|James Ward of the 14th Ohio carved his name into this Maxwell House Hotel ledge.|
|Several Union soldiers with the last name "Crider" and first initial 'J" served in the Western Theater.|
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|The Maxwell House Hotel near the end of the war.|
(Tennessee State Library and Archives)
|These four ledges were salvaged from the Maxwell House Hotel after a fire destroyed |
the building on Christmas Day 1961.
|Polk D. Southard, a teen, served with the 41st and 53rd Illinois. He apparently struggled |
with the "4" in "41." He died in 1920 and was buried in New Mexico.
|The chances of identifying "W.W." are remote, but perhaps we'll ID "M. Day."|
|B.R. Hawk -- perhaps Benjamin Hawk of the 14th Illinois -- etched his name in this ledge.|
|G.B. Bates and H.C.B, left their mark, too.|
The Maxwell House Hotel had a twisted history. In the fall of 1863, the grimy barracks housed hundreds of Confederate POWs, many from the Sept. 19-20, 1863, Battle at Chickamauga. On the morning of Sept. 29, disaster struck as POWs were being herded near a fifth-floor stairwell for breakfast. Barracks commander John Lakin, a captain in the 89th Ohio, may have warned the Confederates about the rickety flooring, but none apparently listened if he did.
|The lone reminder in downtown Nashville |
of the old Maxwell House Hotel.
From its official opening in 1869 to the early 1900s, the Maxwell House Hotel was the go-to site for the most important people in society. Presidents Rutherford Hayes and William McKinley, both Civil War veterans, were guests, as was former slave trader and Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, who took the oath to the Ku Klux Klan in a ceremony in Room No. 10.
Once one of the grandest hotels in the South, the Maxwell House was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 1961. The lone reminder of the hotel is a historical marker mounted on the outside of a modern office building that occupies the site.
As far as the fate of that huge outhouse, well, thankfully it was closed in January 1864.