Days Gone By - stories from the past

Hotel Talisi – Fire may destroy buildings but it does not destroy our memories of this great place


Inez McCollum

It was with sadness that I read an article about the Hotel Talisi in Tallassee burned in December, 2009. I had visited that landmark hotel more than once and eaten from their buffet that was laden with delicious southern dishes. Ironically, this eighty-one year old building had been built to replace the previous building which was destroyed by fire in 1915.Hotel lobby

There was a 1960’s song by Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?”. (refers to a fire in the lyrics) Even though it was a beautiful song, I have seen people devastated by fires. My husband’s parents lost their home to a fire when they were in their 80’s. At that age, they were not able to fully recuperate from the loss of their much loved home. This experience took years from their lives.



Churches torched

A few years ago, several churches in Shelby and Bibb Counties were destroyed by arsonists; but, like the Phoenix, most of them have risen from the ashes. That certainly was not as simple as it sounds. Members of those churches did a lot of praying and put a lot of hard work into rebuilding.

A rural Cleburne County church my Father and his Father before him had labored in for years, went up in blazes at the hands of an arsonist. The church was replaced by a new building. Our family had gotten over that fire only to go through the same fate when a church my husband pastored, in Shelby County, was torched. The members of the latter church rolled up their sleeves and, after multiple prayers, much hard work and expense, were able to move into a new building. They continue to grow in number and have become a light in their community.

Hopefully, something positive will again draw people to Tallassee. Hotel Talisi might be gone; but it isn’t forgotten.


talisi hotel


 Note: added by Donna R. Causey – The Talasi fire was set by an arsonist. He was caught and punished.


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About Inez McCollum

Inez McCollum grew up in Etowah County.  Married Mack McCollum, a BI-vocational minister.  Moved to Birmingham to work while he worked and went to Howard College/Samford University.  Inez and Mack had three sons, Jay, Joe and John.  They bought their first home in what is now Hoover.  Inez continues to be active in Shades Mountain Baptist Church and some of the civic organizations in Hoover.  Inez also enjoys reading, travel and spending time with friends.

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  1. As a amateur genealogist since 1958 I just recently heard about Alabama Pioneers and I would like to know more about you. My ancestors came into Alabama in 1819 and with the help of my late father and husband I have accumulated a lot of information that I would like to share with anyone interested. Cathron Day Davis.

  2. […] Little Tallassee, four miles above Wetumpka, was later on the farm owned by Howell Rose, and not far from where he built his house. This town had incidents of interest occurring about it. […]

  3. Greg Creech

    A sad day. I too had partook of the buffet there several times and belonged to a civic organization that met at the Hotel once a month. The food was always great as were the people who worked there. I really hated to hear this when it happened. Had hoped it would be rebuilt but that hope fades more every year.

  4. Jim Motley

    I live there and it is just not economical possible to reopen even though the owners have stabilized the building. Tallassee is a great place but most residents are older and very resistant to change so little investment funds its way here which is a shame since its location between Montgomery’s growing east side and Auburn’s growing west side along with the three fantastic lakes close by would be a huge draw.

  5. Christine Leonard

    So sad… My wedding rehearsal was there

  6. Johnny Penuel

    Would go over often from Auburn and pig out with a bunch of guys!!! They lost money on us!!!

  7. J David Aldrich

    Never missed a lunch when I visited

  8. Jim Robinson

    Ate lunch there a few times.

  9. The Talasi fire was set by an arsonist. He was caught and punished. – I guarantee that his punishment was not great enough.

  10. Gayle Watford

    Our wedding rehearsal dinner was there…42 years ago. Chuck Watford.

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