RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Along the 200 block of Cabarrus Street in downtown Raleigh, there’s a piece of history you can’t see.

The Lewis, later renamed Deluxe Hotel, once stood there. Black travelers going through Raleigh during the Jim Crow era would find the hotel listed in several editions of the Green Book.

The Lewis Hotel was founded by Janette Hodge’s great-aunt Hattie Lewis.

“That was something that she wanted to do, to have people to be able to stay there during that time,” Hodge said. “It was like a safe haven.”

Traveling in the south during the Jim Crow era was dangerous for Black travelers. For 30 years, the Green Book was a guide that listed safe businesses to visit.

Hodge said the hotel had a front porch, about two dozen rooms, and a cafeteria and shoeshine parlor attached to it.

“Aunt Hattie was an entrepreneur and she and her husband actually built the hotel,” Hodge said.

Guests included the biggest acts in music, such as Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, and Clara Ward.

Black performers who needed a place to stay while performing at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium visited the Lewis Hotel.

Hodge’s mother Lucille Griswold, and Griswold’s two sisters, helped their aunt run the hotel. Griswold took over the hotel in 1948 and renamed it the Deluxe Hotel.

Hodge said her mother sold the hotel in the late 1970s, and it was then destroyed by a fire in the early 1990s.

Adrienne Nirdé is the associate director for the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission. She said sites like the Deluxe Hotel were significant during the Jim Crow era.

“We talk about the Green Book as really being a tool for folks to navigate this time of discrimination where it could be really dangerous to travel if you were not able to find the right locations to go, so it was a very important guide,” Nirdé said.

The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission is working to document the history of the state’s roughly 300 sites listed in various Green Books. It launched The Green Book project a few years ago, working to document the history.

“Unfortunately, a number of these Green Book sites have been lost,” she said.

Nirdé said part two of the project starts this spring. The goal is to help preserve sites in their communities and plan for a potential national Green Book trail.

“It’s very meaningful,” Hodge said. “I look at it now and I’m very proud of what my mother and family did.”