A Trip Back in Time to the Houston Hotel

Have a memory of the Houston Hotel? Join the conversation and share them with us below.

Dothan, AL - The history of the Houston Hotel spans more than eight decades. It's been much more than just a place to stay for the night. In fact, it's an important landmark to many.

Our journey starts two hundred miles away in a trunk deep in a Birmingham cellar.
That's where someone found a photo of the Houston Hotel.

We're not sure how it got there, but at some point in the 40's we believe it got into the hands Marion Clement to use it in his magazine, Southern Building.

At the time, Downtown Dothan was bustling and this building was an attraction.

"If people came to town, it wasn't uncommon to take them downtown to see the Houston Hotel. Some people had never seen an 8 story building or a building that large," said David Woods.

The 150 room hotel was built in 1928. A letter went to investors saying it would cost more than $400,000 to build it.

Frank Gaines grew up with Foster Street in his backyard, and he remembers eating Sunday lunch at the hotel.

"It brings back memories. We would walk from my grandmother's house which is where the county tower (Houston County Administration Building) is now. Her home was on that corner. We would walk from there to here," said Gaines.

He took me on a tour, pointing out what this building used to hold.

"This is the original elevator there. The other has been added," said Gaines. "It was hand operated. You didn't push a button. There was a lever."

Of course we didn't stop at the elevator. He showed me where the barber shop was. The kitchen and even a pharmacy.

But we stopped for awhile to talk about the ballroom. It's where he had his first date in 1958, and thirteen years later his wedding reception.

"There's a lot of memories in this ballroom. It's a beautiful ceiling. A lot has changed, and it's much smaller than i remember," said Gaines.

A lot has changed. The ballroom is now WTVY's studio. It's where we tell you about the day's events and even chat about the future.
But if you look hard enough, you can still see a glimpse of the past.

This building has been more than just a hotel and a news station.

Friday evening on News 4 at 10, we'll visit the archives at Troy University's Dothan Campus. We'll learn what this building was like as a college campus.

We know many of you have your own memories in this hotel. So join the conversation and share them with us.


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