Old Central Hotel
- 3,528 square feet
- Lot Size: 0.057 acres / Zoning: Commercial
, Regional Director
Preservation NC, Piedmont Office
Built in 1893, this two-story brick building is the oldest building in downtown Laurinburg’s historic district. First known as the Central Hotel and later Hotel Dixie, its proximity to the railroad greeted passenger train visitors arriving from Wilmington or points further inland. It served the African American community as a hotel and boarding house through the first half of the 20th century and from 1959 until 1996 was the location of popular local restaurants.
Laurinburg was incorporated in 1877, but settlers first set down roots here in 1785. Currently, it is the county seat of Scotland County, and a three-time All America City located in the Sandhills region. Laurinburg offers the charm and quiet living of a small southern town with close proximity to larger cities (only 40 miles from Fayetteville and Fort Bragg), the mountains and the coast. Developing from its rich agricultural heritage, Laurinburg is still an agricultural community and it is also the progressive business and cultural center of Scotland County. Laurinburg is also home to St. Andrews University and the Laurinburg Institute. It is about 30 miles from some of the country’s best golfing in Pinehurst and Southern Pines and in less than 2 hours, you can be in Wilmington, the Uwharrie National Forest or Charlotte!
Architectural & Historical Information
What the Old Central Hotel lacks in ornamentation it makes up for in sturdy masonry construction and a commanding view of the busy seat of Scotland County. The two-tiered wood porch shades the welcoming entry into a large open space that until recent years catered to diners (and even a pool hall or two). Large windows on the front first story let in plenty of light, while windows along the sides and second floor are six over six wood sash. The tall parapet roof rises higher in the front elevation than the sides where it gradually steps back lower into the roof line. Recessed panels between two bands of brick corbelling along the cornice line provide exterior ornament. Window openings are topped by well-executed flat arches. The entire building rests on a stuccoed masonry foundation.
The interior includes a generous space on the first floor for dining/gathering with smaller areas toward the back for kitchen/service activities and two guestrooms. Walls are primarily plaster with a few beadboard partition walls. The main dining hall has been covered with wood paneling during a later remodeling. In the back of the building beyond the wood stairway hall are two former guestrooms, entered through paneled doors with transoms above, the larger room with a fireplace and mantel. A wood staircase with simple yet sturdy newel posts and balustrade leads to the second floor with several guestrooms and a couple of bathrooms. The second floor rooms are arranged on either side of a central hall leading from two rooms in the back toward the front of the building with a door leading to the porch. Most rooms have transoms above wood-paneled doors.
The Central Hotel will require a complete rehabilitation including all new mechanical systems, repointing, paint, and cosmetic upgrades. A later side addition will probably need to be completely re-done. The Central Hotel is a contributing structure in the National Register Historic District and is positioned for a variety of creative uses including restaurant, inn, retail or office.