A History of the Glennwanis Hotel
The year 1920 ushered in the decade of the "Roaring 20s." It was the colorful decade of spectacular growth, rising prosperity, and far-reaching social change. But sadly, during this prosperous time, a distinguished and treasured landmark was lost to a fire.
The Hughes Hotel, later known as The Glennwanis Hotel, built around 1905 stood at the southwest corner of Barnard and Tillman Streets. The stately overnight inn was constructed from the principal building material of that day - heart of Georgia pine. Sturdy and durable as it was, the pitch-soaked lumber was easily ignited and highly combustible. After only fifteen years of service to the traveling public, the structure went up in smoke. The hotel burned circa 1920 on Christmas Eve night, a victim of fireworks. Roman Candles, a very popular type of fireworks with its beautiful and outstanding display, were legal and customarily used on holidays - especially Christmas.
Quickly, the businessmen and women of that era began planning for a new hotel. The Glennville Kiwanis Club had a membership of businessmen who put their expertise to the enterprise. A corporation was formed, and the first slate of directors read like a "Who's Who" in Glennville in the 1920s: Dr. S.O. Edwards, President; S.J. Kicklighter, Vice President; C.L. Cowart, Attorney, Secretary & Treasurer; J.M. Hughes, a doctor; C.W. Kicklighter, a banker; Roy Nelson, retailer: J.B. Seckinger, retailer; Arnie Strickland, businessman/financier; and Lint Jones, businessman/financier. Although the original contract to build the hotel was let to Simmons Company from Augusta, Georgia, the company asked to be released. Instead the bid from a Glennville contracting firm, Bacon & Rolls, awarded their bid of $31, 500.00. Upon completion, the hotel was leased to Dr. & Mrs. J.M. Hughes.
By November of 1926, without a paved street or paved sidewalk in town, a dignified, brick-masonry, two-story hotel was erected at the southwest corner of Barnard and Tillman Streets. Built to accommodate tourists who traveled through Glennville to Florida, as well as accommodating those who enjoyed the fishing of the area, the 40-room structure contained arched doorways and windows on the first floor and covered porches on the west and east ends. All guest rooms were outside rooms. Whereas most small town hotels of that day used kerosene lamps for lighting, the new hotel boasted electric lights, steam heat, and running hot and cold water in all guest rooms, "most of them with baths, and the most comfortable beds that could be bought!"
The owners challenged the community to select an appropriate name for the hotel and offered $5.00 in gold to the one who came up with the best name. Miss Roxanne Hughes of Glennville won the gold with the name of the Glennwanis Hotel, a combination of the town's name and the Kiwanis Club that was instrumental in its construction.