Palatka hotel earns designation on National Register of Historic Places

Hotel James designed by master architect Henry John Klutho

Photo provided by the Florida Department of State
Photo provided by the Florida Department of State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Hotel James in Palatka is now listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, the secretary of state announced Wednesday.

“I am pleased that this local landmark has been added to the National Register of Historic Places,” Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee said. “It is a well-deserved honor that recognizes the contributions of renowned architect Henry John Klutho to our state’s architectural heritage.”

The Hotel James is a three-story brick building at 300 St. Johns Ave., located downtown.

The building historically held storefronts on the first floor and hotel rooms on the second and third floors. The original core of the building was constructed in 1916, with an addition in 1924, according to a news release from the Florida Department of State. The building is an excellent local example of Prairie style architecture, which can be seen in its horizontal design features, flat roof and terra cotta moldings.

The hotel was built by local entrepreneur George E. Welch and designed by master architect Henry John Klutho. One of Klutho’s influences was famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Klutho’s work is most prominent in Jacksonville, where he emerged as perhaps the best-known architect working there in the early 20th century, experts said.

The designation of the Hotel James to the National Register makes the hotel eligible to receive Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, and plans are underway to use those tax credits to help rehabilitate the building, which is vacant for the time being.

The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service that includes historical or archeological properties, including buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide or national significance.

Florida has more than 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 295 historic districts and 175 archeological sites.

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