E.F. Young Hotel

I realize that it is not Sunday and that my boys are not with me, but I have become a little addicted to photography.  I have the trip for the morning all planned out and I am so ready to go, but it seems like it has been such a long time since we have gone and my camera was crying out for some attention.  So, this morning I snuck off a little early for work and stopped downtown.  You see, I had driven by this spot the day before and had almost cried at the sight of so many pictures waiting to be taken!!  This was an area that I had not been to before.

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In all honesty, I really try not to go downtown.  I really have no reason to, and just like any downtown it is not the best place in the world to linger.  I really don’t understand that in the slightest.  I mean, it used to be that downtown was THE place to go.  That was where all the businesses were.  Now, not so much.  I did learn that this part of downtown was predominately black-owned businesses.  Now that was an interesting tidbit.  I also learned that the lovely abandoned hotel that I was taking pictures of was once the only hotel in town that would allow blacks to stay.  According to Wikipedia, the area became an African-American business district including a hotel, a barber shop, a theater and two restaurants.   Mr. Young also manufactured African-American hair care products in his kitchen and became very successful selling those.  So successful in fact that he opened a manufacturing facility in Chicago for his hair care products.

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My friend who knows a lot of history of the area thought that perhaps the slain civil rights workers had stayed at this hotel, but I can find no evidence of this in my research.  According to the book The East End Tea Room by Hewitt Clark They did bathe at the Hotel, so there is that link.  Of course, this whole area is steeped in the history of racial tensions so it is really no surprise to me.  I am not saying that this is either good or bad, it just is.  For the record I would like to say:  Wrongs were committed and have been righted.  Things happen that we need to learn from.  That is kind of the purpose of Sunday Adventures…to look at the past so that we learn and don’t repeat it if it is bad.  I love my adopted state, I love everything about it and sometimes I think it gets a bad wrap.  That is all I will say about that because this is not a political blog.

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At any rate, the hotel is steeped in history.  It is abandoned now, even though it is on the historic register.  At one time, I am sure that it was a grand old dame.  The bones are still there and they look good.  I wish I could have seen her in her heyday.  I loved seeing this hotel today and wish I had really “seen” her sooner.  Tomorrow is a new adventure and I can’t wait!  By the way, I want to wish all the Moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day.  I hope you spend the day doing something you love with the most important people in the world.  I know I will be…my boys and I are heading off into an adventure!!



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