Martha Washington Hotel

1636 King Street

Date: 1911 (original); 1938 (addition)
Achitect: Unknown (original); Kenyon Drake (addition)
Builder: Unknown (original); Ivy H. Smith Company (addition)

At the time of its construction in 1911, this three-story Colonial Revival house was one of the largest mansions in “Riverside Annex,” as the area around King Street was then known. It was built for lumberman Bryan W. Blount. In 1938 the building became a hotel with a large addition added to the back. The name “Martha Washington” was chosen to capitalize on the fame of the George Washington Hotel downtown and to designate that this was a hotel for women. The female-only concept was short-lived, however, and during World War II it housed various boarders, including servicemen’s families. The Martha Washington continued as a residential hotel until 1977, when it closed and was slated for demolition. Just as the wrecking company had begun dismantling the building, a group of investors organized by Riverside Avondale Preservation came forward to save it. The group then resold the building to a developer who converted it to condominiums. Although the original residence has been altered by the 1938 addition and by the enclosure of part of the veranda, it is still one of Riverside’s most prominent architectural landmarks. Its noteworthy features include monumental Doric columns and numerous dormers.


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