BACKSTORY: One of the main roads in the historic district of Savannah, Liberty Street runs parallel to Bay Street, Broughton Street, and Oglethorpe Avenue. The Hotel De Soto graced this street when it opened in 1890, designed by William Gibbons Preston. Unfortunately, the Hilton chain demolished itl in 1968 because it didn’t have air conditioning. Some of the terracotta ornamentation (shown on this page below) was used on the exterior and photographs from the original hotel still remain and are on display at the hotel’s entrance and in the lobby. William Gibbons Preston was a Boston architect, responsible for some of the most remarkable Romanesque buildings in Savannah including the Savannah Cotton Exchange, Poetter Hall (former armory now a SCAD building), and the former Chatham County Courthouse.