"She would always come in and stay at the Holley," he said. "At the time it was a nice hotel.
"She was in a financial position to stay anywhere in Charleston, but she always stayed in the Holley."
Bellhops would haul luggage to the rooms, and patrons could have a nice lunch or dinner in the cafeteria in the basement, he said.
"I remember the doorknobs on the rooms had H's on them," Jarrett said.
Charleston Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis, 69, remembers going to the Holley for lunch after church on Sundays.
"I remember how nice the floors were," she said. "They were either marble or marble tile.
"I remember how pretty everything was."
Davis wishes certain parts of the hotel had been saved before it fell into disrepair. She mentioned the iron handrail for the inner staircase.
"I have fond memories of the hotel," she said. "They were childhood memories."
L. Newton Thomas, 83, called the hotel a city icon.
"It was quite the hub of activity in downtown," he said.
Thomas said the hotel was not elegant but a comfortable, casual place to stay.
"I remember they had a lot of stuffed furniture and a couch in the lobby," he said.
On the decline
The Holley fell into decline in the 1970s and 1980s, Jones said. One reason was the state ceased paying for rooms for miners being tested for black lung.
"The miners would come down on a Sunday and stay until like a Wednesday," he said. "I'd say that put about $80,000 to $100,000 in the hotel a year.
"When that got taken away, the hotel started to lose money."
White thinks the rising cost of utilities could have been a contributing factor.
Davis said, "Hotels, like everything else, have good years and then they start to decline."
Veltri was blunt about the property in a 1993 article in the Charleston Gazette. That was the year it was demolished.
"At the end it was just a fleabag. Just a run-down hotel at the end, to be truthful with you," he said then.
Veltri said a colony of rats took up residence in the hotel as it was prepared for demolition.
The purchase of the hotel by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority sparked a lengthy legal battle over price and other issues.
The agency purchased the hotel and demolished it shortly thereafter. At the time, city officials saw it as an eyesore and an obstacle to downtown development.
City leaders also saw higher potential in the plot of land on Quarrier Street.
"It's a very important piece of property," then Charleston Mayor Chuck Gardner said in an interview.
About 130 Holley residents were relocated to public housing projects, the Daily Mail reported at the time.
Seventy-three pounds of explosive reduced the hotel to a pile of rubble. About 1,000 spectators turned out to watch.
A. James Manchin, the fabled uncle of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin who served as a state legislator, secretary of state and state treasurer, was among the crowd.
"If that building could only speak, how many stories it would tell," he said after the building was demolished.
Judy Snyder, the front desk manager, said it was an emotional experience.
"When they tore it down, we all stood right there with Frankie and he cried," she said. "It was a sad day that day."