Historic Orlando hotel was mecca for African American celebrities of the ‘60s, ‘70s

Built during the Civil Rights Movement, Hotel Sadler hosted many legendary Black musicians

The Sadler Hotel, built by Henry Sadler during the civil rights movement, housed many Black celebrities, including musicians and baseball stars. (Orange County Regional History Center)

ORLANDO, Fla. – You might recall the quaint teal and white two-story hotel which sat on the intersection of Church Street and Lime Avenue.

Just blocks away from downtown Orlando, founder Henry Sadler built the inn during the civil rights movement in 1961, to serve Orlando’s African American community.

[TRENDING: 2 killed in SR-408 crash near Semoran Boulevard in Orlando | Accused stalker arrested after 2 girls run for help, Volusia deputies say | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Sadler, who worked as a bellhop at the San Juan Hotel, had the support of Parramore community leaders, including Rev. Nelson Pinder, who led the fight to integrate Orlando’s businesses.

While segregation remained in place at many Orlando establishments, Hotel Sadler became a mecca for famous African Americans celebrities from the 1960s and 1970′s.

Sadler’s hotel showcased legendary performers, such as James Brown, Fats Domino, Sam & Dave, and Dee Clark, according to the Orange County Regional History Center.

The hotel, located at 619 Church Street, featured a coffee shop, T.V. lounge and large swimming pool.

Sadler managed the place while still working as a bellhop at a nearby hotel.

In 1964, Sadler Hotel made sports headlines after the Minnesota Twins baseball club called an end to player housing segregation and Sadler allowed the African American Twins’ players to stay there while they trained in Orlando at Tinker Field.

In the summer of 1980, the Parramore neighborhood experienced a wave of civil unrest.

In 1983, the hotel suffered serious damage after a fire, according to Orange County historian Melissa Procko. It was not determined if it was arson but a firefighter said it was “humanly caused.”

Shortly after the fire, the hotel was demolished in 1989.

Today, the former historic hotel’s site remains an empty field next to Exploria Stadium. All that remains are a few undated vintage postcards Orange County historians were able to locate.

About the Author: