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Did You Know?

  • The Jefferson Hotel was supposed to open on November 1, 1895, but at the last minute it was realized that November 1 was a Friday, and it was considered bad luck to start anything on a Friday. So the hotel was opened on Halloween instead.

  • From the time the hotel opened until 1937, rooms were just $1.50 per night.  A room with a private bath was $1 more per night.

  • The Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the hotel in 1949 cost $2.50.

  • When Elvis stayed at the hotel in 1956, he brought his own television and the hotel manager was shocked that Elvis ate his bacon with his fingers.

  • In the mid 1950s, the hotel had a pink limousine to drive guests throughout the city.

  • The Jefferson has been in several movies including My Dinner with Andre (1981), First Kid (1996), HBO's Ironed Jawed Angels (2004), The American President (1995) and the recently discovered Rock and Roll Hotel (early 1980's).

  • Alligators once resided in marble pools in the Palm Court Lobby.  Richmonders would vacation in Florida and bring the baby alligators home as pets.  As they outgrew sinks and bathtubs, residents would bring them to live at The Jefferson.  Tour the hotel’s public area and see how many alligators you can find today!

  • Thirteen US Presidents, including Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, both Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano), Truman and Reagan, both Bushes (George H. W. and George W.), Clinton and Obama have been guests at The Jefferson Hotel.

  • Legend says that Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was discovered by his life-long agent while dancing across the dining room at The Jefferson Hotel. 

  • Frank Sinatra once entertained guests in Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel with an impromptu performance after enjoying his dinner.

  • Artifacts from over a century of the hotel’s history are housed in a museum at the bottom of The Grand Staircase, including a photo of Elvis at the hotel's old lunch counter.

  • The priceless statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands watch over the Palm Court lobby has only left his post on one occasion.  In the 1902 hotel fire, he was rescued from the building only to have his head bumped on the cobblestones.  He took a brief vacation to Edward Valentine’s art studio where his head was reattached.

  • The Grand Staircase at The Jefferson Hotel has long been rumored to be the staircase featured in the iconic film, Gone with the Wind.

  • The Jefferson Hotel is often cited as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture still in existence today.

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Richmond - Four Centuries of History

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Richmond - Four Centuries of History

Richmond was founded in 1607 by Christopher Newport and Captain John Smith of Jamestown fame. William Byrd II named the city after the Thames River in Richmond, England. Patrick Henry lit the fires of revolution when he delivered his "…give me liberty or give me death…" speech at St. John's Church in 1775.

Richmond replaced Williamsburg as capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1780. The State Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson, is one of the most visited sites in the city and is home to the world famous Houdoun statue of George Washington, possibly the most valuable piece of marble sculpture in America.

Richmond was also capital of the Confederate States of America from 1861 until 1865. After the Civil War, Richmond became a thriving city, especially for black entrepreneurs. The downtown neighborhoods of Court End and Jackson Ward continue to tell the stories of struggle and triumph.

However, Richmond does not live entirely in the past. It’s a city of constant change, and there’s never been a more exciting time to visit. The newly opened Riverfront Canal Walk allows visitors easy access to the only metropolitan whitewater river in the U.S. The 32-acre riverfront development meanders along a 1.25-mile stretch of the historic James River.

George Washington’s original canal design takes visitors from the historic Tredegar Iron Works to Shockoe Slip, a renovated warehouse district that has been converted to a popular entertainment, shopping and dining nightspot. A few blocks over is Shockoe Bottom with its 300-year-old, open-air Farmer’s Market set among all-new shops, eateries and nightclubs.

A short walk from the re-born Shockoe Bottom is the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, housed in Richmond’s oldest standing structure. For a broader view of Richmond’s long and diverse history, visit The Valentine Museum, with its exhibitions of clothes, documents and rare photographs.

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