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Poinsett Hotel

120 S Main St, Greenville, South Carolina 29601

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The Westin Poinsett Hotel is a twelve-story, landmark hotel in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Built at the end of an era during which small Southern cities demanded quality hotels to attract business travelers and symbolize their new urban status, the Poinsett Hotel was, in part, conceived to accommodate visitors to a biennial Southern Textile Exhibit held in Greenville. A century-old hotel, the Mansion House, was razed and a larger building was designed for its Main Street location by noted New York architect William Lee Stoddart. To help raise money for the project, local businessmen, led by textile magnate John T. Woodside (1864-1946), sold $100 shares of stock to 1,700 local residents; and the hotel was named for Joel R. Poinsett, a South Carolinian who had served as Secretary of War and as the first U.S. Minister to Mexico. Groundbreaking occurred in May 1924; and the $1.5 million Poinsett Hotel opened in June 1925.The hotel was not immediately successful but prospered during the latter years of the Depression under the management of J. Mason Alexander, who emphasized customer service. Another sixty rooms were added in 1941, bringing the total to 248.As the number of private automobiles increased during the 1950s, city hotels lost business to motels, which were located on major highways rather than in the urban core. In 1959, the Poinsett was sold to Jack Tar Hotels, and its profitability continued to decline. Ownership changed hands several times in the 1970s and '80s. Beginning in 1977, James C. Bible (1924-1991) tried to operate the hotel as residence suites for retirees, but he was perpetually at odds with city government over his inability or unwillingness to meet the fire codes. The city finally closed the hotel in January 1987. During the next decade the building was repeatedly vandalized, and intruders set two fires. The hotel was considered one of the most endangered historic struc
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