Union has had several lodgings over the yearsBy TERESA BLOUNT,
In early days when so many people were coming from rural areas to work in the booming town of Union, they needed a place to stay on weekdays. To accommodate them, several merchants erected stores with a second floor that was designed to be used for apartments or rental rooms. Two standing examples of those today are the Union Station (Bus Station) and House of Hope (Hugh Matthews Grocery).
Because even more room was needed, hotels sprang up in many areas. City Hotel with A. Tucker as the proprietor, was just east of the post office before 1910. Jackson Hotel, built in 1913 with Jackson as proprietor, was often called the Golden Hotel because Mr. Golden built it.
In 1916, Pace Hotel was located near the depot, and Thompson Hotel was built in 1917. During my search, I found no other information about these hotels.
However, three additional hotels did leave more information. The first, the Commercial Hotel, was built by A.A. Nicholson, Cora McMahen’s father, before 1910.
A.J. Hutto became proprietor. It was located behind the stores around 104 Bank St. near Jackson Road. In 1917, Mr. Nicholson had his 14-room hotel for sale. In 1924, Dr. Z.C. Hagan, Dr. W.A. McMahen, and Lauren L. Majures bought it with the intention of building a garage and filling station there. For some reason, they did not because history tells us that in 1925, Joe Dowdle used the old hotel as an apartment house. The Commercial Hotel burned in late December in 1929. Wilson Chevrolet, then located at 104 Bank St., was slightly damaged by the fire, only having some broken windows.
The second hotel was located at 110 Bank St., the northwest corner of Bank St. and the alley.
In 1910, Evan Edgar had his Store House for sale. In 1911, it was bought and remodeled into Union Hotel. When Anna Roxanne Hamilton (Ma) Sessums and her family came from Harperville in 1919, she and her daughter Mattie Worthen managed this hotel until she bought it from W.L. Polk on May 21, 1921. They worked there until she leased Hotel Parker at 102 Main St. in 1924 and began managing it. Then in October 1925, she sold Union Hotel to S.D. Whittle, who planned to use it as a boarding house. History reports that a big dance was held there on the night of Sept. 28, 1929. Finally, in April 1930, Union Hotel, which was empty at the time, and the Asumu Theater, a silent moving theater next door to it, burned (the State Farm and Union Supply area today). A history of the third hotel that we refer to as Sessums Hotel will appear in next week’s column.
Here are this week’s questions:
• Do you remember when the skating rink in front of Carleton Oil opened and closed?
• When did Alexander’s Pharmacy remove the soda fountain?
• Do you know anyone who lived in the apartments above Hugh Matthews’ store?
If you have further information or answers to the following, please contact me at email@example.com or 601-774-5564 or 109 Woodhaven Dr., Union, MS 39365.