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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Columbus in Lowndes County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue

 
 
Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 4, 2019
1. Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue Marker (front)
Inscription.  Front
For several decades beginning in the early 1900s, the Queen City Hotel, which stood across the street from this site, was at the center of a vibrant African American community along 7th Avenue North. Clubs and cafes in the area featured blues, jazz, and rhythm & blues, and the hotel housed visiting musical celebrities, including B. B. King, Duke Ellington, and James Brown, as well as professional African American athletes. The hotel was founded by a former slave, Robert Walker.

Reverse
Seventh Avenue North During the segregation era this area housed many businesses catering specifically to African Americans, including the Queen City Hotel. Hotel founder Robert Walker (c. 1848-1931) had worked previously as a cook and as a “drayman” and “hackman” (horse-and-wagon or -buggy operator), according to census records. The first Columbus City Directory (1912) lists Walker running a boarding house at 1504 7th Avenue North, and by the 1920s the structure was listed as the Queen City Hotel.

In the late ’40s Ed Bush (1908-1982) bought the property from Walker’s estate, tore down

Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 4, 2019
2. Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue Marker (reverse)
This side has weathered and been torn. It has been reported to the MS Blues Foundation.
the original wooden building, and built a two-story brick hotel. As a young man Bush had worked as a bellboy at the downtown Gilmer Hotel, and with the financial assistance of Gilmer owner J. W. Slaughter he opened businesses including a café, pool hall, dry goods store, barbershop and dry cleaners on Catfish Alley (South 4th Street). The New Queen City Hotel officially opened in 1948.

The Queen City Hotel anchored the Seventh Avenue North district, known locally as “down on the block,” which stretched from 13th to 20th streets and fanned out several blocks in each direction. Locals have recalled nationally prominent musicians including Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Richard, Little Willie John, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and Pearl Bailey performing at the Blue Room, operated by Billups Evans at 906 14th Street, and the Savoy, owned by Jim Sykes, at the intersection of Seventh Avenue North and 19th Street. Ed Bush was a member of the leading local jazz and blues band, the Rhythm Kings, which played at venues including the Queen City’s ballroom and also toured regionally to Starkville, Aberdeen, West Point and Okolona. Other local gathering places for dancing or listening to music included the Elks Club, the Deluxe Café, Richardson Café, the Cozy Corner, the Tic Toc 1 and Tic Toc 2, and the Red Rooster, and, in

Close-up of photos on reverse side. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 4, 2019
3. Close-up of photos on reverse side.
later years, the Flamingo Lounge, Ladies Inn, the Cotton Club, and the Crystal Room.

Seventh Avenue North was one of many African American business districts across the nation that ironically declined after the end of official segregation. In 1996 the Weatherspoon family bought the vacant Queen City Hotel, but despite a campaign to preserve the building, it was demolished in 2007. An informal festival celebrating the neighborhood’s cultural legacy began in early 1980s, and by 2010 the Seventh Avenue Heritage Festival was drawing over 10,000 visitors.
 
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 115.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 33° 30.182′ N, 88° 25.023′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Mississippi, in Lowndes County. Marker is at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 15th Street North, on the left when traveling east on 7th Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7th Avenue, Columbus MS 39701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Military Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); Baldwin Locomotive No. 601 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joshua Lawrence Meador (approx. 0.4 miles away); James T. Harrison Home (approx.

View from marker looking across street now empty lot of demolished hotel. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 4, 2019
4. View from marker looking across street now empty lot of demolished hotel.
Another marker, titled "Queen City Hotel" was placed across the street in the empty lot. It has now gone missing. The hotel was demolished in 2003.
half a mile away); Walter "Red" Barber (approx. half a mile away); Mississippi State College for Women (approx. 0.6 miles away); S.D. Lee Home (approx. 0.6 miles away); First Baptist Church of Columbus (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
 
More about this marker. The condition of the reverse side of the marker has been reported to the Blues Foundation.
 
Also see . . .  Queen City Hotel: Center of African American life in Columbus, Mississippi (photo). (Submitted on October 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
View from marker to intersection of 7th Ave and 15th Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 4, 2019
5. View from marker to intersection of 7th Ave and 15th Street.
 

More. Search the internet for Queen City Hotel and 7th Avenue.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 7, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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