The Hoffman Hotel was built in 1852 by Daniel Hoffman. The hotel was built to provide food and lodging to visitors, jurours, and court officials who frequented the Gaston County Courthouse. The hotel was built in the Greek Revival style which was very fashionable at the time of its construction, and was inspired by the renewed interest in ancient Greek architecture.
The Greek Civil War was raging in the 1820s and the American imagination was influenced by the drawings of the Greek Temples and their public buildings. While we are probably most familiar with Greek Revival style plantation houses, with their impressive entrance ways adorned with handsome columns and wide porticos, it was also an architectural style that was widely used on public buildings. The Hoffman Hotel, which currently has a two-story porch supported by six slender columns and a gabled roof, which was added after the original construction of the hotel, is typical of Greek Revival style buildings.
Hoffman Family History
Daniel Hoffman was the man who built the Hoffman Hotel. His family had been, in what would become Gaston County, since the Revolutionary War. Daniel's grandfather, Jacob Hoffman, Sr. came to America in 1768 and gradually migrated to the south from Pennsylvania, to Virginia and finally, in 1776, to what was then Tryon County, North Carolina. His sons, Jacob Jr. and John, who later would become Daniel's father, both fought as teenagers with the local Patriot militia against the British in the battle at Kings Mountain. John Hoffman was wounded at the battle and for the rest of his life, would proudly display the scar from his war wound.
While Daniel was growing up, his father had become an influential member of the Lincoln County community. He was a successful farmer, owned a saw mill, grist mill and a cotton gin. He helped to organize the Philadelphia Lutheran Church in Dallas, N.C.
Daniel inherited his father's gift for business; he had a successful farm on "old Yorkville" road two miles south of what is now Dallas. In 1852, six years after Gaston County was formed, Daniel built the Hoffman Hotel. After he died in 1866, his nephew Jonas purchased the hotel and successfully managed it.
Jonas was already a successful businessman when he began managing the hotel in 1868. In 1850, he had invested in the first of Gaston County's textile mills, the Woodlawn (or Pinhook), and had also invested in a railroad that ran from Chester, S.C. to Dallas.
During the Civil War, he had been a anti-secessionist, though he did enlist in the Confederate Navy in the last year of the war. After the war, he became a Republican, signed the 'Iron Clad Oath' and served one term in the N.C. House in 1867 and was a delegate to the state's constitutional convention in 1875. He was an investor in the original Gaston Female College located in Dallas.
When Jonas died in 1901, his wife and his 23-year-old son, John Puett Hoffman had joint ownership of the Hotel. Frances died in 1923, leaving John the sole owner. After the courthouse moved to Gastonia in 1911, the hotel suffered a loss of business. In 1934, during the Great Depression, the hotel was foreclosed on for non-payment of taxes. The hotel passed on to private owners and was used for a variety of uses including a private residence, a teacherage dormitory, and a rooming house. In 1979, the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, Inc., which at the time was housed on the second floor of the Dallas Courthouse, purchased the property and renovated it for use as a museum.
131 West Main Street, Dallas, North Carolina, 28034