Last week, we discussed how Nathan and Will Loggins contributed to the success of The Hotel Perkins. After the story was published in The Enterprise, I received a very nice message from Sandy Rodgers who grew up in Stuart and now lives in Tennessee. Mr. Rodgers shared the following amusing anecdote about the Loggins brothers.
“I enjoyed reading your article in The Enterprise about the Loggins brothers and the Perkins Hotel. I just wanted to add an item to your research – you might want to send it to The Enterprise as well. The Perkins Hotel was before my time, but I recall a story told by either my parents or grandparents about the impact the brothers often had on guests at the Perkins Hotel. They were twin brothers and dressed alike as shown in the photo you published. It seems that the hotel had two doors connecting the kitchen to the dining room to avoid accidents when serving food. One door went IN to the kitchen, and the other door went OUT of the dining area into the kitchen. On occasion, one of the brothers would be returning to the kitchen just as the other was coming out of the kitchen. Not knowing they were twins, often a hotel guest who observed such were astounded – it seemed like the same person was going in and coming out at the same time! I just think that would be an interesting footnote to that story. I never saw the Perkins Hotel, but recall playing on the old concrete steps that remained for years after the hotel burned.”- William S. (Sandy) Rodgers
Ron Martin has been doing a lot of research on the delightful soirees that were held at The Hotel Perkins (and in some dispatches, the Perkins Hotel). Here are some excerpts from some of the articles… “A delightful oyster supper was given at Hotel Perkins New Years night by the young men of Stuart to the young ladies. The couples were Dr. R.S. Martin and Miss Jean Perkins, Mr. Lucian Rucker and Miss Lillian Martin, Mr. Rucker Moore and Miss Carrie Staples, Mr. Dudley Rucker and Miss Hope Noel, Mr. Brockley Smith and Miss Bess Noel, Mr. Sam Lybrook and Miss Lillian Perkins, Mr. George Smith and Miss Mildred Martin, Captain Wade Fulton and Miss Annie Clark, Mr. R.J. Conner of Richmond and Miss Annie Dobyns, and Mr. Sam Pretlow and Miss Bessie Burton.”
Here is a quote from another article Martin discovered, “A delightful affair was staged last Friday evening (June 1928) when the Parent-Teacher Association gave an appreciation banquet in honor of the Stuart High School faculty. The dining room presented a very attractive picture. Baskets of roses and ragged robin were used effectively in the decorative scheme.” (I have tried to find information on ragged robin, as I don’t think the flower was native to this area.)
On Saturday, September 15th, 1915, a farewell dance was held at The Hotel Perkins and hosted by the young men of the town to say goodbye to Stuart’s many visiting girls. (This brings up an interesting question. I suspect these young ladies attended one of the local boarding schools, such as Stuart Normal College, which was located near the old Owl Diner restaurant). The ladies attending were Miss Louise Brent, Miss Jessie Bouldin, and Miss Kathleen Bouldin, all of Roanoke; Miss Ruth Easley of Lynchburg; Miss Mary Kent of South Boston; and Miss Dorothy Moir and Miss Mildred Moir of Winston-Salem, NC. The hosts for the evening were John Shockley, Jr., Dr. Clarence Rangeley, Edward Turner, Rucker Moore, Walter Lester, Tom Clark, and Dr. Samuel Kent.
The late Reverend Robert J. Mann recalled in an Enterprise article that when the Perkins family ran the hotel, they charged local residents less for their food than other guests. Mann recalled, “They had all the fried chicken you could eat, cornbread, biscuits, sweet milk, tea, coffee…..I could go on and on. I once saw some tobacco farmers consume an entire gallon of buttermilk at one sitting!”
Next week, we will learn what happens to The Hotel Perkins in its’ final years. Thank you to Sandy Rodgers and Ron Martin for their contributions to this article.
Woody may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.