WAYCROSS – Bill Gross is fascinated by history.
So as a general contractor working on the renovation of the Ware County Hotel, Gross views his latest project as a labor of love.
“I look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Gross, whose Kingsland-based company, W.H. Gross Construction, is overseeing the reconstruction of the historic seven-story building in downtown Waycross. “I’m a history buff. That’s my passion. So to have the chance to uncover the intent of the original architect and to restore the architecture of that day is really exciting to me.”
The original hotel was finished in time for a gala opening in February 1929. It first served as a popular destination for locomotive engineers and travelers who spent the night in Waycross before boarding a train to their next destination when the railroad was a major form of transportation and the South Georgia city was settling into its role as a hub for train traffic.
Once the hotel is finished, it will include a display of the hotel’s history. Among the collection is a black and white photo of the Duke of Windsor and his wife, a commoner for whom he abdicated the British throne. They are shown in rocking chairs in front of the hotel during World War II.
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