100 years ago, suffragists camped out for 6 weeks in a Nashville hotel to win the right to vote. Take a look inside the historic landmark, which is still in operation today.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage Hotel
  • On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th amendment, granting 27 million women across the US the right to vote.
  • For six weeks leading up to that day, suffragists and anti-suffragists campaigned for the votes of state congressman in the halls of Nashville’s The Hermitage Hotel.
  • The fight for women’s right to vote in The Hermitage Hotel became known as the “War of the Roses.”
  • Take a look inside the five-star boutique property, which just became a National Historic Landmark and is offering suffrage-themed cocktails to honour the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


One hundred years ago, The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville became the centre of a heated debate over women’s right to vote.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelThe Hermitage Hotel’s present-day entrance.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


In the summer of 1920, the decision of whether or not to ratify the 19th amendment fell to Tennessee’s legislature.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelThe intersection of 6th Avenue N. and Union Street, looking west, shows The Hermitage Hotel and other buildings in 1929.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, National Park Service


Determined to see the amendment ratified, leaders of the suffragist movement camped out for six weeks between July and August at The Hermitage Hotel.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelWomen march for the right to vote in a Nashville parade ca. 1915.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, The Tennessee State Museum


Located one block from the state capitol, The Hermitage Hotel was a well-known haunt of politicians.

Davel5957/Getty ImagesPresent-day Tennessee state capitol.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


Governors were known to live in the hotel’s rooms before taking office …

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelInterior of a present-day hotel room.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


… and senators and representatives would gather at the hotel’s restaurant and bar to discuss matters of the day.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelPresent-day interior of the hotel’s Oak Bar.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


Together with journalists, suffragists sat in the Beaux-Arts lobby waiting for run-ins with politicians.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelThe hotel’s present-day lobby.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


In between encounters, they mapped out their strategy over tea and in hotel rooms.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelA table setting in the hotel’s present-day veranda.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


The suffragists didn’t just have to contend with politicians, however. Anti-suffragists also set up their campaign headquarters at the hotel.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelAnti-suffrage activists pose with a Confederate veteran outside the entrance to their movement’s headquarters at The Hermitage Hotel in August 1920.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, National Park Service


Hotel guests took to wearing different coloured roses to identify which campaign they belonged to: suffragists wore yellow, and anti-suffragists wore red.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelPresent-day hotel interior.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


Their battle for the right to vote became known as “The War of the Roses.”

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelThe hotel’s present-day veranda.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


Finally, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the 19th amendment. The amendment became law eight days later on August 26, granting 27 million women across the US the right to vote.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelNational Woman’s Party members thank legislators outside the Tennessee state capitol on August 18, 2020, after the vote.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, Visit Music City, The Suffragist Memorial


In honour of the 100th anniversary, The Hermitage Hotel has put its collection of private artifacts from the summer of 1920 on display in a new lobby exhibition.

Courtesy The Hermitage HotelRatification of the 19th amendment centennial exhibit in the The Hermitage Hotel.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


Guests can also join weekly history tours. While the hotel was renovated in the early 2000s, it looks much the same as it did back in 1920 and became a National Historic Landmark at the end of July.

Lisa Diederich Photography / The Hermitage HotelThe present-day exterior of The Hermitage Hotel.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, US Department of the Interior


Through the remainder of the year, the hotel will be offering a socially distanced suffrage tea series with historical reenactors in honour of the suffrage movement’s beginnings over high tea.

Courtesy Hermitage HotelSuffrage-themed tea service in the hotel’s veranda.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


A new suffrage-themed cocktail service includes drinks named after famous suffragists like Carrie Chapman Catt, who led the lobbying campaign at The Hermitage and went on to found the League of Women Voters.

Courtesy The Hermitage HotelLeft: Carrie Chapman Catt; Right: The Hermitage Hotel’s suffrage-themed ‘Carrie’ craft cocktail in front of a bust of the suffragist.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel, Library of Congress


One drink is called the “tiebreaker,” since Tennessee’s decision to ratify the 19th amendment came down to a single tiebreaker vote.

Courtesy The Hermitage Hotel‘Tiebreaker,’ a suffrage-themed craft cocktail.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel


The Hermitage Hotel is currently operating with social distancing and cleaning protocols in place to ensure guest safety.

Lisa Diederich Photography / Hermitage HotelPresent-day exterior of The Hermitage Hotel.

Source: The Hermitage Hotel

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