I recently was perusing the Boston Public Library’s Tichnor Brothers Collection. This collection contains approximately 25,000 office proofs of postcards of the United States published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc. These are touristy color postcards dated circa 1930-1945. There are 76 post cards in the Mississippi Set. One of those postcards is the image below of the Hotel Tupelo.
When I only briefly glanced at the image and didn’t read the text I assumed that the image was a c1950 image of the Pinehurst Hotel in Laurel.
While the exteriors are similar enough to put up as coincidental, the Pinehurst being much grander and has a larger middle bay. It is the interior program that leads me to believe that these buildings came from the same drafting board.
The street front areas on the first floor are given up to retail and office space. The lobby is recessed and reached by crossing a courtyard. Elevators are located in the same place, along with the dining rooms and kitchen. Both buildings were built around the same time. The Pinehurst is known to date to 1914 and the Tupelo was built sometime between the June 1914 and July 1919 Sanborn maps. One unfortunate similarity both buildings share is that they are no longer extant, with the Pinehurst being demolished in 1987 and the Tupelo in between 1972 and 1977 when the ultra far-out Bank Corp South’s One Mississippi Plaza was built.
The MDAH HRI database lists the New Orleans firm of DeBuys, Churchill & Labouisse as the architects for the Pinehurst Hotel. Is it possible they are also the authors of the Hotel Tupelo? There are many similarities but more research is needed to be certain. Any Tupelonians out there know the history of the Hotel Tupelo?
Categories: Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Hotels, Laurel, Lost Mississippi, Tupelo
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
There are just enough similarities to consider the possibility and just enough differences to doubt it.
You’re absolutely right. I just don’t know enough about early 20th century hotel design to know if that was a standardized plan.
The Pinehurst also included (at a later date) an extension abutting the block to the right (north). It was basically an extrusion of the original building but included the Arabian Theater,which was spared during demolition. The site is now Pinehurst Park.
Absolutely. The Arabian was designed by Emile Weil about 13 years after the Pinehurst was built. https://misspreservation.com/2012/12/07/happy-hanukkah-yall/
Maybe the owners of the Pinehurst contacted the original building architects Debuys, Churchill & Labouisse who recommend Weil due to his expertise in theater design?
What fascinates me most about these images is the aspect of the Tichnor company becoming an “accidential archivist”. Here we have a for profit company who’s primary goal was to sell postcards. Now some 60+ years later we are looking to these to conncect the dots to our past.
Thank you for pointing that out. The most bizarre examples of that are the demolition companies that own statuary pieces of the NYC Penn Station or various Louis Sullivan buildings. Even though they were party to the buildings destruction they still saw some beauty and value that their patrons didn’t.
I was born in 1957, my father Berry M Brooks Jr. was the general manager of Hotel Tupelo. We lived in the hotel for 8 years.
Such good memories there. It was a grand hotel with numerous businesses including radio stations, beauty parlor, barber shop,
Ins. Company , restaurant and banquet facilities just to name a few.
Rotary, Kiwanis and Civitan clubs held monthly meetings along with other groups at that time.
Thanks for the article, brings back a lot of memories.