Clarksdale, Mississippi (Coahoma County)
The Alcazar Hotel was once one of the premier hotels in the South. The four-story brick building was built by Charles O. Pfiel in 1915. Exterior details of the hotel include tri-partite wood windows, decorative brickwork, cast stone detailing, and a terra cotta cornice. Originally, the hotel had a spectacular glass dome skylight on the second floor which provided natural light down to the first floor lobby. The first floor featured a restaurant and commercial spaces where many of Clarksdale’s prominent businesses operated over the years.
The Alcazar once hosted such guests as playwright Tennessee Williams. The hotel is best known, perhaps, for being the location where WROX radio station broadcasted for nearly 40 years. Legends like Ike Turner, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Muddy Waters and many others performed live and were interviewed at the station by Early Wright, one of the South’s first black disc jockeys.
The hotel eventually ceased operation and gave way to offices and other commercial uses. In the early 1990s, WROX moved out and the Alcazar lost its most famous tenant. In 1994, when the Alcazar Hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, only a handful of commercial tenants remained. New owners acquired the property in 2007 and began cleaning out and securing the building with hopes of redeveloping it as residential units. Due to the lack of market demand and adequate funding, those plans have not come to fruition.
2015 Update – In Progress
With many positive developments in downtown Clarksdale, there continues to be hope for the redevelopment of the Alcazar Hotel, but to date, no concrete plans have been announced. The exterior has been primed, painted, and weatherproofed. The next steps, according to Mayor Bill Luckett, will focus on interior renovations in hopes to be used as a hotel once again.