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Frederick Building (Hotel Frederick)

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Hotel Frederick
1905–1906, Alger and Stewart. 922–952 4th Ave. (northwest corner of 4th Ave. and 10th St.)
  • Frederick Building (Hotel Frederick) (Marshall University Pictorial Collection)
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Above a first floor of shopfronts, four stories of hard-pressed reddish-brown brick are trimmed with a plethora of cream-colored quoins, sills, lintels, and entablature. These details, the several polygonal bays they define, and varying rooflines all add variety to what otherwise might have been a monotonous expanse, as the building sprawls over almost an acre.

When the hotel opened, architect Alger provided Huntington's Advertiser with a full description, pointing with pride to the circular lobby's “Renaissance Architecture” and “light cloud marble” finish. The cigar stand was ebony, and the barbershop off the lobby had a three-foot Italian marble wainscot, above which was “one unbroken line of mirror.” The Turkish bath in the basement featured “hot vapor rooms and rubbing slabs.”

Today the Frederick serves primarily as offices, and, although a later remodeling has blanketed most of the “Renaissance architecture” of the oval (not circular) lobby, the original, brilliantly colored stained glass skylight, recently cleaned and restored, continues to brighten the space.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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