Cheryl L. Simon

JIM HOTEL. The Jim Hotel was a jazz and blues venue in Fort Worth. Black millionaire William Madison "Gooseneck Bill" McDonald built the three-story, fifty-room hotel at 413 East Fifth Street in the late 1920s. He named the hotel after his second wife, Jimmie Strickland, and the Jim gained a reputation as the finest "Negro" inn in Fort Worth by the end of the 1930s. In 1934 Levi and Oscar Cooper purchased the hotel and built the environment that attracted jazz and blues enthusiasts. The Coopers hired "T-Bone" Walker to lead the house band that played in the hotel lobby, known by guests as the College Inn.

Although the hotel's check-in clientele remained strictly black, white music lovers headed for the Jim after midnight to listen to "real jazz" in the College Inn. They often stayed for early-morning jam sessions with such musicians as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald, Lowell Fulson, Errol Garner, Woody Herman, Al Hibbler, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Billie Holiday, the original Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, B. B. King, Andy Kirk, George E. Lee, Pigmeat Markham, Bennie Moten, Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, the Andrews Sisters, King Oliver, Buddy Rich, Art Tatum, Sara Vaughan, Joe Venuti, Fats Waller, Chick Webb, Paul Whiteman, Mary Lou Willliams, Lester Young, and Trummy Young.

The Jim Hotel changed hands in the late 1940s, and a series of owners cared for the structure and its twenty-five-room annex, which included a dining room, a beauty salon, and a taxicab stand. During the early 1950s the place was renamed the "New Jim Hotel." It began to deteriorate and saw a declining quality of clientele over the next decade. In 1964 the structure was razed to make room for a freeway. A ramp, driveway, and parking lot now occupy the site where black–white crossover music found a foothold in segregated Fort Worth.

In 2001 the Fort Worth Historic Exhibit Committee approved the construction of a tribute to east downtown Fort Worth's black-owned business district. A bas-relief by Denton sculptor Paula Blincoe Collins, depicting such community icons as Goose-neck Bill McDonald and the Jim Hotel, was commissioned to stand at a covered walkway connecting the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center's main building to the platform at the west end of the Fort Worth–Dallas rail. Her five sculpted panels were installed in 2002.


Fort Worth Star–Telegram, June 30, 1991; February 13, 1994; April 20, 1997; June 2, 1999; April 2, 2001.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Cheryl L. Simon, "JIM HOTEL," accessed February 21, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xdj01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 3, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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