Chiquola Hotel Penthouse Suite 303
100 W. Whitner St. Anderson SC 29621 -     864-622-9088      E-mail: suite303@chiquolahotel.com        
www.chiquolahotel.com


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The Chiquola Hotel - A Historical Perspective

"They gave me to understand that they would bring me to see the greatest lord of this country who they called Chiquola"-John Ribault

The Chiquola name itself has deep historical meaning to South Carolina. The Chicora  Indians, some of South Carolina's First inhabitants gathered in large numbers on beaches near what it today Pawley's Island to witness bearded Spaniards come ashore. Chiquola is thought to be a French derivative of the name given by Rene` Laudonniere. Chiquola was told to Laudonniere to be a great city to the north filled with great riches.

The Early Years - 1888 - 1920

Anderson, South Carolina was a quiet cotton town in the years following the Civil War. Having had two of the towns hotels burned during the Fire of 1845, Anderson was in need of a hotel worthy of attracting travel on the newly formed railroads. Frank T. Wilhite, the son of one of the discoverers of the use of sulphuric ether as an anesthetic during surgery, returned from school in Chicago to find Anderson in desperate need of a worthy hotel. Mr. Wilhite started the movement of what would become the Hotel Chiquola. Frank Wilhite was a member of the Freemason Society and construction began in 1887 on the magnificent Hotel. A cornerstone Ceremony held by the Freemasons Society of Anderson was held and the Hotel Opened it doors on December 21, 1888. Chiquola-1888 "Eighteen months ago our quiet little town was in need of a good hotel. We are now standing in the building... which speaks louder than words..." - Frank T. Wilhite addressing the crowd at the grand opening gala of the Hotel Chiquola. Attendees of the event included Governor John Peter Richardson, III of South Carolina who was the first occupant of the "Governors Suite" which is now known as the Penthouse Suite 303. The Original layout of the Chiquola was a first floor with four store rooms, an office , a grand lobby with an atrium that reached to the ceiling skylight, a bar, a billiards room. The second floor housed the dining room with 15 foot ceiling adorning with ornate furnishings. The third and fourth floors housed the 45 rooms with restroom facilities on each floor. The Governors Suite was positioned on the fourth floor directly under the turret. and had a private balcony overlooking main street. Chiquola-1900The Hotel Chiquola was the most magnificent hotel between Atlanta and Charlotte and helped solidify Anderson as a major stop in the railroad and cotton industries. The United Daughters of the Confederacy were frequent guest of the hotel for their annual meeting. In 1902 the guest of the rally were presented with silver spoons etched with the Confederate Treasury. Some Famous Occupants of the Chiquola include Helen Hayes and Tallulah Bankhead both of movie and stage fame. In 1896 William  Jennings Bryan is said to have given a rousing campaign speech from the second floor verandah in his bid for the Presidency of 1896 against William McKinley, possibly introducing an early version of his famous "Cross of Gold" speech. In 1900 tragedy fell within the walls of the Hotel Chiquola. Madame Rose Lummis, an nun with the Order of the Scared Heart, died from complications with Pneumonia. Ms Lummis was in Anderson working to create juvenile reform schools. After her death two reported instances of her spirit have been reported to have been seen walking the halls of the Chiquola. 

Decline and Demise of The Chiquola

The Chiquola ceased to exist as the Chiquola in the 1920ís and was renamed the Plaza Hotel (1924). Lack of private bathrooms and parking helped decline the once magnificent hotel into mediocrity. During the next several years the Turret atop the right corner was removed along with many other architectural features, transforming the structure from a Victorian to a Romanesque style. By the 1960's business plaza-chiquolashifts away from downtown had begun and clientele at the Plaza Hotel was relegated to mostly patrons during the annual fair in the fall. Many patrons began staying for weeks or months and led to the transformation of the hotel into apartments. The further decline of business in the downtown area in the late 70's and 80's culminated with the departure of Gallant Belk's and Sears department stores that became anchors of the Anderson Mall. During the 1980's the building was condemned, not as much  for structural reason but due to the nature of persons residing within its confines. Several business continued to operate at ground level while the upper floors deteriorated. Aside from the annual Christmas parade little was available to bring crowds to downtown Anderson until the 1990's when a revitalization of the area began. The new Court house which stands in front of the Chiquola was built in 1991 and many visual elements were implemented over the next decade to give new life to downtown Anderson.

The Chiquola Rises again!

railcarIn late 2006 and early 2007 work began to bring the Chiquola Hotel new-chiquolaback from it's demise and restore it to the grandeur and glory of the early 20th century. The Chiquola would be restored as an upscale club and condominiums. The Chiquola Club opened its doors in 2007. The Chiquola now houses upscale Condominiums and a first class social club at ground level. As the redevelopment of the Chiquola comes to a close we see a glimpse of what once was and begins to be again. Downtown Anderson has once again come alive with many restaurants and clubs within walking distance of the Chiquola. The Annual Soiree is held on main street along with a weekly "Downtown Sounds" Concert just out side of the Chiquola's doors.

 

 

www.chiquolahotel.com               E-mail:   suite303@chiquolahotel.com            864-622-9088