The Royal Hotel
2522 Wall Avenue in Ogden, Utah
This building was constructed in 1914 and is historically significant for its long association with the early 20th century development of Ogden City’s transportation and railroad district. The Royal Hotel originally provided housing for blue collar railroad workers and travelers. In the 1920s and 1930s, the hotel provided housing to many of the Basque workers from the Pyrenees Region of France and Spain who had come to work in the wool and sheep industry which was largely dependent on rail transportation until the early 1940s. During the 1940s, the Royal became one of very few accommodations available to African-Americans, because of segregation. The hotel also served as an office for the black military police during World War II.
The Royal was constructed during a time in which this area was becoming a center for commerce, entertainment, and lodging. Several other hotels were also constructed around this same time including the Healy Hotel and the New Brigham Hotel, both of which are on Wall Avenue, and the Marion Hotel, Windsor Hotel, and Helena Hotel which are on 25th Street.
The contractor for the Hotel was George A. Whitmeyer and Sons, a prominent local builder and contractor, who had built many of Ogden’s important public buildings, schools, libraries, office buildings, hotels and residences. The first story provided space for shops and offices while residential rooms were found on the second and third stories. The building was one of the most modest hotels in the district in terms of size and design.
A later addition to the rear of the original building was a jai alai (hie-lie) court. This structure is similar in size to the hotel and was constructed between 1920 and 1930 to provide the Basque residents a place to play their native game, which loosely resembles squash played by two teams of two people. The jai alai court was an important tie to the culture and heritage identity of these Basque immigrants.
The Hotel is a three-story brick building with a flat roof. The exterior façade is a uniform reddish brown, and a common variegated red/brown/tan colored brick for the sides and rear walls. The lower front façade features three bays matching the second and third story bays. The center door bay is recessed with historic entry doors made of wood and aluminum. Above the center door is transom of pattern glass. The upper façade features a concrete sill above the second and third floor window panels with a broad, simple detailed overhanging cornice made of metal.