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A Storied Past

History

Built in 1930, Noelle came of age at a time when downtown Nashville was experiencing a boom of new hotels, department stores and local characters aplenty. With Printer’s Alley at her back and the glow of Broadway just a block away, Noelle has long been at the center of the hustle and bustle that fuels this eclectic city.

 

Now in its second act, this famed hotel has risen once again to take on its role in Nashville’s rich narrative. Today, Noelle serves as a gathering place for some of the city’s most interesting voices and makers as it continues to contribute to the spirit that makes this place so unique.

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A city plan on Nashville

A Storied Past

The city of Nashville was originally founded in 1780 known then as Fort Nashborough, built and named for the American Revolutionary War general Francis Nash. The community would later be renamed Nashville in 1784 when two hundred acres of land were divided into single-acre lots and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Where Noelle stands today at the corner of 4th Avenue (originally Cherry Street) and Church Street (originally Spring Street) is Lot #53 of the original 1784 city plans of Nashville. The lot was later purchased by the Noel family in 1854, at which time a huge spring flowed, furnishing most of the water for residents living along the Cumberland River.

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Noelle under its original construction in 1929

A Reflective History

The original Noel Hotel was built in 1929 by John and Oscar Noel. The 12-story, 250-room luxury hotel was designed by Marr Homan Architects with Nicholson Company serving as general contractors. At the time, it was the tallest building in Nashville, and it was promoted as Nashville’s Smartest Hotel boasting state-of-the-art technologies for that time period. Noel Hotel opened on January 6, 1930 at a time when downtown Nashville was experiencing a boom with new hotels and department stores on nearly every corner.

 

During the first 40+ years of the building’s existence, it served as a hotel with guest rooms on the upper floors and public spaces on the lower floors. The luxury guest rooms played host to numerous celebrity guests throughout the years, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Jayne Mansfield. The public spaces included the hotel lobby, a coffee shop, a bakery, a ballroom, a restaurant, and several small retail shops along Church Street. The coffee shop, knows as the “Kaffee Klatsch,” was a lively establishment where businessmen gathered to share coffee and business.

 

After 42 years of successful operation, the Noel Hotel closed her doors in September of 1972 when it was purchased by Hamilton Bank. Over the next 40 years, the lower levels of the building then served as various banks while the upper floors were leased out as office space. The property was eventually purchased in 2014 by Rockbridge Capital with the goal of returning the building to its original use as a hotel, and they did just that. After countless hours of research and development, Rockbridge, in partnership with Makeready, brought the hotel back to its original intent.

 

With the rebirth of the hotel, it only felt fitting to give it a new name; one that pays homage to the original hotel, but also casts a light on its new beginning. The reimagined building is so much more than a hotel; it is a destination, home to many unique experiences for locals and travelers alike. She needed a name that embodied all of this, hence the decision to exclude the word “hotel” and simply name her “Noelle”.

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The exterior of Noelle during the day

All Things Considered

Noelle today is a reimagined 224-room luxury hotel and calls upon the property’s Art Deco roots and location on historic Printers Alley to create a new cultural epicenter in the Nashville community. The influence of Nashville’s thriving creative community comes to life here and is something that is felt and seen throughout the property. From the beans ground for lattes in Drug Store Coffee, to the clothing hanging on the racks of Keep Shop, to the custom porcelain accessories in the guestrooms, dozens of Nashville-based artists, designers and makers have been tapped to create exclusive products and experiences.

 

The 13-story building was reimagined by way of Nashville-based architects Feltus Hawkins Design, Nick Dryden of Dryden Architecture and Design (DAAD), and creative branding experts Peck & Company, led by Benji Peck. Thoughtful design details appear from floor to ceiling throughout, from the restored terrazzo floors, original brass hardware and soft pink Tennessee granite walls of Trade Room, to fresh new touches like geometric Art Deco millwork carved into the wooden guest rooms ceilings.

 

Noelle sets itself apart from other hotels on what has recently become known as “Boutique Row” by offering guests an authentic, considered experience with something new to discover around every corner.

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Man walking past artwork

Nashvillians of Note

On display throughout Noelle is a hotel-wide exhibition of portraits depicting over 100 lesser-known Nashville notables. While Nashville is home to many iconic names known around the world, at Noelle we celebrate the “Nashvillians of Note” whose contributions have made an impact in our community in large and small ways.

 

Each guestroom contains one of four letterpress prints of Nick Dryden (architect and designer of Noelle’s rebirth), Renata Soto (activist and philanthropist), Heaven Lee (Printers Alley burlesque dancer), and Ella Sheppard (matriarch of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers).

 

The Nashvillians of Note collection continues on each of the eleven guestroom corridors featuring an extensive portrait series through the works of local artists Alex Lockwood, Julia Martin, LeXander Bryant, Vadis Turner, Tim Hooper, Paul Collins, Lesley Patterson-Marx, Dan Brawner, Caroline Allison, Rob Matthews and Samuel Dunson. Each artist took the concept of local portraiture in different directions, diverse in artistic styles from pen-and-ink, photography, collage and painting, heralding the program with an explanation of their historical importance.

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A brass blue heron sculpture

Curious Bird

You may have noticed a curious bird in various locations throughout Noelle. Not to be confused with a stork, the Noelle bird is a Great Blue Heron. Native to the middle Tennessee area, Great Blue Heron’s stand four-feet tall with elongated necks, even longer beaks, and mischievous personalities. They can often be seen fishing in and around the rivers, streams and lakes of Nashville.

 

A local newspaper once featured an article urging the good folks of Nashville not to try to keep the herons as pets because they are indeed “wild animals.” We like to think they truly embody the spirit of the people of Nashville. As you spend any time here, you will realize something special that lies below the surface of this creative city – the people – they’re wild animals. They may seem tame on the outside, but deep down there is a spirit inside each and every Nashvillian that likes to get a little rowdy from time to time, is fiercely loyal, and isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with a challenge.

 

Welcome to Nashville, it’s a town full of wild animals and lovely people.

Mr id 11