Hotels & Tourist Homes

Hotel Exchange

Hotel Exchange was located at 32 N. Howard Street at least throughout the 1940s. According to the 1940 Akron Negro Directory, the hotel was managed by William Banks Young, and it appeared later in the decade in the Green Book. Although little is written about the business in the time it was in the Green Book, it had an illustrious earlier history as Hotel Thomas, which also served African Americans.

Hotel Thomas was hailed Akron’s finest place for Black visitors to sleep and eat in the 1920s. When King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band was playing a weeklong engagement at the South Main Gardens in Akron, Hotel Thomas was their first stop. Miss Fannie Thomas was the proprietress of the hotel, which featured nicely furnished rooms with either a bath or running water. In 1924, about 40 businesses and professionals welcomed Mr. Roscoe Simmons at the hotel with a “splendid dinner.” Simmons was the nephew of Booker T. Washington, and a journalist and activist in his own right. He spoke at the dinner at the hotel, and Thomas was given credit for “having such a splendid hotel and dining room.” Hotel Thomas was also a fine place to celebrate an anniversary or other special occasion.

By 1924, the hotel was listed as “Hotel Mutual” in the Akron City Directory. In 1940, the hotel at 32 N. Howard was listed as “Hotel Exchange” in the Akron Negro Directory, and “Exchange Hotel” appeared in the Green Book from 1947-1950.  

Hotel Thomas advertisement | The Negro Yearbook of Akron and Vicinity, 1922 

Green Book Details

Hotel Exchange appears as “Exchange Hotel” in the Green Book from 1947 to 1950 at 32 N. Howard St. in Akron under the category Hotels.


  • “Akron, O.” Pittsburgh Courier. March 1, 1924.
  • “Akron, O.” Pittsburgh Courier. March 15, 1924. 
  • “Hotel Thomas.” The Negro Yearbook of Akron and Vicinity. Akron: Leon Gordie, Publisher, 1922. 
  • Hotel Listings. Akron City Directory, 1924.  
  • Hotels. Akron Negro Directory, 1940.
32 N Howard St, Akron, OH

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