History of the Bolling Wilson Hotel Wytheville, VA
The Bolling Wilson Hotel was originally built in 1927 as the George Wythe Hotel where it operated until the late 1960’s. At that time, it was touted as a fire proof building due to its solid construction, which was important at the time as so many small towns had experienced fires which demolished many of their service facilities. When the property opened you could rent a room for $1.50 for a single and $2.50 for a double, how things have changed! There have been many a wedding and celebration held in the old George Wythe Hotel some 40 years ago and many more to come as the Bolling Wilson Hotel. Since its closure as a hotel in the 1970’s it has enjoyed many lives as a bank. When the last bank decided to move and the building became available it was purchased by Bill and Farron Smith of Smith Enterprises, in 2010.
Bill Smith, locally born and raised, had long admired the building and longed to see it brought back to its original grandeur in a more modern way. He was emboldened by an old postcard that was found from a visitor to Wytheville and the George Wythe Hotel in 1931. In the postcard message it said “Wytheville hasn’t changed in 20 years. They need someone to come here and wake them up and put this place on the map!” And, that’s exactly what he aimed to do . . . wake up Downtown Wytheville. When considering the design of the property and its accouterments, there seemed to be no other choice than to pay homage to Wytheville’s most prominent citizen, Edith Bolling Wilson, who was President Woodrow Wilson’s second wife and was born and raised across the street from the hotel in the Bolling Family home.
Edith Bolling Wilson had an interesting life history full of intrigue, fun and fancy! The family home now houses the Edith Bolling Birthplace Museum. The lower level of the museum features interesting artifacts about her life, while the upper levels, historically restored, offer a glimpse of her life while she was a young girl.
Utilizing the historic natures of the hotel building and adding a cosmopolitan feel to the building through interior design, the Bolling Wilson Hotel offers a elegant addition to Downtown Wytheville’s Main Street area. Featuring design elements that tell the story of Edith Bolling Wilson’s life, you will truly enjoy learning all of the fun facts about her life and the hotel. Like . . . why are there live canaries in the lobby? What do the different designs of the hotel guest rooms – Orchid, Canary and Bourbon – mean? And what about that turn-down gift?? . . . . sizzle!
No matter where you look throughout the property you will find interesting and unique stories and experiences that you just can’t find anywhere but the Bolling Wilson Hotel!