Hotel De Soto -- The Old DeSoto Hotel
Architecture -- Georgia -- Savannah.
Historic buildings -- Georgia -- Savannah -- Pictorial works.
Hotels -- Georgia -- Savannah.
Preston, William Gibbons, 1842-1910
Savannah (Ga.) -- Buildings, structures, etc. -- Pictorial works.
The image is from a scan of a slide from Myrtle Jones Collection, MS 002. The slide was used in the publication of her book, "A Savannah Experience: an artistic expression of my life in Savannah, " published in 1995. The slide depicts a painting of the Old Hotel DeSoto, painted in 1963 a few years prior to its being torn down.
In the 1880's, Savannah was an important stop in Florida's burgeoning tourist trade. A railroad to Tybee Island was opened in 1887 with the idea of promoting the beach and Tybee as a resort area. Rail and steamship lines were well in place between Savannah and points north and south. It was hoped that Savannah would become a destination rather than a stopover. A major luxury hotel was the element missing that would draw people to stay in the city. Construction on the Hotel DeSoto began in 1888. It was a Richardsonian Romanesque style building designed by Boston architect William Gibbons Preston. The hotel building took up an entire city block and was constructed of terra cotta, brick, and shingle. Part of the hotel was five stories and the rest was six stories. It had 206 rooms and also housed solariums, a barbershop, drug store, lunchrooms, coffee shops, and a restaurant. There were separate entrances for ladies and gentlemen and large piazzas with rocking chairs. The many brochures of the time about the hotel boast of a swimming pool, 18 hole miniature golf course and proximity to tourist attractions, hunting, and fishing.
The artist, Myrtle Jones, was born in Winder, Georgia in 1913 to Reverend Vianous Vespiew and Mary Glover Braddy. She had two sisters, Mildred Braddy Rogers and Moriene Braddy Wells. Jones was married two times: for 17 years to Southwood "Smut" Jones. That marriage ended in a divorce, which was followed shortly after by his suicide. Her second marriage was to Leonard "Bill" King. They were married for 15 years before he died of cancer in 1983. Myrtle Jones had no children. Jones began her artistic career by attending classes at the Telfair Museum of Art and at Armstrong Junior College (now Armstrong Atlantic State University). She considered herself to be largely self-taught. She was a student of Emil Holzhauer and Rubin Gambrell. Local artist Hattie Saussy served as Jones' mentor and friend. She is best known for her paintings of portraits and cityscapes. Jones died in Savannah on February 15, 2005 of natural causes at the age of 92.
Scholars wishing to cite this item should include item title,MS 002, The Myrtle Jones Papers, Jen Library Archives and Special Collections, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the item's url.
39 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches
Oil on canvas
The Myrtle Jones Papers, MS 002, Jen Library Archives and Special Collections, the Savannah College of Art and Design
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