Hotel burns

There's no telling what sort of technological prowess was required to get this picture printed in The Star on the same day of the event, but however it happened, it gave readers a dramatic view of a milestone downtown event: The burning of the Alabama Hotel on Sept. 15, 1944. [It was located on the northwest corner of 12th and Noble ... where there were recently plans to build another hotel.]

Sept. 15, 1944, in The Star: An Anniston landmark for decades, the Alabama Hotel burned up this morning in a conflagration that claimed at least one life and resulted in several injuries. The hotel was also the home of the city’s Chamber of Commerce — which lost all of its records, including surveys and priceless photographs — of the Southern Railway ticket office, a jewelry store, a drug store, a taxi company, a barber shop and a beauty shop. This last business, situated on the southwest corner of the ground floor, is where the blaze is thought to have started around 6 a.m. The hotel was also the permanent residence of The Star’s society editor, Iva Cook, and in a first-person account she noted with regret that the fire consumed all the notes she would have used to create her next column.

Sept. 15, 1994, in The Star: Having been in the “looking” stage for a while, Anniston officials appear to be no closer to making a decision in their search for a new City Hall. It is known, however, that municipal offices won’t be moving into the DHR building and DHR moving into the Williamson Commerce Center. The council is also waiting on a definitive answer from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court — located in the federal building — before even considering a move. Court officials have expressed interest in buying the current City Hall and City Auditorium in the next couple of years to ease their own space problems. Another property problem for the city: Whether to buy the old Winn-Dixie building on Noble Street to create a new city auditorium and convention center.

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