When we look at the simple amenities that are now customary in hotel rooms(i.e. toiletries, shampoo, lotion etc.), most of us aren’t aware of how this came to be. Enter, Edwin C. Berry, a free black from Oberlin, OH who spent his life perfecting the art of hospitality.
In 1892, he built the 20-room Berry Hotel located in Athens County, Ohio. Known for its delicious food and top-notch service. Mr. Berry is credited with being the first hotel owner with amenities and toiletries, stocking the rooms with not only individual sized lotions and shampoos but also with needles, threads, buttons, and even cologne.
By the time Mr. Berry retired in 1921, the hotel had grown to 55-rooms, equipped with walk-in closets and elevators, as well as a bible in every room, which Mr. Berry was also the first to do. Booker T. Washington pronounced Berry to have” The leading hotel for colored people” in the country, in his book the negro business.