And now, what you’ve all been waiting for . . .
As mentioned several times in the last week, one of the prime attractions at this year’s 10 Most Endangered List Unveiling was a chance to peak inside the King Edward Hotel. All of us have been curious about what’s going on inside there, or at least I have, so I made sure to bring along my camera to allow those who couldn’t make it a chance to take a look as well.
We’ve had an ongoing discussion over on the King Edward page (in case you’ve missed it, it’s under the Current Events tab) about the interior work, wishing they had found a way to use real plaster in the grand spaces instead of sheetrock, wondering if it’s better to just insert a modern interior into historic buildings when the interiors are too far gone for real restoration. Hopefully, these photos will extend and inform that discussion–let’s hear your thoughts.
The tours only got into the first floor lobby because the building is still a major construction zone. Ol’ Malvaney is always thinking about the readers, though, and I know ya’ll want to see more than just the 1st floor lobby, so . . . through completely legal means, I assure you, I bring you a few “off the regular tour” photos.
To ensure this post doesn’t take forever to load, I’ve made these pictures pretty small, but if you click on them, you’ll go to the Flickr site where you can see them at a larger size. You can also see more pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/26519181@N06/sets/72157622376347132/
Overall, I admit I found the grand interior space a bit disappointing. I can’t quite put my finger on the quality that seems to be missing, but a friend of mine turned to me in the middle of the tour and said, “It’s nice . . . but a little plastic” and maybe that’s it. For comparison, look at some photos of the public spaces on Flickr (and try to overlook its terrible condition and see the difference in the plasterwork). Check out these “before” photos and see what you think:
Having said that, though, I still feel the need to reiterate that this project is a very exciting one for both preservationists and Jacksonians. The landmark quality of the King Edward has been restored on the exterior and the building will once again be an anchor for the western end of Capitol Street. Thanks to the owners, developers, and contractor for letting us in, even if we did find some things to critique. :-)