Morgans donate historic piano to city

By MARLAN JONES,

The City of Mendenhall recently accepted the donation of a pecan wood Baldwin Acrosonic piano and bench from the historic Mendenhall Hotel and Revolving Tables Restaurant. The piano was donated by Nattilie Morgan and her children to the city in memory of C. Fred Morgan Jr. and L’Marie Morgan Erven.

Local historian Joe White shared some history of the Revolving Tables Restaurant and Hotel. White said the hotel was built in 1915 by Frank and Annie Heil, and was originally named the Heil Hotel. It went by that name until 1918 due to World War I. White explained that because the name Heil was German it was extremely unpopular at the time. Frank Heil left the operation of the hotel to his wife.

The Heils eventually sold the hotel to Annie’s brother who changed the name to Goodwin.  The hotel was sold by the brother to his daughter, whose last name was Morgan. The hotel eventually came to be owned by C. Fred Morgan and his family. The piano donated by the family was played by L’Marie Morgan Erven at the Revolving Tables Restaurant and Hotel.

Joe White said the Mendenhall Revolving Tables Restaurant and Hotel was nationally known and was featured in the National Geographic Magazine. He stated that the Morgans were the only family who had long term success in Mendenhall as hotel owners. White said, “There has been a lot history in Mendenhall thanks to the Morgan family.”

Alderman Tim Gray shared a story from when he was a child. Gray said he and his friends would ride bikes through the city, and they would park their bikes near the hotel and look through the window with hopes of seeing someone famous.

Charles Fred Morgan III said he was proud to donate a piece of his family’s legacy to the city. He said, “It’s a donation from my mother Nattilie. L’Marie played the organ at the Methodist Church for 50 years. She was a musician and this was her piano.” L’Marie would entertain guests of the hotel and restaurant for hours by playing the piano, which carries fond memories for the Morgan family. Several citizens reminisced about their time spent in the Mendenhall Revolving Tables Restaurant and Hotel, which is still owned by Nattilie Morgan, and is still in good condition.

Mayor Todd Booth thanked the Morgan family for sharing a piece of their family history to be preserved by the city.

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