The Patterson Hotel, built by Lon Fender, opened for business on July 15, 1912 in Valdosta, GA. Lon Fender was involved in some biggest business deals in Wiregrass Georgia and in the history of Ray City, GA. He owned farmland near here in the 1920s and a turpentine still at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA.
The Patterson Hotel, Valdosta, GA was built in 1912 by Lon Fender and Eugenia Devine. At the time it was the most luxurious hotel in south Georgia.
The Patterson Hotel located at the corner of Patterson and Savannah Avenues was built on the site of another hotel, the Florence Hotel. It was torn down to make way for a parking lot.
William Lon Fender, photographed circa 1924, lived near Ray City, Berrien County, GA where he was engaged in the naval stores industry.
William Alonzo “Lon” Fender was a son of William Alfred Fender (1836-1920) and Susannah Allen (1841-1920). His father was a Civil War veteran and a farmer of the Naylor district, Lowndes County, GA, later moving to Ray City, GA. His wife, Texas Irene Hagan, was a daughter of Civil War veteran John W. Hagan and Mary Smith.
The Fenders had a knack for the hotel business. Lon Fender’s cousin, William Seaboarn Fender, was an investor in the Valdosta Hotel Company. His brother, Wilson W. Fender, operated the Fender Hotel at Ray City.
In 1911, Lon Fender partnered with Eugenia Prescott Devine (1850-1927), widow of William H. Devine (1849-1887) to build a modern brick hotel in Valdosta, GA. The Patterson Hotel Company was incorporated in 1912, with a capital stock of $25,000.
This building, the Patterson Hotel, replaced the old Florence Hotel, where Ray City residents Benjamin L. Starling and Frank M. Byrd, stayed during the 1909 Carnival Week and the flight of the Strobel Air Ship.
In 1911, The Valdosta Times reported that Lon Fender would build the Hotel Patterson.
May 6, 1911
New Hotel Is Now Assured
Work of Tearing Down the Old Florence will Begin as Soon as Possible.
(From Tuesday’s Daily)
Within the next few days the old Florence hotel will be torn down to make room for a magnificent new hotel which is to go up in its place.
If you want to buy the Florence almost at your own price, provided you will agree to move it off the ground which it now occupied without any delay. Work on the new hotel cannot commence until the old building is removed and it is decided to begin the work on the new one right away.
Mr. W. L. Fender this morning closed a trade with Mrs. Devine by which he comes into possession of the ground now occupied by the Florence Hotel, extending eighty feet on Patterson street and two hundred and eleven feet on Savannah avenue. Mr. Fender is to be leading spirit in building the new hotel, but it is understood Mrs. Devine will be interested in the new building.
Mr. Curran Ellis, the well known architect, has already prepared the plans for the new hotel and he was in the city this morning and submitted them to Mr. Fender and Mrs. Devine.
The new hotel will be five stories and will be one of the handsomest structures of its size in the state.
It will have between ninety and one hundred rooms and every room will have hot and cold water and most of the rooms will have baths attached. The building will have a handsome passenger elevator running from the lobby to the top floor.
The hotel will have handsome columns extending out over the Patterson street sidewalk with a main entrance on Patterson street but with another entrance on Savannah avenue. There will be a store room on the corner of Patterson street and Savannah avenue to be occupied by a drug store while there will be another store room on the west side of the building to be occupied as an up-to-date cafe. Between these two store rooms will be a colonnade leading to the office and lobby. The kitchen will be on the southwest corner of the building and the dining room will be on the west side as the present one in the Florence hotel.
The maid p—- —- be on the second floor and on the east side, leading to a large veranda overlooking Patterson street. The building is to be equipped in the very best of styles and it is to be a credit to a town of twenty-five thousand people. Mr. Fender and Mrs. Devine have already had flattering offers from well known hotel men for a lease of the building.
Mr. Ellis, the architect is expected to have the working plans completed within a day or two and it is understood that the contract for the work will be let just as soon as possible. Prominent contractors were here this morning figuring on the new building.
The completion of this new hotel will be the biggest work done in Valdosta during the present year. It will transform the appearance of the city and will give passengers on all of the roads a good view of the imposing structure.
Atlanta Constitution, May 12, 1912
May 12, 1912
Little Items of Georgia Cities
Valdosta, Ga., May 5. -(Special.) – William Foor, proprietor of the Aragon hotel at Jacksonville, Fla., yesterday closed a ten-year lease for the handsome new hotel built by W.L. Fender and Mrs. Devine in this city. The terms of the lease have not been made public, but a very satisfactory price was received by the owners. The new hotel will open about the 20th of June.The building will be ready for the furnishings within the next few weeks.There are few hansomer hotels in this part of the state than the new structure. The owners of the Valdes hotel have announced their intention to enlarge and refurnish the hotel as soon as the lease of Mr. Ferrell, the present manager, expires in September. The proposed improvements will make the Valdes probably the most handsome hotel in southern Georgia, and will place Valdosta in the front rank in hotel accommodations.
Atlanta Constitution, July 12, 1912. The Hotel Patterson prepared for a grand opening on July 15, 1912.
July 12, 1912
Little Items of Georgia Cities
Hotel Patterson to Open.
Valdosta, Ga. Valdosta’s new hotel, the Hotel Patterson, will be thrown open to the public on the 15th instant. The furnishings which are of the best class, are being installed rapidly and the finishing touches to the building are being pushed. Manager William Foor of Jacksonville, who has leased the property for a number of years, will devote much of his personal time to the hotel and is determined to have it open by the 15th of the month, even if some minor details are not completely finished by then. The house is one of the neatest and most comfortably appointed hotels in the state. It’s kitchen and dining room equipment is of the most modern character and so far as quality goes is not excelled. The building is of pressed brick, four stories with basement, but the owners propose to add two more stories during the latter part of the year or early next spring. Mr. Foor has already signed a contract for the lease of the additional floors.