One of West Virginia’s premier hotels, the Daniel Boone was built in Charleston on the site of the state’s first governor’s mansion and the temporary ‘‘pasteboard capitol’’ which had been quickly erected in 1921 after the nearby capitol building was destroyed by fire. The hotel, on the corner of Capitol and Washington streets, was built in 1929 by a group of Charleston citizens known as the Community Hotel Corporation to provide an elegant center for hosting politicians and visiting dignitaries in the bustling capital city. The building is significant as an example of a Classical Revival high rise in downtown Charleston, and its brick and terra cotta walls, lobby, mezzanine, and dining room areas are expressive examples of first-class hotel architecture of the 1920s and 1930s.
The capitol soon moved to Charleston’s east end, but the new hotel nevertheless became for many years the unofficial headquarters of West Virginia state government. The Daniel Boone served as a base for most state legislators during the 60-day legislative sessions. Many laws were conceived, discussed, or modified in the smoke-filled rooms of the hotel, and most of Charleston’s major meetings, banquets, and conventions were held there. Many prominent Americans stayed at the Daniel Boone, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Adm. Richard Byrd, Presidents Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman, Victor Borge, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds, Wendell Willkie, Jack Dempsey, Guy Lombardo, the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, and Sen. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. When Elvis Presley visited Charleston in 1975, his entourage occupied 63 rooms including the penthouse suite.
In 1981, the Daniel Boone Hotel closed. After renovation and remodeling the building was reopened in 1984 as 405 Capitol Street, an office building with fountains, a spacious atrium, and a 30-foot indoor waterfall. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Read the National Register nomination.
Written by Stan Cohen