Archeological Finds Vol. 1 – What is This?


Ed. Note: I’d love to make this a regular feature – so what’s the strangest/coolest thing you’ve found in your house? If you have a photo please send an email to princeofpetworth(at) thanks.

“These two photos are of a medallion I found in my basement in the 1300 block of Corcoran St N.W. I found it in the middle of the floor and my guess is it fell from the old fireplace from the first floor. Anyway, it seems to be an advertisement for two hotels in Atlanta, Ga that were built in the 1880s and razed in the 1920s. I’ve had it for about 10 years and have always wanted to find out more about this type of coin but was never sure where to turn. The old medicine bottle reminded me I had it.”

Any history buffs want to take a shot at finding more info about this one?


11 Comment

  • I was surprised to find both hotels on Wikipedia:
    The latter article says: “A 1902 guidebook describes the Majestic as one of th[r?]ee chief first-class hotels in the city, together with the Kimball House and the Hotel Aragon.”

  • Not positive, but I believe it’s a hotel drink token. Pub/bar tokens in the 19th and early 20th century would have a value stamped on them, but hotel tokens do not always have denominations listed on them.

    • I think that hotel drink tokens typically still had something along the lines of “Good for One Drink” on them, though. My suspicion is that this is a commemorative medallion, not a hotel fiat currency, although drink token isn’t out of the question.

  • I like the reminder that, back in the day, being the manager of a hotel made you Somebody.

    (What’s the fanciest hotel here in town? The Four Seasons? Does the manager get anything like this level of recognition? I don’t know, maybe she or he does, amongst people who stay there…)

    • From one of the linked newspaper articles on the wiki page, Jesse N. Couch, whose name is on this medallion, was Most Popular Young Man.

    • Kay Enokido, the head of the Hay Adams until a few years ago, is a pretty well known lady in DC generally. And I don’t think it’s for any other reason than that she ran the Hay Adams.

  • Great idea for a new thread!

  • I know from a great article (with a photograph) in November 27 1904 article that J Lee Barnes was the proprietor. He also was involved in the Majestic. It fronted on Peachtree opposite of the Capital City Club and was a few doors down from the Leyden house and near the governors mansion (seems it was at Peachtree and Ellis). It has a cafe that seems to have been much improved under Barnes – at least according to the author of the article. Lilly’s Orchestra play nights from 6-7 in the cafe then went to the upstairs banquest/dining room to play from 7-11. However, by 1909 they were taking sealed bids for 5 year leases and had been run for 10 years by Barnes and Couch. There was a five alarm fire there in 1913. There were dances there somewhat regularly including after the fire in 1915. It looks like it was dismantled beginning in 1929.

    As for the Majestic was also on Peachtree I saw an April 1920 with a great photo that indicated that Barnes was running that. They were looking to buy him out and convert the building and another one later the indicated that the Building Leased by Disability Claims Department were going to lease 6 floors. A 1908 article connects these two men to both hotel that year – they had just taken on the Majestic but had been involved in the Aragon for a while. Both the articles indicate it was the first all-steel, fireproof building in Atlanta.

  • I’m the OP and wanted to say thanks for everyone’s input today. I always thought the medallion was cool but the way I found it just laying in the middle of the floor one day is really the story for me. It almost makes me want to start digging around where it fell from.
    I too am looking forward to others’ finds.

  • I love the idea of archeological finds as being a regular feature. Bet there’s lots of interesting things left over in many of our neighborhoods’ old homes and yards.

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