Henry Sadler


Henry Sadler was a pioneer in the African American business community and an Orlando institution. Sadler’s life centered around the hotel business where he began his career as a bellman in the late 1920s and a career that spanned 60 years.

Born on November 28,1907, in Newberry, S.C., Sadler came to Orlando in 1928 and found his first job as a bellman at the old San Juan Hotel on Orange Avenue, a job he would keep for 43 years, until 1972.

In 1963, at the dawn of the civil rights era, Sadler built a hotel at 619 West Church Street in the Black community where Black entertainers and baseball players could lodge because at that time Blacks were not allowed to stay in white establishments.

The two-story Hotel Sadler was a 28-room building that included Mitchells Coffee Shop and a full-size swimming pool. The hotel also served various social organizations within the community. As the owner of Hotel Sadler, Sadler prospered many years and became a voice in the Black community.

Sadler continued to operate Hotel Sadler until 1983, while he continued to work as a bellman, first at the San Juan Hotel and later followed by a job in guest relations at Court of Flags – later known as the Delta Orlando Resort – until the late 1990s when his health declined.

In 1998, the General Manager of the Delta Orlando Resort nominated Sadler for the title of Florida Guest Services Employee of the Year. Sadler and the executive office all went to Tallahassee to accept his earned award. Sadler also had a VIP Suite, the Sadler Suite, named after him at the Delta Orlando Resort which is symbolic of Sadler’s worldwide reputation for making guests feel genuinely welcome.

Courtesy was Sadler’s calling.