The Edison Walthall Hotel
Note: This hotel was called the Edison Walthall when we visited. It may have a new name now. Portions of this hotel have been renovated since this article and tour were created, particularly the rooms. This should be considered a historical piece rather than a current representation.
The Walthall Hotel began sometime in the early 1920's (I haven't found an exact date) when the Jackson Baking Company, a large bakery, was built on the hotel's future site in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. The bakery had a tea room on the first floor, which attracted considerable business. A group of enterprising businessmen saw opportunity in the popular tea room, and decided that a hotel would be better suited to the site than the bakery. They hired local Jackson, Mississippi architect N. W. Overstreet, who designed a remodel and addition that would convert the original 3-floor bakery into a new 8-floor hotel. The new hotel was named the Walthall Hotel after local Civil War hero and politician Edward Cary Walthall, who had died about 30 years earlier. The new hotel opened in 1928. The tea room became the dining room of the Waltham Hotel.
Like so many of these older downtown hotels the property slowly fell into disrepair over the years. The original rooms were tiny and not very comfortable. By the 1960's modern motels had become the popular places to stay for both tourists and businessmen. The Walthall was given new life through a complete remodel in 1967 to convert it into a outside-corridor design, which was the current trend in motor motels. Guests now arrived by automobile so parking was required. A new addition was added to the back of the hotel to provide parking, a swimming pool, and additional guest rooms. The new 7-story edition featured four floors of parking garage, with three floors of rooms above it. A courtyard with a large swimming pool was built on the 5th floor of the new addition above the parking garage. The hotel was renamed the Downtown Motor Inn, and later became the Radisson Hotel. The years passed and the hotel slowly fell into disrepair once again.
In the early 1990's, the hotel was once again sold, this time to Earl Gaylor of Edison Hotels and Resorts, and in 1992 the hotel was once again remodeled. The rooms were redecorated, and a few new suites were created. On the first floor modern plaster walls that had been added during the 1960's remodel were removed to expose the original mahogany paneling behind them. The mahogany paneling was restored and 1920's period furnishings were added to restore a traditional elegant appearance similar to the original hotel. Many of the hotels original paintings were found in storage, restored, and rehung. Meeting rooms, a new ballroom, and a banquet kitchen were added on the second floor. Additional meeting rooms, as well as another banquet kitchen, were added on the eighth floor. The guest rooms were redecorated and new fixtures and furniture were added to many of them, including refrigerators and microwaves. The hotel was once again renamed by combining the Edison label with the original Walthall name, resulting in The Edison Walthall Hotel.
The photos in the virtual tour were taken in 2007 during the Edison Walthall period.
In the year 2008 the hotel went into bankruptcy and was sold. It was purchased by the Roberts Hotels Group, who renamed it The Roberts Vista Hotel. The attempt to revive it failed and Roberts filed for bankruptcy. As of March 2013 it was closed again and for sale.
If you have additional information on the history of the hotel, or corrections, please contact me, Jess Stryker, see the bottom of this page for contact information. I would love to hear from you!
Rates and Reservations:
Last I heard the Walthall was closed. Try searching for it using it's address (in case it has a new name): 225 E Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201