Built in 1965, the Governor’s House Hotel was once a premier landmark in Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery. The hotel featured 197 guest rooms, 6 meeting rooms, and a large banquet hall totaling over 19,500-square-feet of meeting and convention space. The Governor’s House had all of the luxuries of a private country club with outdoor activities including swimming, golf at a 9-hole golf course and horseback riding. The hotel even had a restaurant and lounge, The Rotunda Restaurant and Filibuster Lounge. One fascinating feature of the hotel was the custom-built outdoor swimming pool in the shape of Alabama.
During the 1960s, the Governor’s House Hotel quickly became one of the top convention centers in Montgomery. The hotel hosted all sorts of famous people and events. Former Alabama Governors George Wallace and Fob James both held their campaign election parties in the Alabama Room. Politicians were frequent guests in the Rotunda Restaurant. However, the guest list was not limited to only government officials. Many famous actresses and actors were also known to patronize the hotel. In 1990, Whoopi Goldberg was a guest at the Governor’s House while she filmed the movie The Long Walk Home.
By the 1990s, the Governor’s House Hotel was showing its age. Amenities like the horse stables and golf course were long gone. The area around the property was in a steady decline and the hotel went through a rebranding as an economy-class hotel. Visitors complained of mold in the rooms and unsanitary conditions. The Governor’s House had passed its heyday and was a mere shadow of its once glorious self. Before permanently closing, only a third of the building was in use.
According to news reports, city officials are confident the area may regenerate itself and would entertain the idea of abating some property tax to get a developer to renovate the old hotel. In April 2019, Montgomery firefighters responded to reports of a two-alarm fire at the property. There’s no power to the building, ruling out electrical issues that could lead to fires. Due to its secluded design, the site is a magnet for homeless and vandals. Several rooms appear to be occupied with makeshift doors in place. Numerous fires have been reported since the building first went up for auction in 2010.
In 2018, a sale was pending on the property, but the sale never materialized. A decade after closing, the Governor’s House Motel remains for sale. The site now belongs to the State of Alabama through a tax lien. The Department of Revenue owns the property, and anyone with $166,000 can take possession of this famous Montgomery landmark.
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