Most famous of all hostelries in Lexington was Postlethwait's, which was located on this site. Started in 1797, the inn was known for its fine beverages, bountiful table and attentive services.
In 1820, a fire destroyed 38 rooms of the inn and a local paper expressed the hope that, like the mythological Phoenix bird rising from the ashes, the new hotel would be re-erected. A new one was built and in 1833, perhaps after a second fire, the owners adopted the name PHOENIX.
A third hotel was built in 1879 after yet another fire. Atop the front wall of this three story building was a large metal figure of a Phoenix bird. In 1910, an eight story wing was built on the east end of the complex and served as the main hotel entrance. The west wing was demolished in 1950 and replaced with a new addition. Closed in 1977, the Phoenix Hotel was torn down in 1982.
For 180 years, the Phoenix was the oldest occupied hotel site in Kentucky and was host to many famous people including: Presidents Monroe, Jackson, Grant, Arthur, Eisenhower and Kennedy. The Phoenix was more than a mere hotel to Lexingtonians and visitors to the city, it was an institution. Here there were grand dances, political rallies and many more activities and amenities that symbolized the grand days of Lexington's past. Today, Lexington's Public Library,
a high-rise apartment building and this lovely park occupy the site of the several Phoenix Hotels.