied window forms, and architectural ornament to make the Jefferson an important Richmond landmark.

Independent of its outstanding architectural merit the hotel, as originally completed, contained an abundance of technological advances such as service telephones, electrical lighting, central steam heating, and hot and cold running water for all 342 of its guest rooms. The building also has within it to this day an exceptional collection of late 19th century paintings as well as the famous life-size statue of Thomas Jefferson by Richmond sculptor Edward Valentine. The Jefferson Hotel continues to be known as “the” place to stay for important persons visiting Richmond. Notable guests include Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles A. Lindberg, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Calvin Coolidge. The hotel has been the scene for many important Richmond social events.

historic jefferson Hotel

Historic Postcard of The Jefferson Hotel c.1907
Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

Historically, the hotel had three principal entrances: the Main Street entrance leading into the Rotunda for commercial travelers; the Franklin Street entrance, known as the “Ladies Entrance” for those attending social functions; and the covered side entrance used by carriages. A fire in 1901 resulted in the rebuilding and redesign of the Main Street façade and replacement of the cast iron atrium with one of stone. The Carrere and Hastings designed rooms in the north end display a diverse range of styles and retain many of the original features. They are the fancifully named Louis XVI Grand Salon and the Pompeian Palm Court, and a number of small reception and waiting rooms in various French styles. The southern wings were reconstructed to run north south, rather than east west, to allow more light and air into the rooms. Overall, the exterior remains similar to the original design.

Today, the hotel has 262 guest rooms and 19 well-appointed meeting and banquet rooms. Visitors can relax in the spacious and luxurious lobby (which originally featured a fountain and pool with live alligators) with its 70’ high ceilings, mezzanine, stained glass skylight, faux marble columns, sweeping staircase, tapestries, and replica period furniture. Period memorabilia is on display in the Great Hall, which is accessible by the Main Street entrance.

Plan your visit
The Jefferson Hotel is located at 104 W. Main St.  The Jefferson is a full service hotel that is open to the public.  Call 804-424-8014, or consult The Jefferson  website for additional information.  The Jefferson Hotel has been documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey. The hotel is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America.
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