“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Edwards Hotel

Edwards Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeff Lovorn, November 13, 2011
1. Edwards Hotel Marker
Inscription. Constructed in 1923 and renamed the King Edward Hotel in 1954, the Edwards Hotel was the site of temporary studios set up by OKeh Records in 1930 and the American Record Corporation in 1935 to record blues artists Bo Carter, Robert Wilkins, Joe McCoy, Isaiah Nettles, the Mississippi Sheiks, and others. The Mississippi Sheiks also performed at the hotel, and Houston Stackhouse recalled that he played here together with fellow bluesman Robert Nighthawk and country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers.

The Edwards Hotel, housed in a luxurious, twelve-story Beaux Arts style building, would appear at first glance to be an odd place to make blues recordings. The first hotel on the site, the Confederate House, was built in 1861, and after its destruction by General Sherman’s forces in 1863 it was rebuilt in 1867 as the three-story Edwards House. The Edwards Hotel was constructed in 1923, and soon became a favorite lodging and deal-making place for state legislators. Its role as a recording studio stemmed from the fact that prior to World War II all major recording companies were located in the North, and Southern-based artists often had to travel hundreds of miles to record. An occasional solution was setting up temporary facilities at hotels, and in Jackson the OKeh and ARC companies turned to H. C. Speir, a talent scout
Edwards Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeff Lovorn, November 13, 2011
2. Edwards Hotel Marker
who operated Speir Phonograph Company on nearby North Farish Street.

Speir had previously discovered blues artists Charley Patton and Tommy Johnson and sent them to other cities to record. Together with Polk Brockman of OKeh, Speir arranged the first sessions in Mississippi in December of 1930 at the Edwards Hotel. Blues performers at the sessions included the Mississippi Sheiks, an African American string band from the Bolton/Edwards area, who had recorded the massive hit Sitting On Top of the World for OKeh earlier in 1930. Individual members of the Sheiks' rotating cast also recorded at the hotel, including the duo of guitarists Bo Carter (Chatmon) and Walter Jacobs (Vinson), and mandolinist Charlie McCoy, a native of Raymond. Other artists included Caldwell Bracey and his wife Virginia from Bolton, who recorded both gospel and blues (as “Mississippi” Bracy [sic]), the gospel duo of “Slim” Duckett and “Pig” Norwood, and Elder Charlie Beck and Elder Curry, who both recorded sermons. The sessions were also notable for capturing white Mississippi string bands, the Newton County Hill Billies and Freeny’s Barn Dance Band (from Leake County) as well as Tennessee-based country music pioneer Uncle Dave Macon.

In 1935 Speir set up a second series of sessions at the Edwards Hotel for ARC, which operated Vocalion and several other
<i>Edwards Hotel, Jackson, Miss.</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1930
3. Edwards Hotel, Jackson, Miss.
This is the same postcard image as used on the marker.
labels. The most prominent artist was Memphis bluesman Robert Wilkins, a native of Hernando who recorded as “Tim Wilkins.” Also recorded were pianist Harry Chatmon, brother of Bo Carter, and obscure and colorfully named artists Sarah and Her Milk Bull, the Delta Twins, Kid Stormy Weather, Blind Mack, and the Mississippi Moaner, aka Isaiah Nettles, a Copiah County native whose sole single, Mississippi Moan/It’s Cold In China, is widely regarded as a classic of early Mississippi blues.

content © Mississippi Blues Commission
Erected 2011 by Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 155.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 18.026′ N, 90° 11.445′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is at the intersection of West Capitol Street and South Mill Street, on the right when traveling east on West Capitol Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 235 West Capitol Street, Jackson MS 39201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 217 W. Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Ace Records (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Edwards Hotel & Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
4. Edwards Hotel & Marker
Scott Radio Service Company (about 600 feet away); Trumpet Records (approx. ¼ mile away); The Alamo Theatre (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greyhound Bus Station (approx. 0.3 miles away); Summers Hotel & Subway Lounge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Otis Spann & Little Johnnie Jones (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . .  History of the King Edward Hotel. The Hilton's history of the hotel: ...The original hotel on the site was known as the Confederate House, built by "Major" R.O. Edwards in 1861. After being destroyed by Gen. Sherman's forces in Civil War in 1863, the 3-story hotel was rebuilt and reopened in 1867 as the Edwards House, the prominent center of Jackson society and politics for over 40 years. The hotel was replaced in 1923 by the present 12-story beige brick structure, designed in the Beaux-Arts architecture style by New Orleans architect William Nolan. This grand new hotel opened as the Edwards Hotel.... (Submitted on November 1, 2015.) 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
Edwards Hotel (Now Hilton Garden Inn) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
5. Edwards Hotel (Now Hilton Garden Inn)
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 528 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi.   3. submitted on .   4, 5. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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