Finch Hotel - Franklin Hotel, Spartanburg South Carolina
In 1916, W.T. Finch purchased a tract of land on East Main Street in order to enlarge the Hotel he operated on an adjacent tract. The original Finch Hotel was located at 123 South Liberty Street and began operation in 1910. Finch mortgaged himself heavily to Frank Hodges, a local businessman and continued to try to finish the Hotel project. The unfinished Hotel was sold at Public Auction to Frank Hodges for $201,000.00 Hodges later named the building "The Franklin Hotel" and operated the Hotel for over forty years. The Hotel was sold to the R.M. Caine Company of Greenville, SC, in the 1970's and became a boarding house with eighty of its two hundred rooms occupied in 1983. In August 1988 the City of Spartanburg purchased the Hotel and the structure was demolished in September 1988 to make room for a high rise office complex.
The Finch Hotel (Franklin), located on East Main Street in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, was one of the leading hotels of the City during the early and mid-twentieth century. Constructed between 1918 and 1922, the hotel was erected during a period of rapid commercial and industrial growth. The luxuriousness of the hotel was well known and it became the center of social occasions. The hotel was so costly to build that the owner, W.T. Finch (born September 9, 1865, died May 20, 1959) was forced to sell the hotel in order to pay off construction costs. Finch, a native of Spartanburg, built a hotel in 1910 on South Liberty Street. A 1912 description of this hotel can be found in a folder marked "Hotels" in the Spartanburg County Library. Mr. Finch is described thus: "He has by his noteworthy energy and enterprise made and gained an excellent reputation in all circles for his kind, courteous and genial attention to his guests."
Between 1922 and the early 1960's, under the ownership of Frank Hodge, the Franklin Hotel was a leading social center for the community. The first floor contains a commodious dining room and on the sixth floor a ballroom was located. These spaces were the scene for many civic and school dances as well as other celebrations. Nearby Converse College had a leading school of music in the Southeast, and noted symphony and opera companies who played at the college would stay at the Franklin. National, state and local political leaders also were guests at the Franklin during these years.
After 1960 the fortunes of the hotel declined with the lessening of railroad traffic and decreasing business activity on Main Street. The Franklin was sold to a Greenville Company and it became used as a home for the elderly. In 1985 the hotel closed its doors to guests. Deterioration of windows and doors later provided accommodations to flocks of pigeons and an occasional barn owl.