GASTONIA, N.C. — 168 West Main Avenue in the heart of downtown Gastonia looks like a simple street address, but it's actually a historic location.
Over 100 years ago, this was the home of the First National Bank in Gastonia. The building had a classical revival-style exterior and became a landmark location in Gaston County's largest town. The bank was a number of banks that actually printed their own money that was legal tender anywhere in the U.S.
The bank was popular with local merchants, textile owners and many attorneys in Gastonia. In fact, offices on the top floors were leased by some of the top lawyers from across the area. Eventually, the bank moved out and more members of the legal community opened offices in the six-story building.
It eventually became known as the "Lawyers Building" due to the number of attorneys renting space. It stayed that way for decades but eventually became vacant when businesses in downtown Gastonia started closing.
The property received a special listing on the National Register of Historic Places but it actually sat empty for nearly 30 years. Then, after a multi-year transformation, 168 West Main Avenue became the Esquire Hotel.
The hotel features 35 lavish guest rooms, a very distinctive design and lots of special amenities. That includes an upscale restaurant, appropriately named Barrister's, and a coffee shop called The Notary.
Highlights of the Esquire include the original heart of pine floors, classic late 1900s mail chutes and doors with the original beaded glass. The rooftop garden is a nice feature with a 360-degree view for 90 miles, all the way to the mountains of North Carolina.
Contact Larry Sprinkle at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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