Elton Hotel

Known Name(s)

Elton Hotel


16 West Main St. Waterbury, CT

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status


Detailed History

Opened in 1904, the Elton Hotel is a Second Renaissance Revival style building located in downtown Waterbury. With its grandiose design and central location next to the town Green, the Elton soon became a landmark of Waterbury's social and industrial elite.

Beginning with the First Great Migration, African Americans increasingly came to Waterbury in search of better jobs. While work was available here, African Americans were often limited to low-paying positions, and many establishments in the city remained segregated throughout the early 20th century. As such, the Elton refused to employ or accommodate African Americans. Even Joe Louis, a famous African American boxer, was denied service during his reign as heavyweight champion sometime between 1937 and 1949.

However, the Elton changed its policy towards African Americans as Civil Rights activists and organizations in Waterbury began pushing for integration. On April 23, 1949, an article in the New England Bulletin, a Hartford-based African American newspaper, announced the desegregation of the Elton Hotel, in both employment and accommodation. The change was introduced by owner and manager Clyde Jennings. According to the Bulletin, "Mr. Jennings told us he had opened the way for Negroes to be employed at the Elton and enjoy its accommodations because he felt that the race here, through its progress, had earned the right to work and live there." Jennings later said that while most members of the community welcomed desegregation at the Elton, a few were opposed to allowing African Americans inside Waterbury's most exclusive hotel. Nevertheless, the Elton maintained its desegregation policy and was featured in The Green Book beginning in 1950. Today, the Elton is an assisted living facility.

Listed individually and in the Downtown Waterbury National Register Historic District

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