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Discover the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown, which was once the home of the historic fraternity, the Bell House Boys.

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Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2021, dates back to 1925.


A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2021, the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Just moments away from Atlanta’s renowned Fox Theatre District, this spectacular holiday destination was also designed by the renowned architectural firm Pringle and Smith at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Working alongside the Foundation Company (the general contractor), Pringle and Smith raised a magnificent Art Nouveau-style skyscraper that stood 12 stories tall. The firm relied upon the best building materials available to craft the structure’s outstanding appearance, using a rich combination of brick, limestone, and terra cotta throughout the exterior façade. Steel beams and concrete formed the skeleton of the building as well, set atop a rectangular foundation. Inside, Pringle and Smith had designed 143 outstanding guestrooms, in addition to a gorgeous central lobby that led to a lounge and restaurant. When the work finally concluded in 1925, the new edifice debuted as a luxurious housing complex called, “The Carlton Apartment.”

Nearly all of the units inside the structure were leased to single bachelors, who had traveled to Atlanta in search of a career. In fact, Pringle and Smith had built the top three floors of The Carlton Apartment to serve as the fraternal headquarters for a social order of single men known as “The Bell House Boys.” Chartered a decade prior, The Bell House Boys could actually trace their origins to a boarding house operated by widow named Emma Bell in the late 1870s. Bell cared deeply for her tenants, who went as far as to place a gas-powered streetlamp outside her house to serve as something of a beacon to guide them home. Over time, the subsequent generations of single men who had lived in the boarding house grew incredibly close, seeing themselves as something akin to an extended family. Bell’s tenants—both past and present—thus honored her memory by creating the organization following her death in 1914.

The top levels of The Carlton Apartment continued to act as the official meeting place for The Bell House Boys for several years, with the guestrooms leased to new members. A few local newspapers even spoke about the great lengths the fraternity had taken to personalize The Carlton Apartment, even installing Emma Bell’s famous gaslight within the rooftop garden. But The Bell House Boys ultimately decided to relocate their association to the Thornton House on the eve of the Great Depression, leaving The Carlton Apartment without its greatest occupant. In the wake of their departure, one of the building’s original investors, Colonel Charles H. Cox, obtained sole ownership and began the process of converting it into a full-time boutique hotel. Taking a few months to complete the renovation, Colonel Cox subsequently reopened the building as the “Cox-Carlton Hotel” in 1930. Even though Cox only owned the building for a short time thereafter, the business nonetheless carried on as the Cox-Carlton Hotel for the better part of the next four decades.

In 1981, a hotel magnate ironically named Russell Carlton Cox purchased the historic Cox-Carlton Hotel for a grand sum of $2.2 million. Already the owner of the successful York Hotel of San Francisco, Cox decided to rebrand the Cox-Carlton Hotel as the “Hotel York of Atlanta.” He subsequently invested heavily into the business’ complete renovation, adding on such unique facilities like a new restaurant, as well as an ornate cabaret. Despite the hotel’s continued popularity, Russell Carlton Cox sold the structure to Diversified Peachtree Limited just four years later. The structure would continue to operate as the “Days Inn-Peachtree” until the mid-2000s, when the Hotel Indigo group reached an agreement to buy the location. Like its predecessors, Hotel Indigo spent a considerable amount on thoroughly renovating the structure. But the company was strongly committed toward preserving its rich historical character and took great pains to ensure that its architectural integrity remained intact. Now known as the “Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown,” this wonderful holiday destination has since ranked as one of the best places to stay in all of Atlanta.

  • About the Location +

    The Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown is right next to the famous Fox Theatre Historic District. The small neighborhood got its name from the historic Fox Theatre, which debuted in for the first time in 1929. Designed by Oliver Vinour, many throughout Atlanta believed the building to be among the most beautiful in the city. It displayed an interesting blend of Islamic and Egyptian architecture, including a 4,665-seat auditorium that closely resembled an Arabic courtyard. The theater was originally planned to serve as a large temple for The Shiners, although they never fully occupied the location due to budgetary constraints. The organization eventually leased most of the structure to film tycoon William Fox, who subsequently transformed it into another one of his fabulous movie palaces. Fox then debuted his section of the building as the “Fox Theatre,” while The Shiners moved into a small wing set off to the side. But with the onset of the Great Depression weeks later, the Fox Theatre was forced to close. A local theatre company called “Lucas & Jenkins” quickly formed a partnership with Paramount Pictures to purchase Fox’s now abandoned complex. The theater then showcased many unique movie premieres and emerged as one of the city’s greatest icons. At the same time, it's gorgeous Egyptian Ballroom became one of the most popular social clubs in Atlanta. Despite a brief period of inactivity at the end of the 20th century, Fox Theatre is still very much active today. While it is no longer an exclusive movie theater, it does host a number of exhilarating cultural and artistic events regularly.

    Atlanta itself first came into existence in the late 1830s, when the Western and Atlantic Railroad selected the site of present-day Atlanta as the location for a train depot. Commissioned by the Georgia General Assembly, the railroad was intended to link the seaside city of Savannah further inland to the commercially important settlement of Chattanooga, Tennessee. As such, the depot would provide logistical support for all the trains that needed to traverse the Appalachian Mountains in northern Georgia. A small community quickly formed around the facility, which was originally known as both “Terminus” and “Marthasville” before becoming “Atlanta” in the 1840s. Traffic on the Western and Atlantic Railroad increased dramatically over the next two decades, inspiring several private companies to link their own routes through the fledgling city. A vibrant industrial economy quickly emerged alongside the railroads, too. By the mid-19th century, the city had grown into one of the most economically vibrant communities in the entire nation. Atlanta’s value as a transportation hub and manufacturing center had made it a strategic target for the Union during the American Civil War. In 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman finally achieved the elusive goal after a climatic, four-month-long siege known to history as the “Battle of Atlanta.” The city was subsequently desolated by both the Confederate and Union armies, as they both hoped to deprive the other of the area’s useful military assets. Atlanta’s capture was a significant boost to Northern morale and even aided in President Abraham Lincoln’s reelection later that fall. Sherman himself then used Atlanta as his primary supply base amid his famous campaign remembered as the “March to the Sea.”

    When the American Civil War finally concluded the following year, Atlanta was swiftly rebuilt by its inhabitants. But Atlanta quickly became politically important, as the state legislature decided to meet in the city to closely coordinate the rebuilding efforts across Georgia. Atlanta’s railroad network made communicating with those disparate communities incredibly easy. As such, the state administration decided to permanently relocate the capital to Atlanta in 1868. With the city’s political and economic rebirth came a subsequent cultural renaissance that persisted well into the first decades of the 20th century. Atlanta expanded at an unprecedented rate, spurred on by countless new business that had opened within its borders. Among the many enterprises to appear at the time was the nascent Coca-Cola Company in 1892. But race relations remained a point of contention inside the city, which ultimately made Atlanta a hotbed for the Civil Rights Movement. Led by Atlanta-native Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city’s civil rights activists began organizing a massive campaign of civil disobedience that struck at racial inequality on a national scale. Dr. King emerged as the most visible spokespeople for the movement alongside his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In recognition of his legacy, Dr. King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church and his adjacent gravesite currently serve as the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site. Atlanta is now one of the most historic destinations in the whole United States. From its fascinating Civil War-era history to its connections with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., few places can claim the heritage that Atlanta enjoys.

  • About the Architecture +

    Originally designed by the renowned Atlanta-based design firm, Pringle and Smith, the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown is a 12-story brick veneer building with limestone and terra-cotta accents. Built of steel-reinforced concrete, it is rectangular with two single-story rear ells. Pringle and Smith placed ornamentation on the exterior of the first two floors, as well as the top two. Nevertheless, the first two levels had facades veneered in limestone and displayed limestone voussoirs above the arches around the front doors. Limestone quoins outlined the projecting central section and both ends of the building. Two terra-cotta cartouches with a "C" in the center were installed on either side of the exterior central entry by the firm. Furthermore, "The Carlton" was inscribed upon the frieze between the second floor and the brick third floor, too. Pringle and Smith delineated the top two floors with a limestone and brick band that circled the building. They also constructed the building’s crest to feature a combination of terra-cotta and limestone cornices, as well as detailed balustrades. Inside, the interior consisted of a central lobby and lounge with a restaurant space, while a central hall led to the rear entrance. There were windows on all four facades and a fire stair toward the back of the building. The lobby itself was adorned with many beautiful columns and fanlight by Pringle and Smith, making it the focal point to the interior. Thirteen apartments resided on each floor above the entry level, too, which were flanked by a north-south central hall. Some of the apartments were connected as suites, and a few eve had balconies.

    Art Nouveau architecture itself was among the most popular styles in Europe from the 1890s till the outbreak of World War I. It quickly appeared in both North America and Europe, referred to by such names like “Glasgow Style,” “Modern Style,” and “Sezessionsstil.” And some of the most prominent architectural minds employed Art Nouveau architecture. Perhaps the greatest example Hector Guimard’s wonderful Castel Béranger in Paris, France. The term itself was derived from an article published in the L’Art Moderne to introduce the work of architectural collective Les Vingt toward the end of the 19th century. Architects who embraced the Art Nouveau were among a growing demographic of intellectuals that yearned to create novel artistic forms that broke with the imitative historicism of the past. More importantly, they wanted their new architectural motifs to reflect imaginative creativity, especially as Western society on both sides of the Atlantic became increasingly more industrialized. Over time, those professionals created a design aesthetic characterized by its curvaceous lines and use of organic shapes. Objects from nature were featured prominently throughout the façade of every structure, too, including the likes of insects and exotic plants. Surfaces often contained terra-cotta coverings, and ornate tile moldings spread throughout the interior. Sloped arches also defined the windows and doors, while fantastic mosaics existed on nearly every ceiling. Asymmetrical layouts structured many Art Nouveau buildings, as well, providing for a unique appearance in many of the West’s sprawling cities. Art Nouveau architecture was eventually phased out during the 1920s in favor of a new style known as “Art Deco.”

  • Film, TV and Media Connections +

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    The Powerpuff Girls

    Respect: The Aretha Franklin Story