The Kemmons Wilson Holiday Inn Story


- Kemmons Wilson, Founder of Holiday Inns
-With Robert Kerr

Copyright 1996, Hambleton-Hill Publishing, Inc.  First Edition.  From Chapter Three "Building Materials"

Excerpts from pages 23 and 29.  (Printed here with Permission from The Kemmons Wilson Family)


He did well enough with his first theater (The DeSoto) to build a new one at the corner of Airways and Lamar in Memphis, again with much assistance from Bob Bostick. That theater also succeeded, and with the help of associates like Louie Weaver, Kemmons kept expanding over the next several years until he owned 11 movie theaters.

Amidst all the wheeling and dealing, Kemmons finally found time - but, just barely - to get married. He was in too big a hurry to begin wedded life with a real vacation, so he combined business with pleasure on his honeymoon.

"When he proposed, Kemmons said if I wanted a honeymoon, I'd have to go along to New Orleans with him," Dorothy recalls. "He had to go to a Wurlitzer convention there and he couldn't take time off to go anywhere else."

So on the evening of December 2, 1941, Dorothy and Kemmons married in the parsonage at Galloway Methodist Church at Cooper and Walker, where Dorothy was a member. However, she almost didn't make it to her own wedding. An error at her bookkeeping job at the William Len Hotel kept her working long past quitting time.

From Chapter Four - "Flying the Hump"  Excerpts from page 31

After the Japanese attack on the U.S. navel fleet at Pearl Harbor, America went to war with Japan and its Axis partners, Germany and Italy. World War II would soon change the lives of every American.

Kemmons knew he would answer the call of duty. But in the meantime, he had business to tend to around Memphis. One of the first things he did after his honeymoon was to return home and open the new movie theater he had built on Airways Avenue. He made it a true family operation, installing Dorothy behind the ticket window and Doll (his Mother) at the candy counter. Kemmons took the tickets himself. "Low overhead," he recalls with a grin. Dorothy worked there until a few weeks before their first child, Spence, arrived in late 1942.




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