College View Court-Hotel

An African American-owned hotel during the period of segregation and Jim Crow laws, the College View Court-Hotel provided respite for black travelers on the road.

The College View Court-Hotel offered guests modern comfort with its thirty-five air-conditioned rooms and tiled bathrooms. Owned by Dr. J. W. Yancy II, president of Paul Quinn College from 1939 to 1942, the hotel operated throughout the 1950s and continued well into the late 1970s during a time of dramatic expansion in highway travel. Automobile ownership boomed in the post-World War II period. Advances in technology made cars increasingly reliable for long distance travel as well as more affordable to larger portions of society, including the emerging black middle class.

African Americans saw the mobility and freedom that highway travel offered as especially attractive. Despite the opportunities opened up by new technology and expanded infrastructure, travel still required extensive planning since many businesses refused to serve non-white citizens. The emergence of motels such as the College View Court-Hotel in the mid-twentieth century provided some relief. The College View offered convenient and affordable lodging to African Americans on the road. The amenities at motor lodges such as this one—such as the way rooms opened into the parking lot, or the offering of separate cabins for each family—made travel more accessible.

The Negro Motorist Green Book served as a vital guidebook for African American travelers. The College View Court-Hotel first appeared in the Green Book publication in 1951 and continued to appear in the updated edition throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It was The Green Book’s mission to “give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable,” in spite of harsh Jim Crow laws. It was an essential tool for the black traveler facing strict segregation.

The College View Court-Hotel stood as a symbol of the black middle class in Waco, serving African Americans who embraced travel throughout the country in spite of its difficulties. Yancy owned the hotel until it eventually closed and was razed in the 1970s. It is likely that decreased business following integration contributed to the motel’s closure. Today, visitors can still see the center steps and concrete landscape walls of the hotel at the business’s former address, 1129 Elm Avenue in Waco.       

Images

Souvenir Postcard

Souvenir Postcard

This postcard from the 1950s is one of the only images left of the College View Court-Hotel, showing the hotel after the 1956 expansion. The motel most likely received its name because of its proximity to Paul Quinn College.  | Creator: Image courtesy of Jordan Smith View File Details Page

The Expansion

The Expansion

The College View Court-Hotel began at 1129 Elm Street in Waco, but eventually expanded to take up 1123 through 1127 Elm Street, as well. This notice from the Waco News-Tribune announced a building permit for the addition to the 1129 Elm property. The city issued the permit in December of 1956, and the addition was completed the following year. | Source: Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University View File Details Page

Dr. J. W. Yancy II

Dr. J. W. Yancy II

Dr. J. W. Yancy II owned the College View Court-Hotel. He served as president of Paul Quinn College, the oldest historically black college in Texas, from 1939 to 1942. After leaving Paul Quinn, Dr. Yancy served as principal for the Olive Heights Junior High School and the J. Newton Jenkins Elementary School. He was heavily involved in the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church community and was part of the Negro Teachers Association of Texas and the Free and Accepted Masonic Lodges of Central Texas.  | Source: Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University View File Details Page

Traveling as an African American

Traveling as an African American

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a travel guide that started in New York and grew into an international publication detailing hotels, restaurants, and other tourist destinations that tailored to African Americans. The Green Book was the most popular of the many different black travel guides that existed under Jim Crow. These guides allowed African Americans to travel without the uncertainty of where they could stay or visit.  | Source: Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons View File Details Page

A New Route through Waco

A New Route through Waco

The construction of I-35 brought new opportunities to Waco. It’s completion in 1972 ushered in many new businesses. Initially Highway 84 ran through Elm Street creating great opportunities for motels and hotels along this route. One of these was the College View Court-Hotel. With the interstate’s completion, however, motorists generally took a new route through Waco, bypassing Elm Street. Businesses that had thrived along US-84 were now in the shadow of the interstate. This led to the decline of many local businesses, and likely contributed to the closing of the College View Court-Hotel.  | Source: Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Dalton Strouse and Amanda Sawyer, “College View Court-Hotel,” Waco History, accessed May 23, 2017, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/147.
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