Book Launch Party Attracts “A List” Nashvillians and TV News

Ridley Wills II probably has writer’s cramp today. A steady stream of over 100 people lined up last night to have Ridley sign their copies of “The Hermitage at 100—Nashville’s First Million Dollar Hotel

Held on the hotel’s famous veranda, the launch party for the new book on the history of The Hermitage Hotel attracted an “A List” of Nashvillians – many of whom were the grandchildren of the original investors in the hotel. It was a great party. I heard many wonderful stories about the hotel.

Our event also attracted television cameras. Both Channel 4 and Channel 5 showed up to capture the launch of Ridley’s spectacular new book. Maybe you saw it if you were watching the 10 o’clock news last night. Channel 5 did a particularly long story about the hotel, with absolutely stunning photography of the hotel. Click here to see it.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, the 258-page coffeetable-style book traces the significant role The Hermitage Hotel has played in shaping the history of the city, the state and the nation. It will be available for purchase in the hotel’s gift shop and local bookstores for $59.99. Wills will also be at two book-signing events on Saturday, Nov. 21: at Davis Kidd Bookstore in The Mall at Green Hills at 2:00 p.m. and at Borders in Brentwood at 330 Franklin Rd.

Among the things readers will learn:

  • Nashville’s first gold record has connections to The Hermitage Hotel. The song, “Near You,” was written by Francis Craig, whose orchestra played in The Hermitage Hotel’s Grille Room and Ballroom from 1925-1945.
  • Edward Hull “Boss” Crump, the notorious Memphis powerbroker who heavily influenced Tennessee politics in the early and middle decades of the 20th Century, ran his Nashville operations from The Hermitage Hotel.
  • The Hermitage was one of three sites for WSM radio’s opening night broadcast on Oct. 25, 1925.
  • American Airlines first Nashville ticket office was located in The Hermitage Hotel – and it was a replica of the airline’s Hollywood ticket office.
  • The first office of The Nashville Symphony was at The Hermitage Hotel.
  • Two of Nashville’s leading civic clubs were founded at The Hermitage: The Rotary Club in 1914 and The Exchange Club in 1920.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) was formed in connection with a convention at The Hermitage Hotel.
  • Tennessee was the final state to ratify women’s right to vote n 1920, and both sides of the issue had their headquarters at the hotel.

If you want to know about the ‘real’ history of Nashville, pick up a copy of this incredible book.

Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel

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