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Where was the exact location of the historic Dennis hotel in present-day Dadeville, Alabama?

Scroll below to see video of the Old Dennis Hotel.


On June 30, 1837, Dadeville, Alabama was incorporated with an intendant and five counselors, and with the corporate limits including the parcel of land described below.

Dadeville is the county seat of Tallapoosa County, in the east-central part of the county, in the SW of sec. 4, T. 21, R. 23, E., 10 miles east of the Tallapoosa River, on the north fork of Sandy River, 30 miles northwest of Opelika, 20 miles southwest of Lafayette, 60 miles northwest of Columbus, Ga., 95 miles southeast of Birmingham.

The historic district encompasses most of the original town streets, which were laid out in 1836 in a grid pattern bounded by Okefuske Street, East Street, South Street, and West Street. Broadnax and Tallassee Streets are the main north-south thoroughfares through the center of town, and Lafayette Street is the man east-west road in the district. Residential areas to the west along W. Lafayette Street and to the southwest along S. Tallassee Street are included in the district as well.1

The historic district encompasses most of the original town streets, which were laid out in 1836 in a grid pattern bounded by Okefuske Street, East Street, South Street, and West Street. Broadnax and Tallassee Streets are the main north-south thoroughfares through the center of town, and Lafayette Street is the man east-west road in the district. Residential areas to the west along W. Lafayette Street and to the southwest along S. Tallassee Street are included in the district as well.

Two State Banks and many churches

In 1916, the Tallapoosa County Bank (State), and the Sturdivant Bank (State) were located there. The “Spot Cash,” a Democratic weekly newspaper, was established in 1898. The Methodist Episcopal, South, Missionary Baptist, Primitive Baptist, and Presbyterian denominations have churches in the town.

Dadeville was settled before the lands had been purchased by the Government. When the legislature established Talladega County in 1836, certain citizens donated to the county all the necessary land, on condition that Dadeville should be made the county seat. The condition was accepted, and Dadeville has been the seat of justice since the erection of the county.

Early citizens

The town was laid out and the courthouse located by John Broadnax. Among the early settlers were the Vaughan, Gresham, Lowry, Davenport, Berry, Dennis, King, Reeves, Cosby, Bostlck, Hatcher, Corprew, Clark, Leftwitch, Holley, Johnson, Oliver, Lane, Lisle, Goolsby, and Sturdivant families. Other prominent citizens were Capt. Joseph H. Johnston, first county court clerk; William H. Barnes; M. J. Bulger, who commanded the Forty-seventh Alabama Regiment at the Battle of Bull Run and at Gettysburg; Bird Young, the original “Simon Suggs;” Johnson Hooper, the author of “Simon Suggs and How He Turned Jack;” David Culberson; and Charles A. Culberson, his son, governor of Texas and later United States Senator.

Dennis Hotel

One of the notable landmarks in Dadeville, the old Dennis Hotel, was built in 1836. Located on North Broadnax & East Green Streets, Dadeville, it was in this hotel that Johnson Jones Hooper, while traveling around as solicitor of the circuit, wrote his notes and memoranda for his famous literary Achievement “The Adventures of Simon Suggs, a portrayal of a character which mirrors much of life in an ante-bellum atmosphere.”1

“The property on which the hotel was built was deeded by the government to the Tallapoosa County Court House Commission in 1840. On February 23, 1842, the Court House Commission deeded the property to Sumeral Dennis, with ‘appurtenances thereon.’”2

“The United States Hotel (and Post Office), a spreading frame building two stories in height, extended out over the sloping rear lot. It had a decided “inn” aspect, resembling architecturally the old river inn in Eufaula. The sills and joists were hand-hacked. For years its dark brown paint with cream trim distinguished the hotel building. There were triple entrances, with windows at intervals across the front. An upper balcony which extended across the front served as shelter for the front porch. The hotel contained sixteen rooms, which were heated by log fires. Meals were served in a large dining room. Steps connected the lobby with the corridors on the second floor.3

Although the Dennis family owned the hotel for many years, its name was not changed from the United States Hotel to the Dennis Hotel until the 1890s. It was changed by Major Jere C. Dennis, the grandson of Sumeral Dennis.4

“In 1900 the hotel was converted into a rooming house, occupied by several families. The interior stairway was closed, and steps to the second floor were constructed at one end of the front porch. Until 1956 the Dennis Hotel building was the oldest structure in Dadeville. The Dennis family finally removed the building to make way for a modern filling station.”5

NOTE: Another note from Library of Congress dated 1937 states the following:

Two story frame; metal roof; two-story porch; first floor level with the ground – United States Hotel and Post Office, Dennis Hotel an

Old US- Post Office & Hotel
Now Pete Valentine’s Apartments
Dadeville, Alabama

Horeshoe Bend

Within 12 miles of Dadeville is the Horseshoe Bend in the Tallapoosa River, where Gen. Jackson fought the decisive battle of the Creek War. The old highway from Guntersville to Fort Mitchell used by Jackson’s army in reaching the Horseshoe Bend, passes through the town. Dadeville was named for Maj. Francis Langhorne Dade, who was killed by the Indians in 1835.

The first medical of Alabama, the Graefenberg Medical Institute, which operated from 1852 until the outbreak of the Civil War, is located in Dadeville.

SOURCES

  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen, published in 1921 by the S.J. Clarke Publishing Company
  2. Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960 

1Dadeville Historic District Tallapoosa County, Alabama National Register of Historic Places Nomination February 2013

1Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960

2Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960

3Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960

4Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960

5Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts, by James Frederick Sulzby, University of Alabama Press, 1960

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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5 comments

    1. Harold Banks

      To show how old I am, I remember when the old Dennis Hotel was torn down. Rumor had it that a demolition worker found a cache of gold coins hidden in the wall. A lot of interesting history happened there when Dadeville was considered the wild west.

  1. Mark Akerman

    I have a lot of early people from this area. Any good source material anyone might suggest. Perryman and Powell families.

  2. Mary Whitlow

    My home town! There used to be some people named Powell in New Site. Son’s name was Coy Powell. Don’t know if Coy still lives there. Dadeville has a museum with a lot of information on people and places. Danny Haynes has a FB page for the museum.

  3. Becky Carlton Clifton

    My mom has a book about the DENNIS family because my paternal grandmother was a Dennis. I’m sure you guys are already familiar with it. I think it was written in the 1980’s.

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