By Stanley Turkel, CMHS
1.Hotel History: The Otesaga Hotel (1909), Cooperstown, New York (132 rooms)
This magnificent Federal-style structure with an imposing front portico supported by massive 30-foot columns occupies 700 feet of lakefront on the southern shore of Lake Otsego. The Otesaga Resort Hotel was named for the Iroquois word for "A Place of Meetings" when it was built in 1909. It is one of Americas great lakeside hotels. The Otesaga Hotel was developed by Edward Severin Clark and Stephan Carlton Clark, two grandsons of Cooperstown's prominent benefactor, Edward Clark. The family's other building projects included the Dakota apartment house in New York designed by the famous architect Henry J. Hardenburgh. The Clark brothers hired another well-known New York architect, Percy Griffin, to design the Otesaga Hotel which was universally praised for its luxurious design and amenities. Realizing the popularity of a relatively new American sport, the Clark family engaged Devereux Emmet, a famous golf course designer to lay out the Leatherstocking Golf Course. The Otesaga was voted one of the “Top 50 U.S. Golf Resorts” by Conde Nast Traveler. The Otesaga is still owned by the Clark family and has attracted guests visiting Cooperstown for more than a century.
The adjacent Cooper Inn was the home of Henry Phinney, son of noted printer and newspaper publisher Ernest Phinney, Sr. In 1927, the Clark family bought the property and in 1939 it was converted into a 4-bedroom inn. Later, after the opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it was expanded to twenty rooms and in 1999 added more private bathrooms and modern amenities. Judge William Cooper purchased the village in 1785 from Colonel George Croghan. Cooper was the father of noted American writer James Fenimore Cooper, author of "The Leatherstocking Tales", a series of novels which includes The Last of the Mohicans. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1939 by Stephen Carlton Clark and is an eight minutes walk from the hotel.
Selected as a member of the Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Otesaga continues to receive the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award for providing exceptional accommodations, excellent service and an elegant atmosphere. It blends in well with the historic Village of Cooperstown, best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Farmer’s Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum, Glimmerglass Opera and the New York State Historical Association.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2009 – after $45 million in renovations since the early '90s – Central New York's grande dame is still going strong, and today you can experience it from mid-April to the end of November. Located on the shores of the gloriously undeveloped Lake Otsego, this majestic Federal-style hotel boasts grounds and interiors as impressive as the 30-foot pillars that grace the classic portico fronting the building. Luxuriously furnished and very comfortable guest rooms are done in creamy tones and floral patterns.
*excerpted and expanded from my book “Built To Last: 100+Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi”, AuthorHouse 2013.
2. My New Book “Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry” is available now:
If you want to order an autographed hardcover copy (with dust jacket), send a check for $43.00 to:
Stanley Turkel 147-03 Jewel Avenue Flushing, N.Y. 11367
Be sure to include your mailing address.