By Angela Shepherd
The planned restoration of Greenfield’s Elliott Hotel stands to get a bit of a shot in the arm with a benefit concert in June that will feature country music great Lorrie Morgan.
Set for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at Wilmington’s Murphy Theater, all proceeds beyond operational expenses will go toward restoration efforts of the Elliott Hotel, according to Steven Cross of A Future Perspective Promotions Company.
Nashville, Tenn., native Morgan first performed at The Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13, becoming a lifetime member just 11 years later, according to information provided by the promotions company. Morgan had her first No. 1 single in 1990 with “Five Minutes.” She was named Female Vocalist of the Year in 1994, and three times more after that. Other songs by which Morgan made her indelible impression on country music were “Except For Monday,” “Something In Red,” “Watch Me,” and “What Part Of No.” In February 2016, Morgan released her first solo album in five years called “Letting Go…Slow.”
The benefit concert is sponsored by Greenfield native Doug Karnes, McClain High School graduate and now an architect living in Kentucky.
Karnes bought the Elliott Hotel late last year.
A couple years ago he started coming back to Greenfield, where he has offered his expertise to residents and the village, trying to foster a vision for what Greenfield can be again. He has done that through Designing Greenfield, a forum on Facebook for the study of Greenfield and the challenges it faces, and a place for the sharing of ideas and providing feedback.
He previously told The Times-Gazette he has spent two years telling people what the village’s historic buildings can be. And when it came to buying the Elliott Hotel, he said, “It was time to put my money where my mouth is.”
Since Karnes’ purchase of the neglected hotel, he has worked to clear out years of debris and has envisioned a future for the 120-something year-old building that more than once over the years has been talked about meeting with a wrecking ball.
According to information provided by the Greenfield Historical Society, the hotel opened in 1888, replacing the Harper House Hotel as “the premier hotel in Greenfield.”
After the once-fine establishment’s days as a hotel were through, it was used as an apartment building until fires left it uninhabitable.
While Karnes has worked, enlisting the help of local folks, to clear out the damage, debris, and rubble that fires and years of tenants and neglect have left behind, there is a long way yet to go, he told The Times-Gazette in January.
A GoFundMe account has helped raise funds for the cleanup efforts, and Karnes said in January that once the clean-up is accomplished, he will pursue grant funding to help restore the hotel.
In a post accompanying ticket-buying information for the concert, Karnes wrote, “The goal of the restoration project is to first save the building from further decay, then transform it back into an active destination for Greenfield and surrounding areas.”
He goes on to say that the plan for the Elliott Hotel building is “to create a community event center on the first floor, incorporating a country music heritage center and museum. The second floor is intended to serve as a boutique hotel and short-term residences.”
Karnes said this week that he hopes the concert raises enough money for a new roof on the Elliott and maybe new windows, too. His goal for the summer, he said, is to be able to open the building for tours during the Greene Countrie Towne Festival July 15-17.
For the June benefit concert, general seating tickets are $65 per seat and VIP tickets are $150, but the latter includes a preshow meet and greet with Lorrie Morgan, a keepsake lanyard, a gift bag with “goodies” from the production company and show’s sponsors, a commemorative souvenir, and a ticket for a free drink of one’s choice at the theater’s concessions.
As of Thursday afternoon, there are less than 700 seats available in general seating, and only 28 VIP tickets remain.
To purchase tickets go to eventbrite.com and enter “Lorrie Morgan Live In Concert / Elliott Hotel Restoration Benefit” in the search bar, which will take you to the option to buy tickets for VIP or general seating.
When checking out, Cross said someone using one of the discount codes “greenfield,” “LorrieFAN,” “senior,” or “veteran” will receive $10 off any ticket.
For updates and information, go to the benefit concert’s event page on Facebook. Go to the Designing Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page for updates on the Elliott Hotel.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.