St. James Hotel AL
For more than 150 years, the St. James Hotel has overlooked the scenic Alabama River and the town of Selma, Alabama. Originally known as the Brantley Hotel, it welcomed guests both famous and infamous for more than 50 years. During the Civil War, the Brantley was occupied by Union troops during the Battle of Selma and served as a base of operations during their occupation of the city. Due to its concentration of Confederate arsenals and factories, much of the city was burned by the occupying army. Fortunately, the St. James and a fair number of structures on Water Street were spared. Together they form the heart of the revitalized historic district and represent one of the finest collections of antebellum industrial buildings in the South. Following the war, the hotel was operated by Benjamin Sterling Turner, the first African American ever elected to the United States Congress and is reputed to have hosted the legendary outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James in 1881. In 1892, the hotel fell upon hard times and ceased operations. The community of Selma galvanized to save the beloved landmark and the antebellum gem was restored in 1997 by a group of prominent investors and local citizens, many of whom have rooms and suites named in their honor.