Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 242: Hotel History: Fisher Island, Miami, Florida

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 242: Hotel History: Fisher Island, Miami, Florida

Stanley Turkel | January 05, 2021

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Fisher Island, Miami, Florida

Fisher Island is in Miami-Dade County, Florida, located on a barrier island of the same name. As of 2015, Fisher Island had the highest per capita income of any place in the United States. The CDP had only 218 households and a total population of 467.

Named for automotive parts pioneer and beach real estate developer Carl G. Fisher, who once owned it, Fisher Island is three miles offshore of mainland South Florida. No road or causeway connects to the island, which is accessible by private boat, helicopter, or ferry. Once a one-family island home of the Vanderbilts, and later several other millionaires, it was sold for development in the 1960s. The property sat vacant for well over 15 years before development began for very limited and restrictive multi-family use.

Fisher Island was separated from the barrier island which became Miami Beach in 1905, when Government Cut was dredged across the southern end of the island to make a shipping channel from Miami to Atlantic Ocean. Construction of Fisher Island began in 1919 when Carl G. Fisher, a land developer, purchased the property from the Black real estate developer Dana A. Dorsey, southern Florida’s first African-American millionaire. In 1925, William Vanderbilt II traded a luxury yacht to Fisher for ownership of the island.

Despite Fisher’s extraordinary accomplishments, however, no beach, no highway, no hotels, and no race track is named for Carl Graham Fisher. Only Fisher Island bears his name.

Most of the laborers in Fisher’s workforce were Blacks from southern states, from the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands. The center of the South Florida black community was Colored Town which was created in 1896 in northwest Miami. Blacks were denied equal housing, business opportunities, voting rights and the use of the beaches. But one black construction laborer who worked as a carpenter for Florida’s East Coast Railroad recognized the need to provide housing for black workers. Dana Albert Dorsey was the son of former slaves whose formal education stopped at fourth grade. After moving to Miami, Dorsey engaged in truck farming but soon began to invest in real estate. He purchased lots for $25 each in Colored Town and constructed one rental house per parcel. He built many of the so-called shotgun houses and rented them out, but never sold any.

According to his daughter Dana Dorsey Chapman, in a 1990 interview, her father’s excellent penmanship was the product of his early formal education at the Freedman’s Bureau during Reconstruction. Dorsey’s business expanded as far north as Fort Lauderdale. He donated land to the Dade County Public Schools on which the Dorsey High School was built in 1936 in Liberty City. In 1970, its purpose was changed to meet the needs of the adults in the community by becoming the D.A. Dorsey Educational Center. In Overtown (formerly Colored Town), the Dorsey Memorial Library which opened on August 13, 1941, as built on land he donated shortly before his death in 1940. That building was renovated and restored under the direction of my late brother, Leonard Turkel, a Miami philanthropist and businessman. The first black-owned hotel in Florida was the Dorsey Hotel in Overtown. The hotel placed advertisements in black and white newspapers and was constantly upgraded by Dorsey, including adding hot and cold running water. Marvin Dunn in his book, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century reports that,

The Dorsey house was always filled with important dinner guests. Some of the white millionaires who visited were awed by Dorsey’s accomplishments, achieved under difficult circumstances. Some even went to him for financial help. According to his daughter, during the Depression, Dorsey lent money to William M. Burdine to keep his store open. When Dorsey died in 1940 flags were lowered to half-staff all over Miami.

In 1918, Dorsey purchased a 216-acre island sliced from the tip of Miami in 1905 when the government dredged out a sea-lane from Biscayne Bay. His intention was to create a beach resort for blacks because they were forbidden to use all other public beaches. When his efforts were rebuffed by the blatant racism of the time, he sold the island in 1919 to Carl Graham Fisher who named it Fisher Island. It is now one of the wealthiest enclaves in South Florida.

After Vanderbilt’s death in 1944, ownership of the island passed to U.S. Steel heir Edward Moore. Moore died in the early 1950s, and Gar Wood, the millionaire inventor of hydraulic construction equipment, bought it. Wood, a speedboat enthusiast, kept the island a one-family retreat. In 1963, Wood sold to a development group that included local Key Biscayne millionaire Bebe Rebozo, Miami native and United States Senator George Smathers and then former U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon, who had promised to leave politics. During his subsequent presidency from 1968-1973, and during the Watergate scandal, Nixon maintained a home on nearby Key Biscayne known as the “Key Biscayne Whitehouse” that was the former residence of Senator Smathers and next door to Rebozo, but none of the three ever resided on Fisher Island.

After years of legal battles and changes in ownership, further development on the island was finally started in the 1980s, with architecture matching the original 1920s Spanish style mansions. Although no longer a one-family island, Fisher Island still remains somewhat inaccessible to the public and uninvited guests, and is as exclusive by modern standards as it was in the days of the Vanderbilts, providing similar refuge and retreat for its wealthy residents. The island contains mansions, a hotel, several apartment buildings, an observatory, and a private marina. Boris Becker, Oprah Winfrey, and Mel Brooks are among the celebrities with homes on the island.

The Fisher Island Club is made up of 216 acres and approximately 800 residences representing over 40 countries. Accessible only by ferryboat or private yacht, Fisher Island is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S. The private membership-only club boasts a Beach Club with one of the country’s only truly private beaches; a 15-room all suite luxury hotel; a 9-hole, award-winning P.B. Dye championship golf course; 17 tennis courts featuring all four “Grand Slam” surfaces plus 4 pickleball courts, two deep-water marinas; a variety of casual and formal dining venues; a full-service spa, salon and fitness center; the Vanderbilt Theater; an aviary with over a dozen exotic birds; and an observatory for stargazing.

Fisher Island Club Hotel & Resort, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is a boutique property comprised of a collection of just 15 graciously-appointed historic and reimagined cottages, villas and guesthouse suites that surround the now iconic limestone and marble Vanderbilt Mansion – mere steps from the beach, pool, spa, restaurants and marina. In April 2018, Bloomberg reported that the average income for Fisher Island was $2.5 million in 2015, making Fisher Island’s zip code the wealthiest in the United States.

My New Book “Great American Hotel Architects Volume 2” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand (2020)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Stanley Turkel Named the Recipient of the 2020 Historic Hotels of America Historian of the Year AwardNobody Asked Me, But… No. 241: Hotel History: Menger HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 240 Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada (1893)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: The Algonquin Hotel, NY (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 238: Hotel History: The Fairmont Hotel in San FranciscoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 237: Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, IllinoisNobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton InternationalNobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 232: Hotel History: Union Station HotelNobody Asked Me But… No. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, ColoradoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: Admiral Fell InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: The Barbizon Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 226 Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, AlabamaNobody Asked Me, But… No. 224: Hotel History: The Red Lion InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 223: Hotel History: The Wales Hotel (1902)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 241: Hotel History: Menger Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 241: Hotel History: Menger Hotel

| December 15, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Menger Hotel (316 rooms)

The Menger Hotel, one of the most iconic and historically significant buildings in San Antonio, was constructed on Alamo Plaza in 1859 by German immigrants Mary and William Menger. Mary arrived in San Antonio in 1846 and when her husband died soon after her arrival, she opened a boarding house. The building provided studio space for renowned sculptor Gutzor Borglum, most famous for his work at Mt. Rushmore. After William Menger opened the Menger Brewery in 1855, he married Mary and the success of the Brewery operation led to the construction of the Menger Hotel.

The original two-story, 50-room structure was designed by San Antonio’s first prominent architect, John M. Fries who was responsible for the original City Market House and Casino Hall, both since demolished. He is also credited with repairing the Alamo in 1850 and saving it from destruction. Menger commissioned a three-story, 40-room addition in 1859 between the hotel and the brewery.

The San Antonio Herald on January 18, 1859, reported on the hotel project:

“The Menger Hotel is rapidly drawing towards completion. The main room on the second floor is unsurpassed for beauty. The finishing of the walls and ceilings being developed and executed by our fellow citizen P.C. Taylor. The walls and ceilings unite the smoothness of glass to the whiteness of alabaster, whilst the mouldings are conceived in fine taste and executed in the best style of art.”

Mr. Menger ran the following ad in local newspapers:

Menger Hotel
Alamo plaza           San Antonio

The undersigned has with great care and expense built and fitted out a large & commodious hotel on Alamo Square which [will] be opened on the 1st of February 1859.

He flatters himself that his establishment will be large and well ventilated stable, which will at times be kept supplied with the best provender, and attended to by experienced hostlers.

W.A. Menger

During four years of the Civil War, the hotel housed many Confederate Army soldiers including Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee. It provided food service in order to feed the officers and soldiers. The hotel also offered hospital beds and nursing services for medical care of wounded soldiers.

After William Menger died at the age of forty-four years in 1871, Mary and her son Louis William continued to operate the brewery and the hotel. In 1877, newly-built railroad service to San Antonio contributed to the growing success of the Menger. The hotel offered a unique mail chute on each floor that allowed guests to simply drop mail into the chute which would then be collected, taken to the post office and delivered to the address on the envelope. Talk about progress!

For many years, another popular draw to the hotel was the cuisine offered by Mary Menger herself. Mary had long been preparing meals for her guests at her boarding house and she felt doing so at the Menger Hotel would strengthen its appeal. The Mengers purchased the best beef, chicken, fresh country butter and eggs the markets had to offer. They also prided themselves on providing their guests with the finest delicacies of the time. The Mengers also sent out a wagon with benches that would drive around downtown San Antonio picking up businessmen in order to take them to the hotel to dine on the delicious fare. Mary made up the menu for her guests, which included a selection of soups, beef, pasta, veal, and a variety of tasty desserts. All of this would be served in one sitting and every person left the dining room feeling quite satisfied. Mary was also known for throwing lavish dinner parties for celebrity guests that only further proved her culinary excellence. Many of Mary’s recipes are still offered today in the hotel’s Colonial Dining Room.

My New Book “Great American Hotel Architects Volume 2” has just been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 240 Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada (1893)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: The Algonquin Hotel, NY (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 238: Hotel History: The Fairmont Hotel in San FranciscoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 237: Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, IllinoisNobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton InternationalNobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 232: Hotel History: Union Station HotelNobody Asked Me But… No. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, ColoradoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: Admiral Fell InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: The Barbizon Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 226 Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, AlabamaNobody Asked Me, But… No. 224: Hotel History: The Red Lion InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 223: Hotel History: The Wales Hotel (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 222: Hotel History: YMCA of Greater New York

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 240: Hotel History: Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada (1893)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 240 Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Canada (1893)

Stanley Turkel | November 24, 2020

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Château Frontenac (611 rooms)

Listed as a National Historic Site of Canada, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is among the nation’s most celebrated historic landmarks. This spectacular retreat is located in the heart of Old Québec, which served as the seat of colonial French power in North America over the better part of two centuries. It was from this location that France presided over thousands of acres that stretched from the Great Lakes to the bayous of Louisiana. Old Québec then became the headquarters in Canada for the British when they wrestled control of the region away from France during the Seven Years’ War. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac resides on the grounds of the former Château St. Louis, which functioned as the main administrative office for both the French and British colonial governments in Québec City until it burnt down in 1834.

American William Van Horne, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, chose the site of the former Château St. Louis as the location for an extravagant hotel. The ambitious railroad magnate had hoped to spur travel along his company’s new rail lines by developing a series of ornate lodgings that could appeal to upscale travelers. As such, he decided to construct what would become the Fairmont Le Château in downtown Québec City for just that purpose. Van Horne hired the renowned American architect Bruce Price to create the building’s design and construction began shortly thereafter in 1892. Price had used a special architectural style known as “Châteauesque,” which borrowed heavily from Revivalist and French Renaissance design aesthetics. As such, the new hotel resembled a grand historic manor native to France’s Loire Valley. When it finally debuted a year later, Van Horne chose to name the building as the Château Frontenac Hotel” in honor of the region’s legendary colonial governor, Louis de Buade de Frontenac.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has since emerged as one of the world’s preeminent hotel destinations Countless international luminaries have stayed at this spectacular hotel over the years, including military aviator Charles Lindbergh, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, French President Charles de Gaulle and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in the past. The hotel’s magnificent architecture and beautiful décor also inspired the famous film director, Alfred Hitchcock to shoot portions of his classic thriller, I Confess, onsite in 1953 starring Montgomery Clift and Anne Baxter. But Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has been the site of major historical events as well, such as the Québec Conferences of World War II. Held between 1943 and 1944, these meetings were chaired by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Together, they discussed invasion plans for Western Europe, as well as the shape of the postwar world.

In 1993, the hotel saw another expansion, with the addition of the new wing that included a pool, fitness centre, and outdoor terrace. On June 14, 1993, Canada Post issued ‘Le Château Frontenac, Québec’ designed by Kosta Tsetsekas, based on illustrations by Heather Price. The stamp features an image of the hotel building, and is printed by Ashton-Potter Limited.

In 2001, the hotel was sold to Legacy REIT, which is partially owned by Fairmont, for $185 million. The hotel was renamed the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in November 2001, shortly after Canadian Pacific Hotels reformed itself as Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, taking the name of an American company it acquired in 2001.

In 2011, the hotel was sold to Ivanhoé Cambridge. Shortly after acquiring the hotel, Ivanhoé Cambridge announced an investment of $9 million for the restoration of the building’s masonry work, and to replacement of the building’s copper roofs. The company further announced another $66 million investment for general improvements and renovations throughout the hotel. When the roof was being replaced, an image of the roof was printed on polypropylene safety netting and hung from scaffolding to hide the refurbishing project from view. The extensive renovation saw conference rooms expanded, restaurants remodeled, modernization of the lobby, and the gutting and rebuilding of three-fifths of hotel’s rooms.

My New Book “Great American Hotel Architects Volume 2” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

Categories

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chateau frontenachotel historynobody asked mestan turkelstanley turkel

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: The Algonquin Hotel, NY (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 238: Hotel History: The Fairmont Hotel in San FranciscoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 237: Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, IllinoisNobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton InternationalNobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 232: Hotel History: Union Station HotelNobody Asked Me But… No. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, ColoradoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: Admiral Fell InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: The Barbizon Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 226 Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, AlabamaNobody Asked Me, But… No. 224: Hotel History: The Red Lion InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 223: Hotel History: The Wales Hotel (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 222: Hotel History: YMCA of Greater New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 221: Hotel History: Hotel FlorenceNobody Asked Me, But… No. 220: Hotel History: The Heathman Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: The Algonquin Hotel, NY (1902)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: The Algonquin Hotel, NY (1902)

Stanley Turkel | November 03, 2020

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Algonquin Hotel (181 rooms)

The Algonquin Hotel was originally planned as an apartment hotel with the idea of renting unfurnished rooms and suites on yearly leases to permanent tenants. When few leases sold, the owner decided to turn it into a transient hotel, which he was going to name “The Puritan”. Frank Case, the first general manager, objected and told the owner “it… contradicts the spirit of innkeeping. It is cold, forbidding and grim. I don’t like it.” When the owner replied, “You think yourself so smart, suppose you find a better name,” Case went to the public library to find out who were the first and strongest people in this neighborhood. He stumbled on the Algonquins, liked the word, liked the way it fit the mouth, and prevailed upon the boss to accept it.

The Algonquin Hotel was designed by architect Goldwin Starrett with 181 rooms. General Manager Frank Case assumed the lease in 1907 and then bought the hotel in 1927. Case remained owner and manager until his death in 1946.

The famous Algonquin Round Table was initiated by General Manager Case with a group of New York City actors, journalists, publicists, critics and writers who met daily at lunch starting in June 1919. They met for the better part of ten years in the Pergola Room (now called the Oak Room). Charter members included Franklin P. Adams, columnist; Robert Benchley, humorist and actor; Heywood Broun, columnist and sportswriter; Marc Connelly, playwright; George S. Kaufman, playwright and director; Dorothy Parker, poet and screenwriter; Harold Ross, editor of the New Yorker; Robert Sherwood, author and playwright; John Peter Toohey, publicist; and Alexander Woollcott, critic and journalist. By 1930, the original Round Table members had scattered, but the so-called “Vicious Circle” remained alive in the mellow and pleasant memory. When asked what became of the Round Table, Frank Case would answer “What became of the reservoir at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street? These things do not last forever. The Round Table lasted longer than any other unorganized gathering that I know of.” Case continued. “I know of no other (group) where the percentage of success was so high. There was scarcely a man among them who failed to place his name high in the field in which he worked, and while perhaps I was rather casual, taking the whole thing for granted, I wasn’t stupid enough not to realize that it was a definite asset to the hotel in a business way, and a constant personal delight to me to be sure of good company every day. That, I think, is one of the pleasantest aspects of hotel keeping especially if your hotel be small; the good companions, good talk, and general gaiety of life. You don’t even have to make any effort; it is delivered fresh every day, charges prepaid.”

In October 1946, Ben and Mary Bodne of Charleston, SC, bought the Algonquin for just over $1 million. They had fallen in love with the hotel on their honeymoon. During their stay, they spotted Will Rogers, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Sinclair Lewis, Eddie Cantor and Beatrice Lily. For the former Mary Mazo (Bodne), the Algonquin was the final address in an odyssey that began in Odessa, Ukraine, where she was the second child in a large Jewish family that fled the pogroms when she was an infant. The Mazo family emigrated to Charleston, where her father Elihu opened the city’s first Jewish delicatessen. When George Gershwin and Du Bose Heyward were working on “Porgy and Bess, they were frequent customers. They would also discuss the creation of the show at dinners in the Mazo family home. Decades later, the Mazo tradition of hospitality would continue at the Algonquin. Mary Bodne cooked chicken soup for an ailing Laurence Olivier, and she babysat for Simone Signoret, who called her “one of my three truest friends.”

The Bodnes played host to a new generation of literary and show business celebrities – like the writer John Henry Falk, when he was blacklisted and exiled from Hollywood. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe made so much noise working on a new musical that other guests complained: the show was the hugely successful “My Fair Lady.”

Mr. Bodne, who died in 1992, said that he would sell the Algonquin when it needed self-service elevators. He sold it in 1987 to Aoki Corporation, the Brazilian subsidiary of a Japanese corporation which installed self-service elevators in 1991. In 1997, Aoki sold the hotel to the Camberley Hotel Company which embarked on a $4 million renovation. The company’s British-born president, Ian Lloyd-Jones, hired interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud to update the public spaces without destroying the feeling and character of the historic Algonquin.

In 2002, Miller Global Properties bought the hotel and hired Destination Hotels and Resorts to manage and update its operation. For example, they installed a cutting-edge computerized check-in database that instantly retrieves the personal preferences for arriving guests. Following a $3 million renovation, the hotel was sold again in 2005 to HEI Hotels & Resorts, owner and operator of 25 other full-service properties. HEI embarked on a $4.5 million renovation to upgrade the lobby, the Oak Room restaurant and cabaret, the Blue Bar, the renowned Round Table Room and all suites and guestrooms.

The Algonquin was designated a New York City Historic Landmark in 1987 and National Literary landmark by the Friends of Libraries USA in 1996. The Algonquin historic guest list is a Who’s Who in world culture; Irving Berlin, Charlie Chaplin, William Faulkner, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Laughton, Maya Angelou, Angela Lansbury, Harpo Marx, Brendan Behan, Noel Coward, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Irons, Tom Stoppard, among many others.

More recently, the hotel’s Oak Room has featured Harry Connick, Jr., Andrea, Marcovicci, Diana Krall, Peter Cinotti, Michael Feinstein, Jane Monheit, Steve Ross, Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap, Barbara Carroll, Maude Maggart, Karen Akers, among others.

When Frank Case, the first General Manager (and later owner) of the Algonquin wrote his memoir. “Tales of a Wayward Inn” in 1938, he asked 30 regular guests to write their recollections. The more famous were Jack Barrymore, Rex Beach, Louis Bromfield, Irvin S. Cobb, Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, H. L. Mencken, Robert Nathan, Frank Sullivan, Louis Untermayer, Henrik Willen Van Loon. However, Frank Case’s wife Bertha had the last word, She wrote,

October 10, 1938

Dear Frankie,

The general tone of the letter to you from friends is scarcely what one might call a knock; in fact while reading them I think of the funeral where the friends of the deceased spoke so glowingly, so fulsomely, of the deceased that the (widow) seated among the mourners, leaned over to her young son, saying, “Tommy, run up now, take a peek and see if that is your father in the box.”

On September 21, 2010, the Algonquin Hotel announced its affiliation with the Autograph Collection, a Marriott Hotel Collection.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 238: The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 238: Hotel History: The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco

Stanley Turkel | October 13, 2020

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by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, CA (592 rooms)

The luxurious Grande Dame atop Nob Hill in San Francisco was named after U.S. Senator James Graham Fair (1834-1894) by his daughters, Theresa Fair Oelrichs and Virginia Fair Vanderbilt. When the silver king James Fair purchased the site back in the late 1800s, his interest was to build the largest mansion in the neighborhood. However, when he died in 1894, the lot was still undeveloped until 1907 when his daughters commissioned the architectural and engineering firm of Reid & Reid to design a large hotel in Italian Renaissance style. The Reid brothers: James (1851-1943), Merrit (1855-1932) and Watson (1858-1944) designed a 600-room, seven story building made of gray granite, cream marble and terracotta stone. Before the new hotel could open, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire gutted the structure. New owners Herbert and Hartland Law, makers of a popular patent medicine, undertook the major effort to rebuild the Fairmont. They hired Stanford White of the prominent architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. Unfortunately, White was involved in a love triangle and was shot and killed by multimillionaire Harry Thaw. The Law brothers then hired local architect Julia Morgan, the first woman graduate of the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (and the genius behind the grandiose Hearst Castle). One year later, on April 18, 1907, the Fairmont Hotel opened and in 1908, Theresa Fair Oelrichs reacquired the restored hotel. The Fairmont quickly became San Francisco’s most famous hotel attracting families for long stays of two to three months. The Fairmont provided a thoroughly-equipped school featuring music, dance, art and a complete curriculum of subject matter. In 1926, the eighth floor was added including the 6,000 square foot Penthouse Suite.

By 1917, D.M. Linnard assumed the management and in 1924 bought the controlling interest from the Oelrichs family. In 1929, he sold the Fairmont to George Smith, a mining engineer who had just completed the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Smith undertook a major renovation and installed an indoor pool, the Fairmont Plunge.

For eleven weeks in 1945, the Fairmont was the Capital of the World hosting delegates from more than forty nations representing eighty percent of the world’s population to write the United Nations Charter. On June 26, 1945, President Harry Truman signed the new Charter. At about the same time, financier and philanthropist Benjamin Swig purchased fifty-four percent of the Fairmont for $2 million which he described as follows: “When I bought the hotel, it was obsolete. It was more of an apartment house for the extremely rich, many of whom were characters in the true sense of the word. It was rundown and neglected. The plumbing was bursting – we had ten to fifteen leaks a day – there was no carpet on the floor and the whole thing was just an old ladies home.”

Swig quickly learned that the Plunge pool was not a money maker. He decided to convert it into a restaurant and bar called the S.S. Tonga after Mel Melvin, MGM’s leading set designer found an old four-masted schooner by that name rotting in the mud near Martinez. Guests were soon dining on Chinese food, enjoying exotic drinks on the schooner’s deck, gazing into the blue water of the former Plunge now featuring a floating stage for the orchestra in the Tonga Room. The ambiance was heightened by staged tropical storms, complete with lightning and misty rain falling from concealed sprinklers. Swig hired Dorothy Draper, the famous decorator, to transform the lobby and the public areas. The million dollar modernization program was completed in 1950. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that almost six miles of fabric and three miles of carpeting had been used in the renovation. One critic raved that Draper had “captured the spirit of the past, the romantic glamour of the Champagne days, the traditions of the city blended with the modern.” She added the “Draper Touch” to the Venetian Room Supper Club which opened in 1947 with 400 seats. It attracted top-flight entertainers like Ethel Waters, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lena Horne, Red Skelton, James Brown, Judy Collins, Tony Bennett (who sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” for the first time here in 1962) and the Ernie Heckscher Band that played for 36 years.

In 1961, Ben Swig built an adjoining 23-story tower with the Crown Room on the top floor and a glass elevator on the outside of the tower with the best views of the city. He also added the Merry-Go-Round Bar to the famous Cirque Lounge with its wild animals murals and wrap-around bar designed by Art Deco architect Tim Pflueger in 1933.

The famous 1983 television series “Hotel” based on the best-selling novel by Arthur Hailey was filmed in the lobby of the Fairmont for the fictional “St. Gregory Hotel.”

The Swig family sold the hotel in 1994 to Maritz, Wolffe & Co. and Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talel who operated 94 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands. In 2012, Oaktree Capital Management and Woodridge Capital Partners acquired the Fairmont San Francisco for $200 million after Maritz, Wolffe & Co. failed to win permission to convert part of the property into residences.

In 2009, it was reported that the Fairmont’s Tonga Room, the venerable tiki bar, which opened in 1945, might be demolished to make room for a condo conversion in an adjacent tower. The New York Times reported on April 3, 2009 that “… San Franciscans have rallied around the Tonga Room. They’ve written letters, signed petitions and defiantly consumed more than their fair share of deep-dish drinks in this temple of tropical kitsch at the top of Nob Hill….one of the finest examples of faux Polynesian paradise around.” As of May, 2016, the Tonga Room has enjoyed a resurgence and there’s been no decision as to its ultimate fate.

In 2015, Oaktree and Woodridge sold the Fairmont San Francisco for $450 million to affiliated companies of Mirae Asset Global Investments, a large financial services company based in Seoul, South Korea. Since 2011, the firm has acquired commercial real estate properties valued over $8 billion including the 317-room  Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, the 531-room Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, the 540-room Fairmont Orchid Hotel and the 282-room Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Pangyo.

The Fairmont San Francisco was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 2002.  It is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)
  • Hotel Mavens: Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Curt Strand

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

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Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 237: Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, Illinois

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 237: Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, Illinois

Stanley Turkel | September 22, 2020

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By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Hotel Allegro, Chicago, IL, (483 rooms)

The Hotel Allegro was created on the site of old Bismarck Hotel in 1998. The original Bismarck Hotel was built in 1894 by Emil and Karl Eitel, brothers from Stuttgart, Germany. The Eitels were pioneers who installed ice-boxes in the hotel’s kitchen and air conditioning in the hotel’s restaurants. During World War I, the Bismarck was renamed the Randolph Hotel because of anti-German sentiment. After the war, the Bismarck name was restored. When the Eitel brothers built a new 19-floor Bismarck Hotel, the 22-story Metropolitan Office Building and the 2500-seat Palace Theatre, the original Bismarck was demolished.

The new Bismarck opened in 1926 with 600 rooms with spectacular features such as:

  • a wide marble staircase with a hand-wrought balustrade in the spacious lobby
  • vaudeville acts and big-name bands performing in the adjacent Palace Theatre
  • authentic German cuisine served at the Bismarck’s Swiss Chalet restaurant

In 1956, the hotel was acquired by the Wirtz family, owners of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Stadium. They installed air-conditioning throughout the building and telephones in every room. With its fortuitous location across the street from City Hall, the Bismarck was the official headquarters for the Cook County Democratic organization.

In 1996, Pal/Met purchased the Bismarck and, with Kimpton Hotels as operator, embarked on creating a thoroughgoing new identity with a theatrical ambiance. It reopened in 1998 with a new name, the Hotel Allegro, and a new identity. In 2008, interior designer Martha Angus was brought on board to craft a design concept that would tell the Hotel Allegro’s modern “Be a Star” story, while maintaining a reverence for the building’s past.

Guests enter the hotel on a red carpeted sweeping staircase, which leads to the renovated lobby area known as the “living room”. A striking mural, above the reception desk of the S.S. Normandie, built in 1932 as the fastest and largest ocean liner in the world enhances the classic feel of the space. Nearby, guests can venture from past to present as they enter the adjacent Cameo Lounge, which shows a contemporary look with laser-cut ink splatter mirrors, bright red faux crocodile wall coverings, and white leather couches.

The Hotel Allegro’s 483 luxurious guestrooms have a sleek design incorporating reflective surfaces, and lustrous furniture made of macassar ebony. Past and present is fused with Art Deco design features such as 1940s-inspired French desks, headboards inspired by 1960s luxury cruise ship cabins and 21st century geometric patterns and accents, including plexi-bedside table lamps. The historic Walnut Ballroom has fifteen-foot ceilings, large windows, and nickel-plated chandeliers of 1910 vintage.

The Hotel Allegro is a focal point for sightings of pop stars and rock bands such as Poison, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Tommy Lee, Midnight Oil, Flock of Seagulls, Warrant, The Killers, The Roots, Perry Ferrell, DJ Miles, Maeda and Rhianna. The hotel’s restaurant, 312 Chicago, hosts politicians from neighboring City Hall while the lounge, Encore, provides production parties for actors and producers from the nearby theater district.

Frommer’s Review, New York Times, August 18, 2012:

The Allegro’s laid-back vibe make it a better bet for families and couples than other, more business-focused Loop hotels. The only downside is that you won’t have room to spread out: The compact guest rooms don’t have much space beyond the bed, an armoire, and an armchair. Still, the bright white-and-blue color scheme is cheery, and the compact bathrooms have built-in marble shelves for ample storage….

Committed to environmentally responsible hospitality, Hotel Allegro has become one of the first five hotels in Illinois to earn Green Seal™ Silver certification for its sustainable practices.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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RELATED NEWS:

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton InternationalNobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 232: Hotel History: Union Station HotelNobody Asked Me But… No. 231: Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, ColoradoNobody Asked Me, But… No. 230: Hotel History: Four Seasons HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 239: Hotel History: Admiral Fell InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 228: The Barbizon Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 227: Hotel History: The Carlyle Hotel, New York (1929)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 226 Hotel History: Peninsula Hotel, New YorkNobody Asked Me, But… No. 225: Hotel History: The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, AlabamaPebb Capital & Lease Florida Open New Hampton Inn by Hilton in Miami Beach, FloridaNobody Asked Me, But… No. 224: Hotel History: The Red Lion InnNobody Asked Me, But… No. 223: Hotel History: The Wales Hotel (1902)Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 222: Hotel History: YMCA of Greater New YorkDavidson Hotels & Resorts Adds Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island to Management PortfolioNobody Asked Me, But… No. 221: Hotel History: Hotel FlorenceNobody Asked Me, But… No. 220: Hotel History: The Heathman HotelNobody Asked Me, But… No. 219: Hotel History: Josh Billings on Hotels One Hundred and Forty-Eight Years Ago

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 236: Hotel History: The Hermitage Hotel

Stanley Turkel | September 02, 2020

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee (122 rooms)

Historic Hotels of America is proud to announce that the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee has been selected as the 2020 Historic Hotel of the Year.

“Congratulations to the ownership, leadership, and many associates at The Hermitage Hotel,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We are delighted to recognize this magnificent historic hotel and its historic hoteliers for their dedication, enthusiasm, stewardship, and leadership in preserving this iconic treasure and its stories for future generations.

With an illustrious 110-year history in the heart of downtown Nashville, The Hermitage Hotel is deeply committed to protecting and preserving its ties to the past and remaining a cherished historic landmark for the city. Known as Nashville’s original million-dollar property, The Hermitage is a timeless icon of Southern hospitality and the state’s most luxurious hotel.

When the Hermitage opened in 1910, it advertised its rooms as “fireproof, noise proof and dustproof, $2.00 and up”. It was designed by the Tennessee-born architect J.E.R. Carpenter and named for President Andrew Jackson’s estate, “The Hermitage”. J.E.R. Carpenter was one of the most highly-regarded architects in the U.S. who specialized in the design of upper-class apartment buildings in New York City. Many won Gold Medals from the American Institute of Architects from 1916 through 1928. Carpenter was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Commissioned by 250 Nashvillians in 1908, the Hermitage Hotel provided hot and cold circulating water which was distilled to avoid typhoid fever. Each guestroom had a private bath, telephone, electric fan and a device which indicated the arrival of mail. The Hermitage was a symbol of Nashville’s emergence as a major Southern city. As Nashville’s first million-dollar hotel, no expense was spared in its furnishings: sienna marble in the entrance; wall panels of Russian walnut; a stained glass ceiling in the vaulted lobby; Persian rugs and massive overstuffed furniture. Downstairs, adjoining the Oak Bar, was the Grille Room (now the Capitol Grille) which was built by German craftsmen and a design.

The Hermitage has enjoyed a long relationship with the music industry as Nashville became known as Music City and home of the historic Grand Ole Opry. Nashville’s first million-selling record, “New Year” was composed by the hotel’s band leader, Francis Craig in 1947, and helped the major recording companies to locate studios in Nashville. The hotel was the headquarters for the suffragette movement in 1920 as the state of Tennessee cast the deciding ballot in passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The Hermitage was also the home for eight years of legendary pool player Minnesota “Fats” where the hotel management installed a $3200 Steepleton billiards table on the mezzanine above the lobby.

One of the longest-serving general managers of the Hermitage was Howard E. Baughman who was highly energetic and able. He managed the hotel from 1929 to 1946 and was remembered by W.D. Brown who ran the hotel barbershop for forty-seven years:

He was really a hotel man. He was always busy. I would open shop at eight o’clock. At 8:05 every morning he would walk in my door. He had already started at the top and inspected everything hiking all the way down to the basement. There were always a lot of bellboys around in those days. If he started talking to someone in the lobby, he might motion to one of the boys. The bellboy know what to do. He went to the desk and got the man’s name and slipped it to Mr. Baughman, who always liked to call a guest by his name. He was as straight as he could be. He would do anything for a guest. If the hotel was full and a regular guest came in he would take him to his apartment. Baughman had an apartment on the sixth floor.

For many years, the Hermitage was the center of Nashville’s social and political life hosting everything from formal functions in its grand ballroom to pep rallies for Vanderbilt University’s football team. The Meyer Hotel Company leased the hotel from 1913 to 1956. In 1956, the Hermitage was sold to the Alsonett Hotels Company who, after years of difficulty and deterioration finally shut it down in 1979. The Brock Hotel Corporation, the nation’s largest independent operator of Holiday Inns, acquired the hotel and, after an extensive renovation reopened it in 1981. But Brock was not successful and in 2000 sold the Hermitage to Historic Hotels of Nashville whose stated business goal was to gain the AAA Five-Diamond rating. During a multi-year $17 million renovation and restoration project, architect Ron Gobbell used historic photographs as a guide for the faithful and interpretive restoration, with interior design work by ForrestPerkins LLC.

In the ballroom, where the burled walnut paneling had dulled thanks to years of deterioration and grime, crews worked tirelessly to remove the dirt and old varnish by hand. Once the wood had been stripped, they hand-applied three new coats of varnish to restore the paneling’s lustrous gleam. Throughout the various renovations, there’s one part of the hotel that has remained virtually untouched: the green and black Art Deco-style men’s room in the basement. Originally white tiled, it was remodeled in the WWII era. After rebuilding its shoeshine stand, the bathroom has become a landmark in its own right, even winning the title of “America’s Best Restroom” in an online contest.

Director of Finance at the Hermitage Hotel is Tom Vickstrom who is also a talented and impassioned hotel historian. His indefatigable research has resulted in a series of newsletters, “Reflections from the Past” which are written for the ever-growing circle of friends and associates who enjoy history and have a special sentimental connection with the Hermitage Hotel. The newsletters are chock-full of vintage photographs; stories about Hermitage guests, famous and infamous; family recollections; great memories; old menus; nostalgic wedding pictures; former employees; and Hermitage Hotel memorabilia.

The Hermitage Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is Tennessee’s only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award hotel.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 235: Hotel History: Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate (1901)

Stanley Turkel | August 12, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito, California (142 rooms)

The history of the spectacular site of the Lodge at the Golden Gate commences with the coastal Miwok Indian tribes who occupied Horseshoe Cove long before there was a Golden Gate Bridge. In 1866, the U.S. Army acquired the site for a military base to fortify the north side of the harbor entrance. The twenty-four buildings around the ten-acre parade ground at Fort Baker were developed between 1901 and 1915.

Designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style as permanent housing for the Coast Artillary Corps (active from 1907-1950), Fort Baker was a big improvement over former dilapidated army facilities. It offered clean water, modern plumbing and well-designed living quarters. The Army added a gymnasium, reading room, bowling alley, post exchange and a small hospital.

As the United States entered World War II, the army created the harbor defenses of San Francisco which commanded most of the Bay Area fortifications including Fort Baker, Fort Cronkhite and Fort Barry. Fort Baker’s Horseshoe Cove became the hub of the Harbor Defense’s mine depot, where metal mines with 800 pounds of TNT were planted out at sea. Horseshoe Cove also was the home of the Marine Repair Shop which maintained the civilian boats that were conscripted for use in the mine depot.

After the end of World War II, the threat of air attack surpassed that of naval assault and Fort Baker became the headquarters for the Sixth U.S. Army Air Defense Command Region which housed and deployed anti-aircraft missiles.

From 1970 until the 1990s, the 91st Infantry Division, or “The Wild West Division,” was stationed at Fort Baker under the command of the Travis Air Force Base. The 91st had been active in both world wars, but was deactivated in 1945. One year later, the 91st was reactivated as a part of the U.S. Army Reserve. The Wild West Division was responsible for creating the training exercises used by the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve Combat Support, and the Combat Service Support.

During this era, Fort Baker was designated for transfer to the National Park Service when it was no longer needed as a military base. In 1973, it was officially listed as a Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1995, the armed forces transferred the land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. By the end of 2,000, there were no soldiers left at Fort Baker as the 91st moved on to Camp Parks, California. As of 2002, Fort Baker was no longer a military post; it was a park.

In January of 2005, an agreement was reached between the city, the National Park Service, and developers that Fort Baker be renovated and turned into a hotel and conference center. Thirteen historic lodgings have been renovated as well as seven historic common buildings.

Cavallo Point – The Lodge at the Golden Gate opened in 2008 on 45 acres with half of the 142 lodging units located in landmark buildings on the 10-acre parade ground – most offering spectacular views of San Francisco and the Bay. The other half are 21st century units designed for environmental sustainability with commanding views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cavallo Point provides more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space to host seminars, educational programs and corporate events. The lodge’s Healing Arts Center and Spa has 12 treatment rooms, a heated basking pool and a medicinal herb garden where guests can pick their own ingredients for treatments. The Murray Circle restaurant has a Michelin star and serves French-inspired California cuisine and has a 13,000-bottle wine cellar.

The lodge also serves as the home for the Institute at the Golden Gate, an environmental organization that is a project of the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy and the National Parks Service. Cavallo Point offers an ambitious program of cooking classes including a soufflé workshop, cooking from the Farmer’s Market and a chocolate workshop.

Fodor’s Review sums up Cavallo Point in these glowing terms:

“Set in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this luxury hotel and resort with a one-of-a-kind location on a former army post contains well-appointed eco-friendly rooms. Most of them overlook a massive lawn with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Murray Circle, the on-site restaurant, uses top-notch California ingredients and has an impressive wine cellar, and the neighboring casual bar offers food and drink on a large porch.”

Fort Baker is listed as a Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places and Cavallo Point was named one of ten “New Green American Landmarks” by Travel & Leisure. Cavallo Point – The Lodge at the Golden Gate is a member of Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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cavallo pointhotel historylodge at the golden gatenobody asked mestan turkelstanley turkel

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Hotel History: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton International

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 234: Curt R. Strand, President, Hilton International

Stanley Turkel | July 21, 2020

by Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: Curt R. Strand (1920-2020)

On July 12, 2020, I received the following email:

“Dear Friends of Curt, With a broken heart, I am telling you that Curt passed away last night in his home. He was, as you would expect gallant till the end. Love, Barbara Lynn”.

In 1948, Conrad Hilton formed Hilton Hotels International. One of the first employees was Curt R. Strand who wrote in the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly June 1996*:

“Hilton International started small in 1947, but I was endowed with a great asset. It is a wise parent who does not bestow money on his children, just in good education. The parent, Conrad Hilton, was a consummate deal maker. He had an intuition about hotels as real estate that was unmatched in his time.

Hilton International was started with the opening of the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico a destination practically unknown in the United States. The island was eager to attract business organizations to investigate its newly-established tax haven. Puerto Rican government officials realized that they needed a first-class hotel to attract investors. In Lessons of a Lifetime: The Development of Hilton International, Curt Strand wrote that he started his hotel career at the Plaza Hotel in New York without knowing that it was owned by Conrad Hilton. Hilton’s first hotel outside the United States was in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Hilton came up with a novel idea: he would design, lease and operate a new hotel that the government would finance through the sale of bonds.

The rent was not to be fixed and could not therefore be considered a financial obligation. Instead the rent was based on operating profits (two-thirds of GOP, if you can believe it). Today, this type of proposal would be commonplace, but at the time it was a revolutionary twist that had never been tried with hotels or any other real-estate deal. All Hilton put up was $300,000 for operating equipment and initial working capital. By no coincidence this was the total amount of cash Hilton’s board grudgingly gave him to invest in his new subsidiary, Hilton International.”

Strand then assessed the difficulties that Conrad Hilton had with his own board of directors:

“Conrad Hilton had the vision of what we now call globalization back in 1947, but he did not have the means to achieve such a vision because his board of directors wanted no part of it. At that time, with so much of world’s economy inoperative, expansion mean taking financial risk. The genesis of Hilton’s–and the industry’s–globalization was a confluence of three factors, almost historic accidents. Those factors were demand, an entrepreneur and financing. Most of Europe and much of Asia lay devastated by war in 1947. Every country had a critical need to earn hard currency but was incapable of producing much for export, since industry and agriculture were in ruins. Tourism was one of the few prospects and it was a good one.”

Some of Strand’s recollections of the difficulties faced by Hilton International all over the world reflect the experiences of a pioneering hotel company:

“At least for the company’s first ten years (from 1947), hotel demand grew everywhere but even in Europe much travel was primitive and most other areas were not ready for development. In Cairo, a hotel was constructed by 6,000 women carrying cement mix on their heads up 12 stories because there was no crane. (This was considered normal women’s work, but when that Cairo hotel opened, all the waitresses had college degrees because there were not enough jobs for college-educated women.) In Addis Ababa criminals often met justice in the form of a public hanging, unfortunately in a spot on the road to the airport. (I personally asked the emperor to relocate the gallows, and he did so.) In Rome it took our owners, the largest construction company in Italy, ten years to get a building permit, due to politics and bureaucracy. The independence date of Barbados depended on completion of our hotel–both delayed of course.”

Strand also described the creation and evolution of the hotel management agreement:

“With our competitive advantage, we fought hard to gain the best terms possible in our management agreements. Terms extended up to 50 years, management fees were 3 to 5 percent of revenue plus 10 percent of GOP. Contracts did not allow for earnings tests or cancellations clauses, let alone forecast guarantees. The idea of sharing management with owners we felt to be analogous to driving a car with two steering wheels. If a prospective owner felt that we should give him our name and he would exercise his managerial judgment on budgets and key staff, we felt we would be better off to pass on that opportunity.”

In order to expand, Hilton International had to build a staff of architects, engineers, interior designers, project managers, kitchen and back-of-the-house planners.

Strand said that Charles Anderson Bell was in charge of that difficult function for many years:

“We paid considerable attention to food and beverage facilities and quality. Our experience was that 80 percent of all room reservations were made locally. How do locals form an impression of a hotel? From attending functions there, from the coffee shop and from the restaurants. Somebody can always make a case for closing a hotel’s dining room. The savings are easy to calculate but not the loss in standing and reputation. While concepts do have to change, a full-service hotel is not full service without a credible food-and-beverage operation. There is no excuse for building a five-star hotel in a two-star location, and that fundamental mistake cannot be corrected by closing the restaurant….”

After opening, these new hotels were extraordinarily beneficial to the sponsoring countries. They created new jobs which required extensive training in new skills. Hilton was savvy enough to design hotels which featured the national culture and utilized local arts, crafts, paintings and sculpture. Still, many locals felt ignored by the foreign managers who sometimes did not adapt quickly to the local customs and bureaucracies.

Strand reported that ten years after its start in Puerto Rico, Hilton International had opened just eight hotels.

“We had a big name but a small base… Our goal was to get into Europe, because that was the place with the greatest demand for rooms both for business people and for tourists, particularly with the introduction of jet planes in the late ‘50s. … Our strategy became one of establishing an outer perimeter of locations where demand for our evolving experience was particularly strong. Spain (under Francisco Franco at the time), for example, was desperate for a Western link.

Turkey was developing into a 20th-century state based on its magnificent history and culture. Berlin was isolated and still recovering from the strangulation of the Soviet embargo (overcome by the Western air lift of supplies). Egypt was just emerging from colonialism, once again an independent power.

We also strengthened our reputation by operating properties in the New World. Cuba (before Fidel Castro) wished to emulate Puerto Rico’s success and that the newly developed gambling mecca of LasVegas.”

In the Spring of 2015, Curt Strand wrote a fascinating monograph entitled “Memories of Pioneering” which tells the stories of twelve openings of Hilton International Hotels. You can find the copy in my book, “Hotel Mavens Volume 3” AuthorHouse 2020.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

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Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 233: Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel

Stanley Turkel | June 30, 2020

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Hotel History: The Adolphus Hotel (407 rooms)

The Adolphus Hotel was built by and named for Adolphus Busch, the founder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. Legend has it that Adolphus Busch donated the hotel to Dallas as a thank you for its enthusiastic acceptance of his famous Midwestern brew. It was designed in a Beaux-Arts style by architects Barnett, Haynes & Barnett of St. Louis who also designed the Hamilton Hotel, St. Louis; the Hotel Claridge, Memphis; the Connor Hotel, Joplin; the Marquette Hotel, St. Louis; the Southern Hotel, Chicago and the Mark Twain Hotel, Hannibal.

The hotel, a full city block long and 19 floors when built, is rich with unusual architectural elements including a “beer-bottle” turret and French Renaissance carvings depicting Greek figures, floral designs and mythical animals. Shortly after opening, the Adolphus attracted visiting diplomats, royalty, movie stars and United States presidents. Franklin Delano Roosevelt celebrated a birthday, Queen Elizabeth sipped tea and Rudolph Valentino had dinner with friends.

Under the management of Otto Schubert from 1922-1946, the Adolphus gained a national reputation. In 1916, the architects Otto Lang and Frank Witchell designed an annex called the “Junior Adolphus” which added 229 guestrooms. Lang & Witchell designed a number of other buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The firm dominated construction in Dallas from 1910 to 1942 and designed great buildings such as the Dallas Power & Light and the Lone Star Gas Company, both of which opened in 1931.

The Adolphus Hotel underwent additional expansions, first in 1916, then in 1926 and finally in 1950 to bring the total number of guestrooms to 1,200. With a rooftop restaurant, the Adolphus was nighttime hot spot through the Roaring ‘20s and the Great Depression. Once the largest fully air-conditioned hotel in the world, it was later downsized to 422 larger guestrooms to provide more space, more suites, more bathrooms and more comfort for its guests.

In the 1930s, the Adolphus was run by hotel industry pioneer Ralph Hitz’s National Hotel Management Company and featured Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.

Another big hit was Art Victor’s Ice Time Revue featuring Olympic star Dorothy Franey in the Adolphus Century Room. She was a pioneer in women’s sports who embodied the Olympic spirit. In 1932, she helped introduce women’s speed skating as a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Earlier, Dorothy Franey was a tennis, basketball, softball and diving champion who set world speed-skating records as a high school senior.

The Adolphus Hotel was featured in Victor H. Green’s Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. Green’s Book was a guide for blacks seeking hotels, restaurants, hair salons and gas stations who accepted their patronage.

During the 1944 presidential election, President Franklin Roosevelt’s campaign headquarters was located on the hotel’s seventh floor. The Busch family owned the Adolphus for 37 years, despite the founder’s untimely death just one year after opening. In 1949, Leo Corrigan, a real estate developer, bought the Adolphus Hotel. Along with the adjacent Baker Hotel, the Adolphus shared the most important citywide functions, conventions and athletic events.

Perhaps no newspaper columnist knew Dallas better than R.W. Apple Jr. of the New York Times. On December 17, 1999 he wrote:

“The words and music have stuck in my mind for 40-odd years, because they seemed so apt. Frank Loesser wrote them for a musical called “The Most Happy Fella,” and they stopped the show every time.

Big money, big hair, big talk. Such is the lingering sterotype of this city. It occupies a sizable spot in the national consciousness as the home of the big, bad Dallas Cowboys, of J.R. Ewing and Miss Ellie and all the gang at Southfork, and of the little guy with the big ears and bigger ambition, H. Ross Perot, who was a billionaire before he turned 40.

And for those old enough to recall the events of November 1963, it occupies an especially dark corner of memory, as the cursed place where John F. Kennedy was shot.”

Today’s Adolphus, a AAA five-diamond recipient since 1983, features 407 guestrooms including nine-foot ceilings, separate sitting areas, walk-in closets, down comforters and marble baths. Adolphus Busch’s original Penthouse Suite occupies the hotel’s top floor. The hotel was named one of the country’s top ten meeting facilities. In addition to the French Renaissance-inspired Grand Ballroom and 4,500 square foot Century Room, the hotel has five conference/classrooms and   boardrooms.

In 1981, the Adolphus’ third owner, the Westgroup Partners commenced an $80 million restoration of the hotel. The massive project combined several adjacent buildings with the original tower and was awarded the 1982 American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

The Adolphus has been named one of the top ten hotels in the United States by Condé Nast Traveller and received high ratings from Zagat, Fodor’s and Frommer’s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

My New Book “Hotel Mavens Volume 3: Bob and Larry Tisch, Curt Strand, Ralph Hitz, Cesar Ritz, Raymond Orteig” has been published.

My Other Published Hotel Books

  • Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
  • Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt, Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
  • Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
  • Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)
  • Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)
  • Great American Hotel Architects Volume I (2019)

All of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse by visiting www.stanleyturkel.com and clicking on the book’s title.

If You Need an Expert Witness:

For the past twenty-seven years, I have served as an expert witness in more than 42 hotel-related cases. My extensive hotel operating experience is beneficial in cases involving:

  • slip and fall accidents
  • wrongful deaths
  • fire and carbon monoxide injuries
  • hotel security issues
  • dram shop requirements
  • hurricane damage and/or business interruption cases

Feel free to call me at no charge on 917-628-8549 to discuss any hotel-related expert witness assignment.

ABOUT STANLEY TURKEL

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and the 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of hotel history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion and a greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Turkel is the most widely-published hotel consultant in the United States. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases, provides asset management and hotel franchising consultation. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

stanturkel@aol.com/917-628-8549

Categories

Instagram

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hotel historynobody asked mestan turkelstanley turkelthe adolphus hotel

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