WASHINGTON – Today, in recognition of the upcoming centennial of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Trump Administration announced the designation of the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, as a National Historic Landmark. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote, and the Hermitage Hotel was a critical centerpiece for the women’s suffrage movement as the hotel was used as a headquarters by suffragists to secure Tennessee’s ratification.
“The Hermitage Hotel played a pivotal role in our Nation’s fight to secure the right of women to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. “I thank Senator Blackburn and Senator Alexander for their leadership in emphasizing the importance the Hermitage Hotel has as a National Historic Landmark.”
“During this milestone year, visitors can explore the story of the suffrage movement through national parks, national historical landmarks, and other places where history happened,” said National Park Service South Atlantic-Gulf Regional Director Stan Austin. “The Hermitage Hotel’s role in the history of ratification of the 19th Amendment was so significant it earned the name the ‘Third House’ of the Tennessee State Legislature, referring to the extraordinary presence and influence of the major stakeholders and dealmakers who convened there.”
“The Hermitage Hotel is humbled to receive the prestigious National Historic Landmark designation,” said Hermitage Hotel Managing Director Dee Patel. “As we fulfill our century-old purpose of unparalleled hospitality, our goal is to look to the future as we honor the past. Following in the footsteps of the trailblazing women who fought for the ratification of the 19th amendment, we are determined to steward and preserve this outstanding piece of history for the city, the state and the nation for generations to come.”
“The Trump Administration’s decision to designate this National Historic Landmark cements the hotel’s legacy as one of the most prominent sites in the suffrage movement,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (TN). “In the summer of 1920, the Hermitage Hotel was movement headquarters as suffragists persuaded legislators to make Tennessee the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, securing the right of women to vote nationwide. I hope this designation will increase public awareness and appreciation for the history of the women’s suffrage movement.”
“We’d be hard-pressed to identify a more critical landmark in the fight for suffrage than the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville,” said U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN). “Suffragists and anti-suffragists alike called the hotel their headquarters when activists, journalists, and politicians descended on Nashville for the special session of the General Assembly in August of 1920. In the hundredth year of women’s suffrage, it is my great pleasure to join Secretary Bernhardt and Senator Alexander in celebrating the history of the Hermitage Hotel with its designation as a Historic Landmark.”
In the summer of 1920, the nationwide effort to secure voting rights for women narrowed to Tennessee as the last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. Local, state and national figures in suffrage, politics, industry and media converged on the Hermitage Hotel that served as the headquarters of both the pro- and anti-suffrage forces as they lobbied state legislators. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, stayed at the Hermitage Hotel for nearly six weeks, guiding the strategy and tactics to win the final vote in the state legislature.
When Tennessee became the “Perfect 36th” state to ratify the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920, the achievement fulfilled more than 70 years of tireless efforts by suffragists to enfranchise American women under the U. S. Constitution.
As a national historic landmark, the Hermitage Hotel will join other buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects that have been to be nationally significant to the development of the nation. Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbor, the Apollo Mission Control Center, Alcatraz and Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthplace are among the almost 2,600 existing national historic landmarks.