For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Contact: Sarah Revell
Secretary Lee Announces the Designation of the Hotel James on the National Register of Historic Places
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced today that the Hotel James in Palatka has been listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
“I am pleased that this local landmark has been added to the National Register of Historic Places,” said Secretary Lee. “It is a well-deserved honor that recognizes the contributions of renowned architect Henry John Klutho to our state’s architectural heritage.”
The Hotel James is a three-story brick commercial structure located at 300 St. Johns Avenue in downtown Palatka. Built by local entrepreneur George E. Welch, the building historically held storefronts on the first floor and hotel rooms on the second and third floors. The original core of the building was constructed in 1916, with an addition in 1924. The building is an excellent local example of Prairie Style architecture, which can be seen through its horizontal design features, flat roof and terracotta moldings.
The Hotel James was designed by master architect Henry John Klutho. He is especially known for his Prairie Style buildings, which were heavily influenced by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Klutho’s work is most prominent in Jacksonville, where he emerged as perhaps the best-known architect working there in the early 20th century. Klutho arrived in Jacksonville after the Great Fire of 1901, which gave him the opportunity to design new commercial and residential structures to replace buildings lost to the fire. His work can still be seen today in Jacksonville’s historic downtown and residential historic districts.
Klutho was the first Florida-based architect admitted into the American Institute of Architects. Although his best-known commissions are in Jacksonville, Klutho worked throughout Florida. The Hotel James is one of three significant commissions he received in Palatka. The Hotel James was built in 1916, just prior to the U.S. entering World War I and at the height of his career. Other Klutho designed buildings in Palatka were the old city hall, which is no longer there, and the 1929 Larimer Memorial Library located at 216 Reid Street. Klutho also designed the 1924 addition to Hotel James.
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation included the Hotel James in its 2018 11 to Save list of the most threatened historic properties in Florida. To learn more about the Hotel James or to nominate an endangered property, visit FloridaTrust.org/11tosavenominations. This designation of the Hotel James to the National Register makes it eligible to receive Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and plans are underway to use these tax credits to help rehabilitate the currently vacant building.
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About the National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service which includes historical or archaeological properties including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. Florida has over 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 295 historic districts and 175 archaeological sites. There are more than 50,000 sites contributing to the National Register in Florida. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation/national-register. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program administered by the National Park Service, visit nps.gov/nr.
About the Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation.