“A Monument to the Gastric Propensities of Man”
It seems like new restaurants and eateries are popping up all over Davidson these days. But there was a time when restaurants were more of a novelty.
In 1924, a new hotel opened (just about where the Village Inn is now) with a full-service restaurant to much acclaim. Below are excerpts from two articles in the Davidsonian.Bottom of Form
New Hotel is Formally Opened to Public Tonight: Fills Long Felt Want at Davidson— Will Board Students Also – September 18, 1924
The informal opening of the new Maxwell Chambers Hotel will take place tonight. Everyone is invited to call during the evening and inspect the building and equipment of Davidson’s newest business enterprise.
The hotel is located in the new brick building on Depot street, convenient both to the business section of the town and to the railroad station. It has 15 guest rooms, with hot and cold water in each room. Two hundred guests can be accommodated in the large dining room. Mr. E. L. Wilson, well known hotel man of Black Mountain and Charlotte, is the owner and Mr. Manley W. Cranford, is the manager. Mr. Cranford is known to the students, as he was, until recently postmaster here.
The establishment of a hotel fills a need long felt both by the students of the college, and by the citizens of the town. Heretofore it has been difficult for visitors to find accommodations while here, but it is thought that the hotel will relieve this condition, and thereby help the progress of the town. Mr. Cranford states that special attention will be given to banquets, and that in the spacious dining room they will be able to care for all class, fraternity and other banquets.
Maxwell Chambers Hotel Holds Informal Reception to Welcome Townspeople: Sparkling Speeches Made by Several Davidson Professors. – September 25, 1924
The new Maxwell Chambers Hotel held open house at their informal reception last Thursday evening. Approximately 400 persons were present and inspected Davidson’s pioneer hotel. Before serving the refreshments, a short prayer was offered. Then everyone spent a social hour drinking punch, inspecting the building and equipment, and discussing the latest stride in improving the town and college.
A number of speeches were made during the evening. Mr. Emory Wilson, a former Davidson resident who has been engaged in the hotel business at Black Mountain and Charlotte the past few years and proprietor of the New Maxwell Chambers, told of some very amusing experiences he had during his former trips to this town; first as a student, then a business man, and finally as postmaster. He emphasized the fact that his institution has not been organized to offer competition to the various business establishments already in town but to fill a long felt need in Davidson.
Dr. C. R. Harding spoke after the chairman. He showed what a boon the dining room will be for the wives of Davidson. Now the family can take a meal at the new dining hall occasionally and give the ladies a holiday from the kitchen. Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. Lingle both expressed their appreciation of the hotel. They explained that the present necessity of having to entertain all of the numerous visitors who come to Davidson in their homes was often very inconvenient and the hotel will relieve them to a large extent of their duties as hostesses.
Dr. Hood described the hotel as a “monument to the gastric propensities of man.” He stated that he is already looking forward to many evenings of pleasant conversation with Dr. Harding around a hotel dining table.
In conclusion Mr. Wilson invited all faculty members and their wives to attend a dinner at the hotel Monday evening as his guests.
Jan Blodgett moved to Davidson in 1994. In 2017, she retired after 23 years as the Davidson College Archivist. Jan and former Davidson College history professor, Ralph Levering, are the co-authors of "One Town, Many Voices: A history of Davidson, North Carolina."