At the end of its days, the Tyler Hotel, then known as the Milner, was a seedy joint situated in the heart of Louisville’s so-called porno-district at Third and Jefferson Streets. Since its demolition in 1995, the city has condemned and completely destroyed every last building in the area to get rid of adult business. Their efforts failed, as we still have an adult bookstore but no more historic buildings.
When it opened on December 14, 1911, the Tyler Hotel contained eight stories, 135 rooms each with a private bath, and was conceived in 1909 by businessman Levi Tyler to compete with the fashionable Seelbach Hotel finished six years earlier. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the prestigious local firm McDonald & Dodd.
The building was built of steel with a brick and terracotta curtain wall, considered one of the finest examples of terra cotta application in the city. Sometime later, ,an additional bay and two additional stories with more ornate terra cotta detailing were added (as seen in the views above). Inside, the Tyler Hotel featured an ornate lobby, an Italian garden room, and a cafe.
In the 1940s, the hotel was renamed the Earle Hotel when bought by the Milner Hotel Company and later in the 1960s, it was again renamed the Milner Hotel after a destroyed building sitting in the path of Interstate 65. The hotel operated until 1985 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
In the late 1980s, there were plans for a complete renovation of the property, but those fell through with the pending expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center.
Then on November 5, 1995, the state imploded the ten-story structure to make room for the expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center. The above video was taken from the 5/3 Building on Fourth & Liberty Streets, a couple blocks away. As one person notes on the video, “It’s a big loss… that building had a lot of history.”