Rocky Mount Historic Downtown Area – Letting Vancouver’s Victorian Hotel Teach Us A Thing Or Two

thIn former posts, I have written about the restoration of the Poinsett Hotel in Charlotte, NC, neglected for over twenty year, that was critical to the revitalization of the core downtown historic area. The Victorian Hotel pictured above is a  goldrush-era building in Vancouver. A version of The Victorian is what every city wishes they had; a piece of history to build upon. It is a concept that fuels our imaginations in Rocky Mount. Situated on the corner of Homer and Pender, built in 1898, The Victorian was a truly grand structure. It had the largest and most impressive rooms on the ground floor rather than the upper floors, since elevators were not yet commonplace. Wealthy guests preferred to avoid climbing the stairs.

Current owners have restored the hotel to its former glory. It has undergone extensive renovations including impressive work on the building’s exterior and a refurbished first-floor retail space that will include stores and a restaurant. Visitors to Vancouver interested in historic architecture seek out The Victorian. The hotel had a period of decline in the 1970s and ‘80s, but perhaps that period was a blessing in disguise. Original features still survive in the hotel that might otherwise have been torn-out and replaced. You will find original sinks, radiators and interior mouldings, now lovingly restored.

Today, The Victorian Hotel is a unique Vancouver property that highlights the best of its locale. Within the brick facade of this historic building are open spaces inspired by high-ceilings and solidity of past century construction. There are two buildings; the first and central building, Victoria, was built in 1898 at the time of the great Gold Rush. Built to house prospectors, explorers, and new comers searching for gold in wild and rugged British Columbia. The second building, Victoria Block, was built in 1908 in only five months to house the numerous real estate offices for the turn of the century real estate boom.

Pay close attention to the setting below of the hotel and think Rocky Mount when reading the description. Think of our great setting and architecture, the trail that is planned, the anchor projects in place….SO MUCH RIGHT. Maybe there is a Hotel like The Victorian in our future, but it is the concept of location, setting, uniqueness I want to emphasize.

Boutique hotels (100 rooms or less) began appearing in the 1980’s with New York at its epicenter. Often found in the slightly offbeat, but still highly sought after neighborhoods in urban centers, boutique hotels can be characterized as unique, stylish, and intimate. Yaletown and Gastown, where The Victorian Hotel is located, are two of Vancouver’s hippest areas. The Waterfront Skytrain station is only 3 and a half blocks away. The Hotel is less than a block from one of the city’s main bicycle routes, providing a safe continuous path for visitors to explore a variety of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. I have written this post as a PERFECT example of how an historic building becomes a new asset to a community adding to a sense of place people are looking for when selecting a place to live today.th-1

TOMORROW: THE QUEEN ANNE HOTEL IN NEW ORLEANS ONE MORE EXAMPLE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AN ARCHITECTURAL ASSET

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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