Built in 1892, to attract winter visitors from the north, the Windsor was a 100-room, five story Victorian structure complete with towers, balconies, and a three story open atrium lobby. It occupies nearly an entire city block, and was the site of numerous balls and celebrations. The Windsor closed its doors in the early 1970s, but recently underwent a $5.8 million restoration which returned the historic structure to its original grandeur. Visitors, now, can stay in any of 53 period style rooms with all-modern amenities. No rooms in the Windsor are exactly the same, so each room has its own warmth and style.
The Grand Opening transpired on June 16, 1892. Thousands attended the opening and over 100 guests registered the first day. A Grand Ball lasted until well after midnight in the fifth-floor ballroom. Although prospects for the Windsor appeared to be rosy, such was not the case. A nation-wide economic depression in 1893 put a serious dent in the tourist trade, the hotelís reason for being. By the end of the decade bankruptcy was declared, and the AMIC lost their investments. On September 5, 1899, Charles A. Fricker bought the Windsor for $40,000 at public sale.
In September, 1910, the hotel was completely renovated with electric lights, new elevators, telephones, and steam heat, at a cost of $75,000. Numerous smaller scale renovations occurred over the following decades, but the Windsor never regained her full, Victorian-era glory. In the 1930ís the property was again sold. This time to Mr. Howard Dayton, of Daytona Beach, Florida. Mr. Dayton owned a number of hotels in Florida and South Georgia and kept the Windsor in operation for another four decades. Finally, in August, 1974, having operated for some time as apartments, the hotel closed her doors after 82 years.
The Windsor Hotel was donated to the City of Americus in 1978 by the Howard Dayton family. The challenge facing in-coming Mayor Russell Thomas, Jr. in 1980 was two-fold: either demolish the hotel and use the lot for parking or restore the building. The community was overwhelmingly in favor of restoring the hotel, making it the centerpiece for downtown revitalization. Because it was such a big project, downtown merchants were urged to begin the revitalization effort by rehabilitating their own storefronts. This, they did. The new Windsor Hotel was unveiled in September, 1991.
There are 53 unique period-style rooms and suites, all with twelve foot ceilings and ceiling fans. The guest room doors were milled from the original floor joists removed from the shops during restoration. Each room has modern individually controlled heating and air conditioning. The entire building is equipped with sprinklers and state-of-the-art fire safety equipment.
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Pictures and information were provided by Winsor Hotel
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