24 August 2009

Louis J. Dinkler: From Baker to Hotel Baron

Louis Jacob Dinkler, pictured here with his wife Rose, was born 21 March 1864 in Nashville, Tennessee to Jacob Dinkler of Bavaria and wife Josephine. Louis' father immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1855.

Jacob Dinkler was a confectioner and presumably taught his son Louis the trade. Louis and his family were residing on Mulberry Street in Macon in the year 1900. Louis' occupation was listed as baker. By 1910, Louis was a proprietor in the hotel business.

An article in the 9 July 1911 Macon Weekly Telegraph tells of the opening of Louis' first Hotel Dinkler:

Reception to Be Held Monday Evening From 7 to 10 O'Clock -- Open to Receive Guests Tuesday

The new Hotel Dinkler, at Fourth and Mulberry streets, will be thrown open for the inspection of the public Monday night from 7 to 10 o'clock, and Louis Dinkler, the manager and proprietor, has extended an invitation to all of his friends to call during those hours and go through the building.

...It contains eighty rooms, forty of which are equipped with baths. Mr. and Mrs. Dinkler will reside in the hotel."

Three years later, with the hotel a success, Louis sold the property. He then retired to New York to rest. After some time passed, Louis Dinkler became head of the Atlanta based Dinkler Hotels. By 1921, Louis Dinkler was operating the "best known hotel in the South," Atlanta's Kimball House. Carling Dinkler, the son of Louis and Rose, joined the business after graduating from college. Father and son soon after became owners of the Ansley Hotel of Atlanta and the Phoenix of Waycross, GA. The following is a 1921 advertisement:

Sadly, Louis Jacob Dinkler committed suicide in the basement of his leased Piedmont Hotel in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia 30 November 1928. Louis was laid to rest in the family burial plot in the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery. Here is a 2 December 1928 obituary and funeral notice from the Atlanta Constitution:

Last Service Will Be Conducted at St. Joseph's Church in Macon.

Funeral services for Louis J. Dinkler, 67-year-old hotel magnate and beloved head of the Dinkler Hotels system who died by his own hand late Friday night, will be conducted at 3:30 o'clock this afternoon at St. Joseph's church in Macon.

Mr. Dinkler had been in ill health for a number of months and in a sudden fit of despondency over his condition shot and killed himself in the basement of the Piedmont hotel shortly after 10 o'clock Friday night.

Mr. Dinkler was one of the best known as well as one of the most successful hotel operators of the south. He was chairman of the board of directors of the system which operates ten hostelries in eight southern and middle-western cities. His son Carling Dinkler is president and general manager of the chain. He was known to hundreds of travelers from all sections of the country.

In addition to his widow and his son, Mr. Dinkler is survived by a brother, O. J. Dinkler, who is also a hotel man. Carling Dinkler was in Nashville at the time of his father's death and did not arrive in Atlanta until Saturday morning."

(L. J. Dinkler's signature on 1923 U.S. passport application.)

An interesting note: Leon Sebring Dure, who is also buried in Rose Hill Cemetery and has been written about on this blog previously, was a pallbearer at Mr. Dinkler's funeral.

For images of Dinkler hotels and information about later generations of the family, as well as their continued success in the hotel business, you might wish to visit Dinkler Hotels at SouthernEdition.com.

Sources for this post include tombstone inscriptions, newspaper articles, census records, death record, and passport application. Specifics available upon request.

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