The Barringer Hotel
Hotel as it appeared in December 1940
The Barringer Hotel as it appears presentday
Name and location of the property:
The property known as the Barringer Hotel is located at the corner of North
Tryon and Eighth Streets, at 426 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C.
Name and address of the current owner(s) of the property:
The property is
currently known as the Hall House
City of Charlotte
P.O. Box 36795
Charlotte, N.C. 28202
Representative photographs of the property:
This report contains representative photographs of the property.
map depicting the location of the property:
This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.
2004 Site Plan,
Green outline indicates current
Current deed book reference to the property: The most recent deed to the
Barringer Hotel can be found in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 04465 Page
544. The Tax Parcel Identification Number for the property is 08002201 .
The property is zoned UMUD//Uptown mixed use district .
brief historical sketch of the property:
This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by
Dr. Dan Morrill.
brief architectural description of the property:
This report contains a brief architectural description of the property
prepared by Dr. Dan Morrill. This Survey & Research Report was updated in
November 2009, by Ms. Mary Dominick
Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets the criteria for
designation set forth in N.C.G.S. 160A-400.5.
Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural
importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the Barringer
Hotel does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:
Barringer Hotel is the only high rise
building constructed in Charlotte between the 1920s and the 1950s. 2. Local
interests played no part in bringing it about.
Integrity of design, workmanship, materials, feeling, and association.
preparation of this report:
The 12-story William R. Barringer Hotel opened on
December 15, 1940, and continued to house patrons until February 1975 when
it closed under the name Cavalier Inn.
The initial owner and operator of the Barringer was the Barringer Hotel
Company, which was headed by Laurence S. Barringer as president. A
resident of Columbia, S.C., Barringer named the hotel for his father,
William Rufus Barringer, who had lived in Charlotte briefly as a
young man in the 1890s and who had gone on to own and operate hotels in
several other Southern cities, including Columbia, Greenville, S.C., and
Augusta, Ga. The architects of the Barringer Hotel, Bobbie Dial and
Albert Thomas, also lived in Columbia.
A cocktail party and banquet were held in
the hotel on the evening of December 14, 1940, where several local
dignitaries paid tribute to the owners. Dr. Luther Little, minister of First
Baptist Church, gave the invocation; and Mayor Ben Douglas proclaimed the
official welcome. Clarence “Booster” Kuester, the manager of the Charlotte Chamber of
Commerce, “praised the Barringers for their faith in Charlotte to come
here and build a magnificent hotel without asking for help from the people
of Charlotte.” No doubt Kuester’s enthusiasm was due in part to the
fact that the Barringer Hotel was the first high rise building erected
locally in more than a decade. Mayor Douglas, a prototypical New South
enthusiast, stated that the Barringer Hotel “turned out to be a
testimonial to the progressive and pioneering spirit of the Barringers in
the southern hotel field.”
December 15, 1940, the William R. Barringer Hotel is the only hotel of its
style and type remaining in Center City Charlotte. Although the building
has been converted to elderly housing, it retains its essential
integrity on the outside. In keeping with the architectural preferences
of pre-World War Two America, the Barringer Hotel harkens to the past
and exhibits qualities derivative of classical antiquity -- having a
decorated base and capital and having an unadorned shaft in between.
Hotels have long been essential to Charlotte's role as a regional
commercial, banking, and industrial center.
The City of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce greets Amelia Earhart
Mayor Ben Douglas ca. 1940s
who came to Charlotte in 1931 as part of a promotional tour
sponsored by Beech Nut chewing gum. President of the Chamber of
Commerce, Clarence Kuester, is on the far right.
Laurence S. Barringer,
president of the Barringer Hotel Company
The Barringer Hotel was marketed as a modern, convenient, and, above all
else, elegant place to stay. Movie stars, including Judy Garland, Tyrone
Power, Joan Crawford, and Gloria Swanson, were among its guests. “It
used to be the most formal, elegant place in the world,” remembered one
resident in 1975.
Laurence Barringer hired a Swiss chef to oversee the cuisine and called
upon his sister, Flora Barringer, also of Columbia, to select the décor
for the company’s grand new hotel. She selected “French period
furnishings” for some rooms, including the coffee shop, and hepplewhite
for others. “All rooms,” reported the Charlotte Observer,
“have running ice water, beautiful sun-tan tiled bathrooms with bath tub
and shower, specious closets and other equipment to add to the comfort of
the occupants.” Each floor had a slot to allow mail to fall down to a
collection bin in the basement, and oriental rugs covered the floors in
the main public rooms of the Barringer. All in all, the Barringer
Hotel was “up-to-date.”
A rendering of the original
coffee shop in the Barringer Hotel
The Barringer Hotel initially had 200 bedrooms. Indicative of the
Barringer’s success was the construction of 125 additional bedrooms in
1950. Finally, in 1959, the Barringer Hotel Company bought the
adjacent lot on North Tryon St. from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and
constructed a 100-room motor court and convention hall.
Despite his best efforts, however, Laurence Barringer could not overcome
forces that were working against the success of center city hotels by the
early 1960s, when wealthy patrons increasingly began to prefer motels or
outlying hotels as places to stay. The Barringer Hotel Company sold the
Barringer Hotel in November 1961.
The City of Charlotte purchased the then-vacant building in June 1978, and
now it is used as public housing for the elderly.
The Barringer and the nearby Mayfair Manor are the only extant buildings
in uptown Charlotte that served as hotels before World War Two.
Mayfair Manor Hotel, erected in 1929
The William R. Barringer Hotel
is a massive twelve-story building located at the
corner of North Tryon and Eighth streets in Uptown
Charlotte. The building sits on a 2.2 acre lot that
occupies much of the city block bordered by Eighth,
Seventh, North Tryon, and North College streets.
The lot slopes down to the northeast, and aside from
the hotel building, the site includes a large
parking lot and a small park-area bordering North
Tryon Street. When the hotel was built, ca. 1942,
the block was more crowded, with the Saint Marks
Evangelical Lutheran Church bordering the hotel to
the south and the Elmore apartments, which faced 8th
Street, to the rear of the hotel. Attached and
detached homes lined the block along College and
The William R. Barringer
hotel ca. 1945
The Barringer Hotel features a
granite-clad foundation, topped with limestone that
veneers the tall first-story lobby. Though late for
the Art Deco Style, the building features some of
the style's characteristics including tall fluted
limestone pilasters, with stepped points. The
pilasters delineate the eight bays of the first
story. The facade is symmetrical, but the bays are
not uniform. The facade's four exterior bays are
wider, and the center two bays have been combined to
allow for a wide entrance now filled by two sets of
metal framed glass double-doors, protected by a
rectangular metal awning. The remaining bays are
filled with replacement plate-glass windows that may
have replaced metal divided-light windows. In the
larger bays the windows are surrounded with glass
blocks. Glass-block transoms are set above the
windows and the entrance, separated from the lower
openings by plain limestone spandrels. The top of
the limestone veneer is decorated a narrow zig-zag
band, typical of the Art Deco Style.
The building was originally
eight bays deep. The limestone veneer featured on
the facade, wraps the building and was applied to
the first three bays on the north elevation. The
south elevation features a shallow, one-story
limestone entrance/atrium that was oriented toward
the building's parking lot. The large limestone
entrance sheltered a doorway and at least one
recessed window bay, but is now partially obscured
by metal awning and covered walkway added around
Detail - Barringer Hotel facade
Art Deco landmark
Automobile Co. Showroom,
1930, Berkeley, CA
The spacing of the bays
established on the first-story continues on the
upper stories where wire-cut brick replaces the
limestone veneer. The facade's four wide
exterior bays contain paired double-hung windows,
while the four interior bays contain single
windows. The limestone pilasters continue upward
as brick piers for the full twelve stories of the
building and are capped with pointed and fluted
stone capitals. The setbacks of the bays caused by
the piers that separate the bays are a distinctive
design element of the building. The walls are
capped with a stone belt. The north and south
elevations of the original building continue the
style of the upper stories of the facade but are not
symmetrical. The second and third bays are narrow
and contain single double hung windows. The
remaining six bays are wider and contain paired
windows. The original section of the hotel was
constructed with a steel frame infilled with brick
curtain walls and concrete floors.
1951, a twelve-story, steel framed addition
was added to the rear of the hotel. The
rear addition is five bays deep. The rear
elevation features minimal fenestration
with just three window openings on each
story. The notable setbacks found on the
original building are absent on the
addition, with the only the corners offset
like piers or pilasters, and capped with
pointed stone caps. Veneered with wire-cut
brick, the addition was constructed with
concrete block curtain walls. By 1952 a
tall curved-front, flat-roofed dinning room
was added to the hotel's south elevation.
The addition is capped with a simple stone
band. Tall metal-framed windows pierce the
Rear elevation of 1951 addition
While restrained in its use of
the Art Deco elements, the Barringer Hotel is one of
the few surviving uptown buildings with associated
with the style. Art Deco was popular in the United
States from 1925 until 1940, and the relatively late
date of the building and the restrained use of
decorative elements and forms may be reflective of
the conservative nature of Charlotte's 20th century
Charlotte fire insurance map, 1929
Charlotte fire insurance map 1950
Charlotte Observer, 16 November, 14 December, 1940; 13
November, 1961; 18 September, 1971; 21 April, 1976.
“Letter from Laurence S. Barringer to Charles R. Brockmann,” March 5,
1959 (part of the manuscript collection of the Spangler Robinson Room of
the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library). Hereinafter cited
as Barringer. The Barringer Hotel Company operated
the Hotel Columbia in Columbia, S.C., and the Hotel Richmond in Augusta,
“Hotels. Barringer” (part of the manuscript collection of the
Spangler Robinson Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library).
Hereinafter cited as Hotel.
Charlotte Observer, 5 February, 1975.
Charlotte Observer, 13 November, 1961.
The Weekly Uptown, 13 June, 1978.