Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tommie Lou's Orange Hotel

The Hotel Inverness might not have been the success the Walter-Geittman Corp. and its investors had hoped for.  By the end of 1927, just a year and a half after opening, big changes were once again underway.

Somehow, either through good business, good fortune or a little of both, William and Tommie Lou Maloy became the owners of the hotel again.  And by January of 1928, society pages of the Chronicle were referring to the hotel once again as the Orange Hotel.  A 1929 Chronicle article about the state of the hotel business in Citrus County interviewed William Maloy - "owner of the Orange Hotel".  With William and Tommie Lou Maloy back running the "Orange Hotel" again, the Walter-Geittman corporation and the "Hotel Inverness" seemed all but forgotten.

A late 1920s view of the Orange Hotel after the original owners, Mr. & Mrs. Maloy, took charge again.

The Maloys would operate their newly remodeled hotel together just as they had when it was on Main Street for a couple more years until William's passing on January 2, 1931.  After his death, Tommie Lou took charge of the business.

A late 1920s / early 1930s postcard.

But Tommie Lou wasn’t a single widow for long.   In 1932 she married Mr. Archie Scott in Hernando County.  Although their courtship might have been considered brief, Tommy Lou and Archie were no strangers to each other.  Mr. Scott, also a railroad engineer from Franklin County, Vermont, was a longtime friend of her late husband William Maloy.

Tommie Lou Scott a.k.a. "Aunt Tom"

Under the ownership of Archie Scott and his wife Tommie Lou, the Orange Hotel boasted 40 rooms offered at reasonable rates as well as home cooking.

Circa 1939

Around 1935, Archie and Tommie Lou added the portico to the front of the building, giving the hotel a more pronounced entrance.

From Main Street, looking North on Seminole Ave. - 1947

The South side of the Orange Hotel - looking North from Main Street.

Patrons pose for a photo outside La Mode Beauty Shop - a long time retail tenant of the Orange Hotel.

On June 6, 1942, at the age of 67, Tommie Lou became a widow for the last time when Archie Scott passed away at the age of 71.  She never remarried.

The Orange Hotel - February 28, 1951

Tommie Lou continued to run her hotel on her own for 17 more years until August 13, 1959 when, at the age of 84, she finally decided to sell the hotel.   
By most accounts, Tommie Lou owned and operated the hotel for over fifty years.  In later years, she and her sister Jane both lived in duplicate houses right behind the hotel.  She survived three husbands.   And while she had an extended family of nephews and nieces (one named Tommie Lou after her), she never had children of her own.
Tommie Lou spent the majority of her life taking care of others, providing home cooked meals and warm beds to strangers and friends alike.  She understood a person’s need for comfort and hospitality.  On September 14, 1960, just one year after serving her last guest, Tommie Lou passed away.  She was 85 years old.

To learn more about Tommie Lou and the Orange Hotel, watch the first episode of "Hotel Stories".

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