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The Gotham Hotel & Black Bottom Hotels

At a time when the majority of African Americans were barred from hotels in downtown Detroit, businessmen John White and Irving Roane had a vision to provide African American patrons with “clean, up-to-date, serviced hostetlry” (Bolden).  In 1943, they bought and established The Gotham Hotel at 111 Orchestra Place on John R, which would service a majority Black clientele until its closing in 1962.  During its reign, it was deemed one of the “Nation’s Finest Hotels”, garnering owner John White a “Hotel Men of the Year” award in 1955 by the Hotel Association (The Baltimore Afro-American).  The Gotham was described by guests as “one the finest hotels in the country” (Bolden) and was known for its quality service, lavish rooms, entertainment, and businesses such as the Ebony Room - the hotel’s restaurant.  A few notable guests who frequented The Gotham were Joe Louis, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, B.B King, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Judge Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, etc. 

Other hotels in Black Bottom and Paradise Valley included the Biltmore Hotel, Norwood Hotel, Garfield Hotel, Carlton Plaza Hotel, Dewey Hotel, Mark Twain Hotel, the Carver Hotel, Randora Hotel, etc.



Frank E. Bolden, D.B. “Gotham Hotel in Detroit Gains Nationwide Fame.” The Pittsburgh Courier. Mar 8, 1947

Ernest H. Borden. Images of America: Detroit’s Paradise Valley. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2011.

“1955 Hotel Men Of The Year.” The Baltimore Afro-American. Nov 19, 1955, p. A3

RoNeisha Mullen and Dale Rich. “Detroit's Gotham Hotel Exuded glamour.” The Detroit News. Dec 31, 1999

Bill Loomis. “On this Day in Detroit History. 2016.” The History Press. p. 180

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