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Kat’s Ultimate Wedding Location Vacant For Years

McCurdy Hotel
Postcard of the McCurdy/HistoricEvansville.com

If you haven’t heard The Rob rake me over the coals yet… I am getting married, and that has got me thinking about where I WANT to get married. Nothing mundane. Nothing boring. It has to be unique! It has to be awesome! So where? Well, that’s where the early 20th century landmark comes into play. I want to get married inside of the McCurdy Hotel. Not familiar with it? Maybe that’s because it’s been vacant and in disrepair for years now.

A Brief History Lesson: The McCurdy sits on the corner of Locust and Riverside Drive. It was built in 1917 on the location of another hotel that had been demolished in 1915. The McCurdy was an amazingly elegent hotel for the time. In fact it has been noted as the nicest hotel in the Mid-west outside of Chicago. According to HistoricEvansville.com

The McCurdy Hotel was developed as “a luxurious facility to aid the city’s expansion efforts”. It was named after Col. William H McCurdy, local industiralist and investor. The aging St George Hotel, on the existing site, was razed in 1915 to build this magnificent hotel. Designed by H Ziegler Dietz, the u-shaped, 8-story building featured a grand Rose Room located on the top floor. The hotel was built in opened for business on June 17, 1917.

The hotel has played host to noteworthy and legendary public figures like Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon. In 1969 the McCurdy went bankrupt. The building was then converted into a healthcare facility and retirement home in 1970. After a few more changes in ownership, the building was finally vacated in 2006.

Present Day: In 2007 the property was purchased by a developer out of Indianapolis with the plan of converting the former hotel into high end apartments… WHAT? Since that time, NOTHING has happened. According to News 14 WFIE just this past week…

The building has been empty since the beginning of 2010 and this is now the second time the developer has asked for more time.

The historic building was bought by City Centre Properties several years ago. In 2007, the company announced plans to build 90 apartments on the structure’s upper levels and to build commercial space on the ground floor.

The City of Evansville helped by financing $800,000 for the project that was scheduled to be completed in 2009.

Ok, sooo… The city gave these people $800,000 to aid funding the renovations, and nothing has happened yet. Hmmm…. And when something does happen they want to turn this grandiose property into apartments? Ok, yes, because we need more apartments downtown in historic buildings. This is where my idea takes off. Follow me here….

We have a brand new arena being built, literally blocks away from the McCurdy. There are no real hotels to speak of in downtown Evansville. In fact if memory serves me, there are none since the demolition of the Executive Inn. All other hotels in Evansville are on the East, West, or North sides of town, but there are NONE near this new GIANT arena that is currently under construction. Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to RESTORE a nearly 100 year old hotel back to a usable state… as… a… hotel…? The historic aspect of the building and property alone would be enough to likely keep it booked full of guests. Personally, if I were travelling to Evansville, I’d rather stay somewhere with rich history and character over a cookie-cutter, just like everywhere else, plain-jane, boring hotel any day! Did I mention the McCurdy is on the National Register of Historic Places?

Wouldn’t it be grand to see the property properly restored so that it makes sense for Evansville? Wouldn’t it be grand if I could get married in an early 20th century hotel, and host one big party on the top floor in the Rose Room? Ahhhh… I guess a girl can dream…

Read more about the McCurdy:

Courier & Press Article from 2008

Older Article from News 14 WFIE

IndianaLandmarks.org

Beautiful Photos of the Hotel McCurdy during it’s hay-day from DonahueStudiosPhotographs.com

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