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Hotel Gayoso: 1910

Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1910. "Hotel Gayoso." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1910. "Hotel Gayoso." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Glass Blocks

I used to live in Okmulgee Oklahoma about 40 miles south of Tulsa. We had the glass blocks intact for one of our buildings until about 10 years ago. There was talk of replaceing them when the sidewalks were rebuilt. The problem is that they will not hold the weight of a vehicle parked on the sidewalk. So needless to say they were not reinstalled.

Aerial View

The Hotel Gayoso today as seen via Bing Maps. The building at the top of the picture was once Goldsmith's department store ("Greater Memphis' Finest Store", as seen at the upper-right of the Shorpy image). Longtime Memphians will remember parking in a garage across Front Street and traversing an underground tunnel to shop at Goldsmith's.

Lobby Horse

As a descendent of several generations of native Memphians, I was told growing up that General Nathan Bedford Forrest rode his horse right into the lobby of the Gayoso to catch some miscreant Yankee during the War of Northern Aggression. I don't know if this is true or just a legend, though.

Mabel Hears One Too Many Crickets

Mabel's Memphis star turn was March 7-9 in "The Call of the Cricket," then on to Indianapolis for more. The show opened on April 19 at the Belasco in New York, where it delighted George Jean Nathan, writing in The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness(!) -

If Miss Mabel Taliaferro did nothing more than stand perfectly still on the stage for two hours, it would be entirely worth one's while to go to the theater to see her. And speaking for myself, I would not even go out between the acts.

Well, George, lovely sentiment. After 17 performances they rang down the curtain on May 3, and Mabel collapsed with complete nervous breakdown. Next stop was Danville, NY, where she got top billing in a long-running engagement at the sanitarium.

Mabel and William

According to various sources, in the 1909-1910 season Taliaferro was touring in a play called Springtime, by Booth Tarkington. Here's the nut graf of the NYTimes review.

Gayoso House

Gayoso House became a Memphis landmark, an oasis of modern luxury frequented by travelers passing through the city by river, road, or rail. With its own waterworks, gasworks, bakeries, wine cellar, and sewer system, the hotel offered amenities far beyond those available to the rest of Memphis. The indoor plumbing included marble tubs and silver faucets as well as flush toilets.

Gayoso House burned on July 4, 1899 ...

More on the hotel here.


Advertising William H. Crane in "Father and the Boys," Mabel Taliaferro March 7 at the Lyceum and a third whose name I can't make out Feb. 28 at the Orpheum.

Happy Bear

My co-worker's nickname is "Oso," which means bear in Spanish. I should show this to him.

Memphis Underground

On the Seattle Underground tour you learn that little cubes of glass set in the sidewalk (seen in front of Hotel Gayoso) were to let light down to the basements beneath the streets.

Now the Gayoso Apartments

Still there, behind the trees.

View Larger Map

Paging Dept. 56

This reminds of a ceramic Christmas village. Cue the cotton batting and C6 bulbs. The details and shape appear more imposing than the building actually is.

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