Building Description Washington Hotel - Cadillac Hotel, Greenville Texas
The Washington Hotel, located at 2612 Washington Street in Greenville, Texas, is a six-story, plus basement three-part commercial block of reinforced concrete construction with brick facades with classical terra-cotta detailing. Situated at the northeast corner of Washington Street and St. John Street in the heart of Greenville's historic downtown business district, the building contains 43,936 square feet of space, and rises well above the buildings along Washington Street. The building has a rectangular footprint that transitions into a U-shape at the third floor to accommodate an open light court on the east side of the building. The building's two primary elevations on the south and west are similar in design and material, featuring brick facades and central entries, and are finished with wire-cut face brick laid in running bond. A monumental marble stair with wrought iron railings leads from the lobby to the mezzanine level, and a concrete stair near the center of the building provides access from the mezzanine to the upper floors. The building also contains two passenger elevators that run from the basement to the roof.
The City of Greenville, located approximately sixty miles northeast of Dallas in the fertile Blackland Prairies of northeast Texas, was founded in 1846 as the county seat of Hunt County. The Washington Hotel is strategically located on the northeast corner of Washington Street and St. John Street in downtown Greenville, one block south of the major commercial corridor of Lee Street, one block west of the Hunt County Courthouse and two blocks east of the Municipal Building, completed in 1940. The building is oriented north-south, with its primary entrances facing south towards Washington Street and west towards St. John Street. Rising well above the buildings along Washington Street, the Washington Hotel faces a parking lot to the south across Washington Street and a one-story commercial building to the west across St. John Street. The north elevation abuts a narrow alley, and the east elevation abuts a two-story municipal parking garage.
The Washington Hotel is a six-story, plus basement building of reinforced concrete with wire-cut brick facades and terra cotta ornamentation. The building is a three-part vertical block (a category of commercial building that was first described by architectural historian Richard Longstreth in The Buildings of Main Street: A Guide to American Commercial Architecture) with primary facades composed of three distinct parts, a red-brick storefront base, an ochre-colored brick shaft, and brick capital with simple Classical Revival terra cotta detailing The building has a rectangular footprint, and the third through the sixth stories are U-shaped to accommodate a light court that opens onto the east side of the building. Roofs are flat and covered with bitumen roofing material. A brick headhouse near the center of the west end of the roof houses the elevators and stairwell that gave access to the hotel's enclosed rooftop garden, which has since been removed. Floors and load-bearing columns are reinforced concrete. The Washington Hotel contains 43,936 square feet of space. A monumental marble stair with wrought iron railings leads from the lobby to the mezzanine level, and a concrete stair near the center of the building provides access from the mezzanine to the upper floors. The building also contains two passenger elevators that run from the basement to the roof.
The building's two primary elevations, the south elevation facing Washington Street and the west elevation facing St. John Street, are similar in design and material, featuring brick facades and central entries. Both elevations are finished with wire-cut face brick laid in running bond. The brick color is reddish-brown at the storefront base (although currently painted and partially covered with stucco from a previous rehabilitation), dark ochre on the main body of the building, and buff-colored at the top floor, which is decorated with a cream-colored terra cotta cornice, stringcourses, and floral and geometric detailing around and above the windows. The center bay above the entrance on Washington Street is slightly recessed.
At the ground floor level, the original storefront openings on the south and west elevations hold a series of non-original metal and glass storefront and entry systems, many of which are boarded up. On the Washington Street elevation, decorative hooks remain above the storefronts openings that originally hung rectangular metal canopies, which are no longer extant. The Washington Street entrance to the building retains vestiges of its original configuration and detailing. The original wood and glass exterior door with sidelights and transom remains. The unpainted portions of reddish-brown brick above the doorway mark the original location of the rectangular metal canopy and the projecting second floor Juliette balcony with metal railings, both of which were removed by a previous owner. The St. John Street entrance is recessed, with original tiled entryway and non-original metal and glass entry system. As with the Washington Street elevation, a scar in the brick is evident where a metal canopy was once located. The original metal cornice separating the storefront base from the upper floors remains intact on both elevations.
Above the storefronts, the south and west elevations are regularly fenestrated with two-over-two horizontal aluminum replacement windows in original openings with brick sills. The windows at the mezzanine level (second floor) are topped with single-paned transoms; most of the windows on this level are boarded up. Metal fire escapes, original to the building, occupy the north and east ends of the west elevation.
The north and east elevations are secondary elevations and void of ornamentation. The coloring of the brick continues from the west and south elevations, and the terra cotta cornice and ornamentation at the top floor turns the corners at the northwest and southeast ends of the building before stopping at the first window bay. The mezzanine level on the north elevation is finished in red brick, as are the entire elevations facing the light court. The fenestration on these elevations consists of original metal double-hung windows with a vertical two-over-two muntin pattern. On the east elevation, the third floor windows have been removed and the openings infilled with brick.
The Washington Hotel features a mixture of one-bedroom hotel rooms and multi-room apartments on floors two through six, with commercial/retail space at the perimeter of the first floor. On the first floor, the main hotel lobby space is roughly T-shaped, consisting of a main circulation corridor extending north from the Washington Street entrance to the monumental lobby stair, a secondary corridor extending west to the St. John Street entrance, and a lounge area east of the lobby stair. The northeastern end of the first floor originally contained mostly service and storage spaces, including a kitchen just north of the lounge area. The original configuration of these spaces is largely intact. The kitchen has been renovated with modern fitting and equipment. Doorways west of the lobby stair lead to the basement stair, a restroom, and storage spaces. The commercial spaces along the perimeter of the first floor were originally separated from the lobby; the walls between most of these storefront spaces and the lobby space are no longer extant as a result of later alterations. Originally, there was an atrium opening in the ceiling directly south of the monumental stair. This opening was closed by a previous owner.
The lobby space retains some original details such as coffered plaster ceiling moldings, decorative plaster detailing at the boxed columns and pilasters, and marble wainscoting. The plasterwork is missing or damaged in most locations. Sections of the marble wainscoting have been removed and many panels that remain are cracked. The flooring in the lobby is white hexagonal tile with a scattered geometric floral design and a border of rectangular black and white tiles in a Greek key design. This tile work also extends into the former retail spaces on the west side of the floor. Terrazzo flooring remains in the retail space at the southeast end of the building. The two original passenger elevators with paneled metal doors remain at the west side of the main north-south lobby corridor. The walls that formed an entrance vestibule at the Washington Street entrance are intact, but the interior doors are non-historic aluminum and glass assemblies. On the west end of the floor, just south of the St. John Street entrance, is a modern CMU enclosure.
On the second floor, or mezzanine level, the original T-shaped corridor configuration remains. Many of the original plaster-finished walls are in poor condition because of long-term, continuous water damage. The second floor lobby retains portions of original plaster ceiling moldings similar to those found in the first floor lobby. The original hotel dining room is located at the northeast corner of the floor and also features simple plaster ceiling details above a dropped ceiling. A stage is set up at the south end of the room, near the entrance to the elevator lobby. Six residential units, primarily single room units with bathrooms, line the south side of the south corridor. The spaces along the west elevation and in the northwest corner were most likely used for meeting rooms. As with the first floor, the remaining original plaster detailing in the second floor lobby and dining room exhibit extensive water damage, and large sections have completed deteriorated. The flooring throughout the second floor is bare concrete.
The third through the sixth floor plans are identical. Each features an H-shaped double-loaded corridor, with a mixture of units, including single-room efficiency units, kitchenettes, and multi-room suites. The elevator lobbies on each floor are located in the center-west side. All of the original plaster-finished walls on these floors are in poor condition because of long-term continuous water damage; most have collapsed or are damaged beyond repair. Simple wood moldings around the doorways and window frames remain. The doors leading into the units are a mixture of single-paneled original wood doors and later un-paneled composite doors. The flooring throughout the upper floors is bare concrete.
The basement currently houses storage space and the building's heating system and mechanical equipment.