History and images have been compiled from various sources including, among others, the 1987 National Register of Historic Places, Stack & Beasley's 1902 Sketches of Monroe and Union County, Union County Public Library (Patricia Poland, Genealogy & Local History Librarian), the Heritage Room Photo Collection, North Carolina Map Collection, Rootsweb - An Ancestry.com Community and Ancestry.com family histories.

Hotel Joffre 1918

Welcoming Ceremony - NC Postcard Collection photo
1919 Photo - Heritage Room Collection photo
(click images to enlarge)
"On December 9, 1921, a banquet at Monroe's Hotel Joffre welcomed Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander of Allied forces during World War I, in the only North Carolina stop on his nationwide victory tour.

"Foch was scheduled to dine in Charlotte, but the Southern Railway refused to pull his private railroad car from the Monroe yards of rival Seaboard Air Line, forcing Governor Cameron Morrison, Josephus Daniel and other dignitaries to travel to Monroe." - North Carolina Miscellany (UNC Library Blog)

1919 photo courtesy Heritage Room Collection. Text: UCLibrary (Patricia Poland) - "The Joffre Hotel, Incorporated: 100 Rooms of Union County Comfort" - 100 guests rooms, a large dining room, rates from $1.25-$2.00 per day. Dr. J.E. Ashcraft, president and H.T. Clarke, manager.

1993 - Heritage Room Collection
(three years before demolition)
Cropped Image of Interior - HRC
Before the building was demolished in 1996, the National Register nomination recorded the Hotel Joffre Building at 301 N. Main Street:

"In 1911, the Monroe Journal began announcing plans by the Heath-Houston Realty Company to build a large new hotel building on the site of the old Houston building at the west side of the public square. However, it was not until 1917 that work was actually begun, by the letting of the contract to E.C. Ingram. The designer for the building is unknown, being described only as an architect from Charlotte.* World War I delayed completion of the hotel, which was not opened until April 19, 1919. The name Hotel Joffre was given to the building in honor of the French World War I general Marshal Joffre.

"The first floor corner section of the building was constructed especially for the First National Bank, which moved into the building in January, 1918. One of the high points of the early 1920s in Monroe was the December 9, 1921 Hotel Joffre dinner given in honor of Marshal Foch, commander-in-chief of allied forces in World War I. The room layout of the hotel has been altered by the conversion of a number of rooms to apartments and the corner is no longer occupied by a bank.

"The main mass of the building is a five story, L-shaped section at the intersection of Main and Franklin streets. A three-story, rectangular wing follows the slope of Franklin Street down to the corner of Stewart Street. The street elevations of the building are faced with yellow tapestry brick trimmed with limestone. On Main Street the first floor is faced with ashlar limestone, while on Franklin the first floor is rusticated brick with limestone trim.

"The second through fourth floors of the hotel have vertical bays of paired four-over-one windows with relief spandrel panels between the floors and limestone keystones and corner blocks. The fifth floor window bays are aligned with those below, but have round-arched heads filled with fan-pattern limestone inserts. A projecting double architrave studded with rectangular blocksforms the cornice of the main block. From this cornice dagger-like stone pennants project downward at regular intervals. The parapet above the cornice is stepped at regular, but different intervals. Exterior fire escapes have been added at the northeast and southeast corners of the building, causing a number of windows to be filled in.

"At the corner of the first floor front elevation, the former First National Bank facade contains two broad piers between which engaged Tuscan columns. Over the entrance is a stone roundel foliate carving. The other two openings on this elevation, including the original central entrance to the hotel, have been replaced with aluminum and glass shopfronts.

"At the lower level of the rear side elevation are three wood-frame shopfronts. Above these are the dining room level, which has paired windows with round-arched fan transoms. A stone-pilastered side entrance leads into the side lobby, with a flight of steps up to the mezzanine in front of the dining room doors. The lobby and mezzanine, as well as the dining room, have green-tiled wainscoting with marble chairrails and baseboards, patterned mosaic tile floors, ornate wrought iron railings and elaborate tin ceilings."

*Mr. O.D. Wheeler, a Charlotte architect, drew the plans. (Monroe Journal, Feb.27, 1917) It would be the first building with steel supports per J. Ray Shute (Enquirer-Journal Sept. 20, 1981) - Patricia Poland UCPL

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