to National Trust Historic Hotels of America
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2005) – National Trust Historic Hotels of America announces the addition of six new members. This selection brings the program’s total membership to 219 hotels, representing 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“Travelers today expect more from their lodging experiences,” said Thierry Roch, executive director of Historic Hotels of America. “With histories dating back as far as the mid-1800s, these hotels showcase the diversity of America from the big cities of Boston and New York to rural communities and resort settings. We are pleased to add these hotels of our collection.”
The new member hotels offer travelers a diversity of locales from the Northwoods of Minnesota, to the mountains of North Carolina. One showcases a religious community while another was in the midst of the fight to be admitted as a free state. One is the home of the literary round table and another is home of the Boston cream pie. Here’s a sampling of interesting facts highlighting the history of the hotels as well as personalities who have walked through the doors.
Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston is America’s longest continuously operating full-service hotel. Malcolm X was employed as a waiter at the Parker House and Ho Chi Minh worked in the hotel’s bakery during his time as a student at M.I.T.
In the 1920s, Dorothy Parker and her literary friends met regularly as the legendary round table at The Algonquin Hotel in New York.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Ky., is part of a living history museum that seeks to preserve and interpret the Shaker utopian vision of life. The sect was known as Shakers for the euphoric trembling that accompanied their worship; today visitors can see a demonstration of clapping, spinning and other displays of religious ecstasy during prayer. This shows the lively side of these otherwise plainspoken, pragmatic people. The National Historic Landmark is located on 2,900 acres of farmland and includes 34 original 19th-century buildings, of which 15 are lodging.
Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minn., located three hours north of Minneapolis, is a popular Northwoods resort destination with dense pine forests and lakes with two and half miles of scenic shoreline.
From its inception as the Free State Hotel—showcasing the owners’ clear intention that Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a free state—the hotel was twice burn to the ground in the 1800s. Colonel Eldridge rebuilt the hotel in 1865. The modern Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kan., was built in 1925.
Highlands, N.C., the hometown of the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, was founded in 1875 by two developers who reputedly took a map and drew two straight lines–one from New York to New Orleans and the second from Chicago to Savannah. They predicted the intersection would develop into a bustling metropolis. Instead, the area’s natural beauty became its hallmark.
A program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America is a membership-based marketing association. To qualify for membership, hotels must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or recognized locally as having historic significance. Established in 1989 with 32 original hotel members, Historic Hotels of America recognizes and promotes these hotels for their historic integrity, architectural quality and outstanding preservation efforts made by owners and managers.
Representing more than 38,000 rooms, Historic Hotels of America ranks as the 14th largest hotel consortia in the world, according to Hotels magazine (July 2004).
National Trust Historic Hotels of America New Members, April 2005
Eldridge Hotel, Lawrence, Kan.
The historic Eldridge Hotel has twice emerged from ruins to proudly stand as a reminder of Lawrence’s colorful past. From its inception as the Free State Hotel, the property has embodied the spirit and resilience of its community. It was this powerful symbolism that made the hotel a target during the fiercely contested Missouri/Kansas Border War and again during the 1860s when it was viciously attacked by rebel marauder William Quantrill and his notorious raiders. The hotel’s subsequent rebirth established it as one of the finest hotels in the West, largely due to the staunch support of the townspeople. The present structure was built in 1925 and has evolved over the years, constantly striving to offer the finest in hospitality and service. Following an extensive renovation, the Eldridge Hotel is scheduled to reopen in mid-May 2005, as an all-suite hotel. The hotel is located in downtown Lawrence. The University of Kansas main campus and the Lied Center are a ten minute drive from the hotel. (48 suites)
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, Ky.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is a living history museum that seeks to preserve and interpret the Shaker way of life. Here the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers, created a utopian community. By 1823, more than 490 Shakers lived at Pleasant Hill and worked on more than 4,500 acres. As America’s largest and most comprehensive Shaker community, Shaker Village also affords one of the most serene lodging experiences. Today, this National Historic Landmark encompasses more than 2,900 acres of farmland and 34 original 19th-century buildings. The accommodations are located in 15 buildings throughout the village. Rooms are outfitted with Shaker-reproduction furnishings, hand-woven rugs, bedspreads and curtains. The last surviving Shaker died in 1923. The ownership of the buildings and land changed hands many times and several of the structures fell into disrepair. Thanks to the skilled craftsmanship of the Shakers, the largest of the buildings remained sound and were incorporated into everyday town life, serving as a general store, restaurant, church and even a gas station. The non-profit Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill was formed in 1961 to revitalize and restore the legacy of the Shaker Village. Located in the heart of Kentucky bluegrass country, Shaker Hill is 25 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky. (81 guest rooms, suites and cottages)
Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minn.
Set on more than 1,000 acres with two and half miles of scenic shoreline, Madden’s on Gull Lake boasts a variety of activities from 63-holes of world-class golf, a full service marina, swimming, tennis, croquet, trapshooting, biking, full-service spa, two airstrips and more. The dense pine forests of the Minnesota Northwoods were once rich hunting grounds for the native Chippewa Indians. Lieutenant Zebulon Pike was the first white man to reach the area in 1805 while trying to find the source of the Mississippi River. Several decades later, Brainerd was selected by the Northern Pacific Railroad for its headquarters. The area also became a vacation spot. An entrepreneur named T. H. Harrison sought to develop his Gull Lake property and lure visitors. Eventually, his son, John Harrison, constructed a golf course and partnered with hotelier Arthur Roberts who built the Pine Beach Hotel. In 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression, the lease of the golf course and hotel was turned over to Jack Madden and his uncle, Tom for $500. Younger brother Jim Madden joined Jack in 1936. Jim expanded the original facilities while Jack developed Madden Lodge by adding to the three small cabins known as Mission Point. During the next six decades Madden’s continued to expand the resort complex. Located three hours from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, the 75-year old resort is open seasonally from April through October. (297 units ranging from guest rooms to lake house units and cabins in historic and modern accommodations)
Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston
Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the Omni Parker House is America’s longest continuously operating full-service hotel. Opening in 1855, its most notable patrons were the members of the Saturday Club, a group of literary geniuses which included philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and authors Oliver Wendell Holmes and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Their monthly gatherings were infamous for spirited intellectual exchanges, lively readings and an abundance of food and spirits. The hotel’s proximity to the State House made it a natural watering hole for politicians such as John F. Kennedy (who proposed to Jackie here), former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and legendary mayor James Michael Curley. Notoriety was not limited to the hotel’s clientele–Malcolm X was employed as a waiter on the property and Ho Chi Minh worked in the hotel’s bakery during his time as a student at M.I.T. The Parker House has laid claim to many firsts, including being the first hotel in the city to have running water and an elevator. It was also here that Charles Dickens gave the first reading of his classic tale, “A Christmas Carol.” The Parker House is also known as the birthplace of some of America’s signature culinary delights, including Boston cream pie, Boston scrod and the hotel’s signature Parker House rolls. The hotel is located in downtown Boston at the intersection of School and Tremont Streets. (530 guest rooms and 21 suites in more than 50 different configurations)
The Algonquin, New York
The Algonquin Hotel opened its doors in 1902 in one of New York’s most stylish locales. It quickly became a favorite of local theater-goers and thespians alike. Manager Frank Case was eager to establish the hotel as a gathering place for literary and theatrical figures and welcomed such luminaries as Booth Tarkington, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., John Barrymore, H.L. Mencken and Helen Hayes. Shortly after World War I, Vanity Fair writers Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Robert E. Sherwood began meeting for lunch in the hotel. A luncheon to welcome home war correspondent and critic Alexander Woollcott was such a hit that the group decided to make it a daily event and the Algonquin round table was born. The tradition continued for a decade, enriching American literature and influencing writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. A major renovation in 2004 included such up-to-the-minute enhancements as plasma screen televisions high-speed Internet access and a fitness center. The Round Table Room, home of Dorothy Parker and her famous “Vicious Circle” of the 1920s, is still a favorite spot for pre- and post-theater dinners. The hotel’s homage to its literary connections continues in the hotel’s hallways which are covered with exclusive wallpaper featuring cartoons from the The New Yorker, custom-designed by cartoonist Robert Mankoff. The Algonquin is located in Midtown Manhattan on 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. (174 guest rooms and suites)
Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Highlands, N.C.
Highlands, N.C., was founded in 1875 by two developers who reputedly took a map and drew two straight lines–one from New York to New Orleans and the second from Chicago to Savannah. They predicted the intersection would develop into a bustling metropolis. Instead, the area’s natural beauty became its hallmark. In 1878, John Norton erected Highlands’ first boarding house, named the Central House. Fifteen years later, “Uncle Dave” Norton installed a post office in the granite store on the same property, known as the Rock Store. In 1925, the town’s police chief, “Diamond Joe” Edwards and his wife Minnie expanded Central House into a more stately structure and a few years later built a hotel on the site of the old Rock Store. Thankfully, the store was kept as the structure’s foundation, enhanced with a new brick edifice and opened as The Hotel Edwards in 1935. The property eventually closed in the 1960s. In 1982, new ownership remodeled the Hotel Edwards and the Central House, which they operated as a restaurant. Now, after a three-year, multi-million dollar renovation, the property has undergone a metamorphosis into a stylish country hotel and spa. Located in the mountains of N.C., 85 miles southwest of Asheville, N.C. (30 guest rooms, suites and cottages)
Director of Public Relations
Historic Hotels of America | National Trust for Historic Preservation 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
|Also See:||National Trust Historic Hotels of America Adds 17 Hotels; Wide Range of Architectural Styles, All Deeply Rooted in History / October 2004|
|With Hotels Dating Back to the 17th-century, National Trust Historic Hotels of America Often Played Host to Presidents and Sometimes the President Leaves Behind an Interesting Tale / February 2004|