Family member remembers Thelma’s Hotel and Restaurant from segregation era

Digital Desk
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The award-winning Green Book movie was inspired by old businesses like the ones Thelma Stone operated in Bluefield, WV.

Many people could come and enjoy food, entertainment, and a place to stay, including Thelma’s niece, Dr. Carolyn Foster Bailey Lewis. 

“I had an apartment upstairs, and we had to go downstairs for food. And there was a hotel up near the upstairs apartment. And there was an apartment downstairs, some apartments were. But she had a grocery store. She also had a travel hotel next door in later years,” Lewis explained.

Lewis said her great aunt was someone to look up to. 

“She was a business woman, for her to have a real connoisseur, an apartment, real estate, a grocery store, and to have all of that in 1947 was amazing,” Lewis said.

Foster said she enjoyed one thing the most while living in Thelma’s business.

“The best part was the food. People came from far and near. There were trains and railroad yards right across the way there. Coalminers and everyone stopped there,” Lewis said.

Thelma’s is no longer operating, but you can still find the original building standing tall on Wayne Street. 

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