On October 22, 1909, T.I. “Tyne” Choate began construction of a new, modern three-story hotel, which would cost $50,000, on the corner of East College Street and North Main Street. The Mays Hotel, “the finest between Nashville and Memphis on the N.C.&St.L. Railroad main line,” opened to the public with an evening open house in February 1911. Built as the Mays Hotel, it later became the Graystone Hotel.
On November 23, 1928, the Graystone Hotel was damaged by a fire that started in the quarters of the Shelton Lamb piano store in the right wing of the main hotel entrance.
On March 28, 1931, the Dickson County Bar Association was organized by twelve attorneys who met in the Graystone. Joe B. Weems was elected the temporary chairman and Howard Brown was elected the first president.
The Western Union Telegraph Office was installed in the Graystone Hotel in 1936, enabling telegrams to be sent and received twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
In June 1946, Tommy Hodges opened Hodges Jewelers in a space that had been a barbershop. Hodges later recalled, “I started with three showcases, money enough for five watches.” Working alone until his marriage to Mary Frances “Poochie” Orgain in 1948, Hodges doubled and enlarged his space in 1950. In 1955, the space was tripled. One improvement included possibly the first air conditioner in the business community.
In 1970 Hodges purchased the building and the hotel business, where he continued to operate his jewelry store. The hotel continued operation until 1974, when it was closed and the third floor was removed. The remaining two-story building had 20 rooms upstairs, which were converted to storage for the jewelry store.
Photo and text provided by Alan Ragan
The view from this spot in 1966 - looking South down Main Street
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