Built in 1946, the E.F. Young Jr. Hotel was an important Green Book listed lodging for Black travelers in the Jim Crow South
In July 2023, I revisited the site of the old E.F. Young, Jr. Hotel in Meridian, Mississippi to see what was left after the demolition.
This was the E.F. Young Jr. Hotel in Meridian, and I came here to shoot the beautiful weathered old sign that once hung over this corner, but sadly. I was too late — it had been removed. But while here I spoke to a gentleman who told me the hotel had been condemned and was scheduled to be demolished within a month.
The historic E.F. Young Jr. Hotel, built in 1946
EF Young Jr. was an entrepreneur in Meridian Mississippi who started a hair company that made hair products specifically for African Americans. He opened the EF Young Jr Hotel in Meridian in 1946.
The hotel, which provided clean and safe accommodations to Black travelers during the years of segregation, was part of Meridian’s African American Business District. It catered to people coming from the nearby train station. This was a big deal because in those days Black travelers in the segregated Jim Crow-era South had few choices fr accommodations and mostly had to stay with friends or sleep in their cars. It was the only such establishment within a 90-mile radius.
Here, people could also dine out, get haircuts and shoes shined, find entertainment at the Magnolia Theater, and obtain medicines at the Fielder and Brooks Pharmacy.
In later years the hotel became somewhat disreputable and became more like a flop house until it was closed in 1978, when it was converted to office space for the hair products company for a while.
After becoming vacant altogether, it began to deteriorate.
Sadly, the building was condemned in 2021, and the adjacent street blocked off for safety reasons. When I visited in March 2023, it was still standing in ruins, but I had heard it was scheduled for imminent demolition.
The National Register of Historic Places application says this about the hotel building, which is part of a multiple structure application:
“E. F. Young Hotel (500-25th Ave.). 1946. Two-story stuccoed building at corner of row. Four bays by three highlighted by white trim, which is found at string courses, window sills, and lintels; inset panels between floors, pilaster strips, and sawtooth cornice. Not normally eligible for National Register nomination because of age, but definitely a contributory structure.”
Scroll down for pictures of the old hotel taken a month prior to demolition, followed by a few photographs afterward.