Residents of Roanoke received a ribbon cutting “wake-up call” Thursday June, 23, 2011 to come admire the newly resurrected historic Patrick Henry Hotel. When approaching 617 S. Jefferson Street you no longer felt the cross sense of failure and defeat, but the nostalgic excitement of the hustle and bustle that once accompanied the streets and sidewalks outside this social center. The history of the hotel not only lies within its place in time, but its historic record of decline and defeat since the mid 1900’s.
Following World War I, Roanoke’s claim to the Norfolk and Western Railway placed a demand for additional housing and overnight accommodations; thus the Patrick Henry Hotel was born in 1924. Since opening its doors, the hotel has been tendered to many hotel corporations, attempted countless renovations, and accommodated Roanoke’s youngest and eldest only to meet continual monetary challenges. After decades of effort followed by failure, the hotel was left foreclosed and condemned in 2009 until Ed Walker, Roanoke developer, gave the Patrick Henry Hotel one last attempt. Ed Walker’s efficacious reputation in historic renovations for the city proved to be just what the Patrick Henry Hotel needed.
Roanoke residents could smell the fresh coat of paint as they entered through the more than welcoming mezzanine of the hotel. The sultry lighting provided by the restored antique chandeliers complimented the glow of guests as they crossed between historic thresholds from present and past innovative renovations. The diversity of Roanoke was well-represented through the attendance of guests, fine food, and music. The two open levels of the hotel housed Roanoke’s finest catering companies serving a mix of traditional and contemporary cuisine. Jovial spirits filled the elegant ballroom as socialites laughed as they glided across the dance floor. After exploring the communal floors of lounges, restaurants, and social realms, guests could wander the historic halls and absorb the views and architectural wonders of the new residential apartments. At the completion of the tour, guests retreated down the curved marble staircase and back to their mingling and lighthearted conversation.
Socializing in the open lobby adorned with sheik, modern décor accentuated by the intricate details of the building’s architectural past allowed guests to become a part of the building’s continuing history. Not only was the historic hotel rejuvenated, but history itself.