Preacher, G. Lloyd (1882-1972)
G. Lloyd Preacher (May 11, 1882-June 17, 1972), a prolific New South architect, was a native of South Carolina who spent most of his career in Georgia, with much of his work in Atlanta. He was one of several regional and national architects who gained commissions in North Carolina towns and cities in the early 20th century. His known surviving works in this state are in Raleigh and Wilmington—an office building and a hotel of the 1920s representative of the popular forms and styles of their era.
Son of John Francis and Elizabeth Preacher, he graduated from Clemson in 1904 and began work as a draftsman in that year, continuing until 1909. In 1905 he wed Fannie McDaniel of a notable Georgia family. After winning a design competition in 1911, he entered upon a strong architectural career in Augusta. He gained key commissions there and in Atlanta. His projects included prominent buildings of many types including hospitals, hotels, apartment houses, schools, theaters, and civic buildings. Typical of his era, Preacher worked in diverse styles including Mediterranean, Art Deco, Gothic Revival, and many variations on neoclassical themes. He is especially well known for the Atlanta City Hall, a skyscraper (1930) in a blend of Art Deco and Gothic Revival styles.
With his reputation well established, in 1922, Preacher gained the commission to design the first of Raleigh’s tall buildings erected in the 1920s, the 10-story, brick Odd Fellows Building (Commerce Building) of 1923-1924. Shortly after Preacher’s design was selected, an article in the Salisbury Evening Post of July 26, 1922 stated that the building would have “a classical exterior most aesthetic in design and will be one of the most modern office buildings ever erected.” The upper section of the exterior would feature “details from an ancient temple.” It was planned to have shops on the first floor, offices in the stories above, and the Odd Fellows hall in the upper two stories.
In Wilmington, Preacher was the architect for the prestigious downtown Cape Fear Hotel of 1923, a 9-story edifice that became a popular community and convention meeting place as well as catering to many railroad travelers to the city. An earlier attempt to build a modern hotel in Wilmington from a design by architect Kenneth M. Murchiso, Jr. had fizzled out. The notion was revived in 1922, and in 1923 the Cape Fear Hotel Corporation accepted Preacher’s plans for a modern, fireproof hotel of reinforced concrete construction, to cost $850,000. The hotel officially opened on January 10, 1925 and is now the only surviving example of the city’s downtown hotels of the early 20th century.
- Robert M. Craig, “G. Lloyd Preacher (1882-1972)” (2008), New Georgia Encyclopedia, http://www.newgeorgiaencyclopedia.org.
- Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).
- Dates:1923Location:Wilmington, New Hanover CountyStreet Address:Chestnut St. and N. 2nd St., Wilmington, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialImages Puslished In:Tony P. Wrenn, Wilmington, North Carolina: An Architectural and Historical Portrait (1984).Note:As described by Tony P. Wrenn in Wilmington, there were logistical and financial problems with the contractor, Walter Clark, who disappeared and declared bankruptcy. A brief account of the "muddle in Wilmington" appeared in the Greenville, S. C. Greenville News of December 14, 1924. The 9-story hotel originally contained 150 rooms and featured many amenities. It was expanded along 2nd St. in 1936. In the 1980s it was renovated for housing for senior citizens.
- Variant Name(s):Commercial BuildingDates:1923-1924Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:19 W. Hargett St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:Commercial
FraternalNote:Like some other fraternal groups, the Raleigh Odd Fellows built their headquarters to contain both lodge facilities and rental space to generate income for their benefactions including their orphanages. It is one of a group of fine early 20th-century skyscrapers built in downtown Raleigh.