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The Hale House

The Hale House hotel was built in Charleston in 1872 by its namesake, Dr. John P. Hale. Hale was the leader of the group responsible for having the capital moved to Charleston in 1870, and he and a group of local boosters built the first Charleston capitol building, which was leased to the state.

Realizing that to accommodate the legislature the town would need a first class hotel, Hale built the Hale House, a handsome four-story building with a mansard roof complete with dormers. One hundred feet square, it had 100 bedrooms and was billed as the finest in the state. The massive hotel was of eclectic architecture, with elements of the Italianate and Second Empire styles.

The Hale House was located in downtown Charleston, at the corner of Kanawha Street (now Kanawha Boulevard) and Hale Street (near the present South Side bridge). Dr. Hale’s residence was across the street on the northeast corner. The Hale House burned in 1885 making way for a new and finer hotel, the Ruffner, which occupied the same corner until 1970.

Written by Richard A. Andre