Book Cover

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Readers Stay at The Ellis Hotel

Hi Allen,
You may recall my telling you a month or so ago, after receiving your book in the mail, that I and my wife had plans to stay at the Ellis while in Atlanta. We are there now, in Room 507. Though I would have liked to have seen the hotel before it was refurbished, I must say that they have done a nice job with it. Our room is quite nice (and I note there's a sprinkler in it).
The hotel does advertise that the rooms have "windows that open," and they do, but only a small bit. However, I'm still able to look out over Peachtree Street, and contemplate how it must have felt to be faced with having to climb out onto a ladder or sheet rope, or much worse, to have no way of escape available at all.
The back alley is smaller than one might picture it, and it is easy to see how one might think it possible to reach the Mortgage Guarantee Building by jumping directly across the alley. The original windows of that building, described in your book as wired glass, still appear to remain in place. It's really a humbling feeling to actually be where it all happened.
I really enjoyed your book and being made aware of the extent of the disaster. I know that whoever set the fire must have been pleased that relatively nobody was interested in finding out who did it. What a sad situation. But at least, fire codes and regulations were made more stringent after the fire.
Alan Spangler

Hi Alan,
Great to hear from you - made better coming live from the Ellis Hotel! The rooms have been renumbered since the renovation, so the best way to figure who was in your room is to count windows. If you are on the Peachtree side, count the windows from the Peachtree/Ellis St. corner. If you are on the alley side count them from the Alley/Ellis St corner. That won't be as easy but it can be done. If you are on the Ellis St. side, again count them from the Peachtree/Ellis St corner. I'll be able to tell which room you are in and who stayed there the night of the fire. Some rooms were also reconfigured, so you might be in two of the old rooms at once. We'll figure it out!
Be safe, Allen

Hi Allen,
I am indeed on the Peachtree side in what is now Rm. 507. It's the 3rd window over from the Peachtree/Ellis corner. Hopefully if I stay here again, I will get a 14th floor room and get a feel for what it would be like to have to get out on that ledge. It feels odd to sit here getting on the internet in my room, when people here in 1946 didn't even have a TV. That's progress, I guess. Alan

Holy cow, Alan!
You're in (old) room 508! The Foster family of Columbus, Ga. escaped from room 508 during the fire. Two recent posts will tell you more:
http://winecoff.org/hotel/2008/04/margaret-warren-foster-newly-acquired.html and
The Winecoff Hotel did advertise, "A Radio in Every Room".

Wow, that's awesome. We really enjoyed our stay here at the Ellis; it's in such easy walking distance to the arena, good restaurants, and other downtown attractions, plus there's all the history. Thanks for figuring out the room number for me. It's been great learning about the Winecoff fire, then visiting the site. I'll try to stay abreast of continuing developments via the websites. Thanks again for all your help!
Alan Spangler

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hotel Stay Sparks Interest

I had the pleasure of staying at the Ellis Hotel (Winecoff) recently. I had no idea upon my arrival of the history surrounding the Ellis, however, after viewing the historic marker outside I became intrigued by the story.
I was reading your book last evening. I should have gone to bed, but I had to finish it... Great book, I loved the train of consciousness style in the "during the fire" chapters. It conveyed a feeling of anxiousness and confusion that was very appropriate.
Of all the pictures in the book, the one that hit home most was the one on page 27 of Irene Justice in room 624. Having seen for myself the window sill in room 1122, I could envision myself in that situation. I looked at that alley and pondered if it was crossable and if those windows on the other side were breakable. The book was truly captivating...Thanks for a wonderful read, Philip