Manufacturer: Syracuse China
User: Jefferson Hotel – Richmond, Va.
Date of plate: 1929
Notes: The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va. opened in 1895. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Carrere & Hastings and built by Major Lewis Ginter, a wealthy tobacconist who had been the first successful maker of pre-rolled cigarettes. Severely damaged by fire in 1901, the hotel was rebuilt and continued to operate until it was closed in 1980. The hotel underwent a complete renovation beginning in 1983 and was reopened in 1986. It continues to operate today and is both a Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property.
According to The Jefferson website: "No less than eleven Presidents. Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, both Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano), Truman and Reagan, and both Bushes have stayed at the hotel. Also among the rich and/or famous guests were: Admiral Dewey, Sarah Bernhardt, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Barrymores, Gertrude Stein, Sir Edmund Hillary, Charles Chaplin, Nelson Eddy, Robert Mitchum, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley who enjoyed a breakfast of bacon, eggs over easy, milk, no coffee, and home fries, capped off with a scoop of ice cream in cantaloupe. Sergie Rachmaninoff played in The Grand Ballroom and one of the world's most famous dancers, Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, was "discovered" as he waited tables in the dining room."
For many years, the Hotel Jefferson had live alligators in a pond/fountain in the lobby (much like the ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. – only meaner). The practice ended when the last alligator, "Old Pompey," died in 1948.
The Jefferson also used Syracuse "Old Ivory" china in the Webster pattern — both stock pieces and ones customized with the addition of the portrait of Thomas Jefferson shown on these pieces. Pieces have been seen with 1940s date codes.