Quick action needed for Eola Hotel

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 9, 2015

People in Natchez have a different way of looking at our city’s historic buildings. We realize the history is bigger than any present owner, the legacy of the building more important than the name on the deed.

Many first-time owners of antebellum houses have expressed surprise their houses seem to have a life and history that is greater than the owners could have ever imagined.

Downtown Natchez buildings are much the same as well. One of the most important buildings in downtown now sits a vacant shell of itself.

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The Natchez Eola Hotel building on the corner of Main and Pearl streets closed last year when a new owner said the hotel as it sat was no longer viable.

Exact plans for renovating the hotel appear to be in flux. We applaud Natchez Mayor Butch Brown’s recent efforts while on a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with the owner, Robert Lubin, and plead with him to again open up at least a portion of the Eola building as a hotel.

Natchez’s downtown needs many things to revive its prominence, but one of those things is for the Eola to again be a living, breathing hotel.

For decades the hotel hosted weddings, parties, honeymoons and literally thousands of lunch dates, business breakfasts and other events. Sadly, the vacant Eola building has been left open to the elements recently, with some of the balconies on the upper floors wide open to the heat, birds and rain.

Normally, we don’t delve into telling a private business owner what to do with his property. It’s a free country, and Mr. Lubin can do as he pleases. However, given the Eola’s importance, both to the city’s history, its skyline and its future, we implore him to work with city leaders to quickly find a way for the hotel to be reopened and revitalize the pulse of downtown Natchez.