By: Kevin Duffy
On a recent visit to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I discovered a magnificent hotel known as the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Seeing such an old, yet elegant hotel in a small town made me think that there must be numerous historic hotels throughout the country. Sure enough, the concierge confirmed my assumption. This ornate hotel in Bethlehem is part of a group of hotels known as the Historic Hotels of America. The Historic Hotels of America is a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve historic places in the United States.
For all you history buffs, the Historic Hotels of America website offers a timeline depicting the events in history that occurred at the time that certain hotels were being built. For example, the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York was built the same year that Rutgers and Princeton played the very first game of football.
The historic hotels in Manhattan include the Essex House, the Plaza and the Waldorf Astoria. The original Waldorf Astoria opened on March 13, 1893, but was torn down in 1929 to make way for the construction of the Empire State Building. Completed in 1931, the present hotel located on Park Avenue, 15 blocks north of the original, was the largest and tallest in the world at the time of construction. At 625’, it was a far cry from the 1165’ JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the tallest hotel in the world today. Over the years, the Waldorf Astoria has undergone numerous restoration efforts to comply with New York City’s Local Law 11/98, as well as to help preserve its glamorous art deco façade.
Next time you travel, consider staying at a historic hotel. Patronizing these historic hotels allows hotel management to fund future restoration and preservation projects, such as roof replacements, cornice replacements or façade restorations and maintain the architectural history of our great country. Sullivan Engineering is a leader in the field of historic preservation, and we support all efforts to preserve older styles of architecture for future generations to enjoy.