|Omni Parker House Hotel|
Omni Parker House hotel in October 2010
|Hotel chain||Omni Hotels|
|Address||60 School Street|
|Opening||1855 (original hotel), 1927 (current building)|
|Number of rooms||551|
Built in 1927, the Omni Parker House is a historic hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. The original Parker House Hotel opened on the site on October 8, 1855, making it until recently the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States. Additions and alterations were made to the original building starting only five years after its opening. Between 1866 and 1925, the hotel increased in size with new stories and additions, eventually expanding its footprint over 41,400 square feet of land—the bulk of the city lot bordered by Tremont, School, and Bosworth Streets and Chapman Place. Founder Harvey D. Parker ran the hotel until his death in 1884, when the business passed on to his partners. Subsequent proprietors of the Parker House were Edward O. Punchard and Joseph H. Beckman (1884–1891), Joseph Reed Whipple and the J. R. Whipple Corporation (1891–1933), Glenwood Sherrard (1933–1968), the Dunfey family (1968–1996), and Robert Rowling of TRT Holdings (1996–present).Omni Parker House, Boston, is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is currently under study for becoming a Boston Landmark.
Opened in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker and located on School Street near the corner of Tremont, not far from the seat of the Massachusetts state government, the hotel has long been a rendezvous for politicians.
The hotel was home to the Saturday Club, which met on the fourth Saturday of every month, except during July, August, and September. Among the Saturday Club’s nineteenth-century members were poet, essayist, and preeminent transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and The Atlantic Monthly editor James Russell Lowell, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, poets John Greenleaf Whittier and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, diplomat Charles Francis Adams, historian Francis Parkman, and sage-about-town Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Charles Dickens resided in the Parker House for five months in 1867–1868 in his own apartments; he first recited and performed "A Christmas Carol" for the Saturday Club at the Parker House, then again for the adoring public at nearby Tremont Temple.The Parker House currently holds possession of the door to Dickens' guest room when he stayed in 1867 and the mirror used by him for rehearsals.
The hotel introduced to America what became known as the European Plan. Prior to that time, American hotels had included meals in the cost of a room, and offered them only at set times. The Parker House charged only for the room, with meals charged separately and offered whenever the guest chose.
Actor John Wilkes Booth stayed at the hotel April 5–6, 1865, eight days before assassinating Abraham Lincoln. He was apparently in Boston to see his brother, actor Edwin Booth, who was performing there. While in Boston, Booth was seen practicing at a firing range near the Parker House.
The Parker House created Massachusetts’ state dessert, Boston cream pie;invented the Parker House roll; and coined the word "scrod," which is not a kind of fish, but a term for the freshest, finest, and youngest white fish of the day.
Jacques Offenbach stayed at the hotel during an 1876 tour of the U.S., and, inspired by the rolls, sang a tune to friends as a joke. He would later use it as a theme in his opera, The Tales of Hoffmann .
On May 31, 1884, when founder Harvey Parker died at the age of 79, he was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, the “permanent home” of many of Boston’s most prestigious people. The ambitious Maine farm boy who arrived in Boston almost penniless in 1825, died with a net worth of $1,272,546.94. Parker’s will granted $100,000 to Boston’s new Museum of Fine Arts, and provided the foundation for its Print Department.
In 1891, J. Reed Whipple assumed control of the Parker House. To provide his Boston diners with the freshest and finest food products available, Whipple established his own 2,500-acre dairy farm in New Boston, New Hampshire. Valley View Farm was divided into Dairy, Piggery, and Hennery Departments, employing some ninety people. In order to make daily deliveries to Boston, Whipple helped build a railroad depot in New Boston and connected it to existing main lines with a spur track later leased to the Boston & Maine Railroad.
The original Parker House building and later architectural additions were demolished in the mid 1920s, and replaced in 1927 with a sleek, modern building, essentially the one that stands there today. One wing of the nineteenth century hotel remained open until the new building was completed in 1927, enabling the hotel to lay claim to being "America's oldest operating hotel".
James Michael Curley, the charismatic, Irish-American "Mayor of the Poor" who dominated Boston politics for the first half of the twentieth century, was a constant presence at the Parker House, in part because Old City Hall stood directly across from the hotel on School Street. The Omni Parker House bar, The Last Hurrah, was named for Edwin O'Connor's 1956 novel of the same name, a thinly disguised chronicling of Mayor Curley’s colorful life.
John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for Congress at the Parker House in 1946 and also held his bachelor party in the hotel's Press Room there in 1953.Then Senator Kennedy also proposed to his future wife, Jackie Bouvier, at Table 40 in Parker's Restaurant located inside the Hotel.
The hotel was bought by Dunfey Hotels in 1968.The Dunfeys rejuvenated and reinvented the Parker House as a historic/contemporary destination of choice and laid claim to its intellectual history. Inspired by the nineteenth-century Saturday Club, they founded the New England Circle in 1974, purposeful gatherings of activists from a variety of backgrounds and experiences designed to advance civil and civic dialogue and inspire constructive community change. In 1983, that chain bought Omni Hotels and reorganized itself, with the Dunfey name phased out and the Parker House placed in the Omni division.
The hotel currently has 551 rooms and suites.In 2009, AAA named the hotel one of the top 10 historic U.S. hotels. The Omni Parker House is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America program.
Ho Chi Minh worked as a baker at the hotel from 1912 to 1913. Malcolm X, then going by the name Malcolm Little, worked as a busboy at the hotel in the 1940s.Long before he was a culinary superstar, Emeril Lagasse served as Sous Chef in the Parker kitchens from 1979 to 1981.
For more than 150 years, the Parker House has appeared in prose and poetry set in and around Boston.
Edith Wharton included a private meeting between characters Mr. Newland Archer and Countess Ellen Olenska at the Parker House in her celebrated work of the early 20th century, The Age of Innocence .Archer is told that the Countess Olenska is staying in Boston at the Parker House, and he flees Newport to meet her there.
In Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' Willy Loman claims he 'met a salesman in the Parker House'. One imagines that as today a salesman would meet people in the public areas of such a grand hotel but stay, like Willy, at somewhere like the 'Standish Arms'.
Although many "haunting" books and "ghost tours" claim that Stephen King's 1999 short story 1408 —about a writer who experiences a haunted stay at a New York hotel called the Dolphin—was based on Room 303 of the Parker House and the supernatural events surrounding the room, King's personal assistant says that claim is false.
In March 1877, humorist Mark Twain was staying at the Parker House in room 168. A reporter from the Boston Globe entered Twain's room, shuttled in by a porter. After a pause of several moments, Twain swiveled around in his large easy chair and faced his visitor. With a local newspaper in hand and puffing on a large cigar, Twain observed to the reporter, "You see for yourself that I'm pretty near heaven—not theologically, of course, but by the hotel standard."Twain's quote inspired the title for the definitive history of the Parker House, Heaven, By Hotel Standards, written by Susan Wilson and most recently published in 2019.
In Donna Tartt's 1992 novel The Secret History, the characters stayed at the Parker House, mentioning it was where Dickens had stayed. In Anita Diamant's 2004 novel, The Boston Girl, the main character experiences a bad date at the Parker House.
The 2011 Grammy award-winning Parker Quartet, both founded and currently based in Boston, is named after the hotel.
The Age of Innocence is a 1920 novel by American author Edith Wharton. It was her twelfth novel, and was initially serialized in 1920 in four parts, in the magazine Pictorial Review. Later that year, it was released as a book by D. Appleton & Company. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. Though the committee had initially agreed to give the award to Sinclair Lewis for Main Street, the judges, in rejecting his book on political grounds, "established Wharton as the American 'First Lady of Letters'". The story is set in the 1870s, in upper-class, "Gilded-Age" New York City. Wharton wrote the book in her 50s, after she had established herself as a strong author, with publishers clamoring for her work.
James Thomas Fields was an American publisher, editor, and poet.
The Graduate Providence is an upscale hotel that opened in 1922 as the Providence Biltmore Hotel, part of the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels chain. It is located on the southern corner of Kennedy Plaza at 11 Dorrance Street in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Ogden Codman Jr. was an American architect and interior decorator in the Beaux-Arts styles, and co-author with Edith Wharton of The Decoration of Houses (1897), which became a standard in American interior design.
The Omni Royal Orleans is a 345-room hotel on the corner of St. Louis and Royal Streets near Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was constructed in 1960 as the Royal Orleans, on the site of the old St. Louis Hotel, which was ruined by the 1915 New Orleans hurricane. The exterior was designed by architect Samuel Wilson Jr., while the interior was designed by Arthur Davis.
Tremont House, sometimes called the Tremont Hotel, was a hotel designed in 1829 by Isaiah Rogers in Boston, Massachusetts. Notable guests included Davy Crockett and Charles Dickens.
The Age of Innocence is a 1993 American historical romantic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay, an adaptation of the 1920 novel The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, was written by Scorsese and Jay Cocks. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Miriam Margolyes, and was released by Columbia Pictures. The film recounts the courtship and marriage of Newland Archer (Day-Lewis), a wealthy New York society attorney, to May Welland (Ryder); Archer then encounters and legally represents the Countess Olenska (Pfeiffer) prior to unexpected romantic entanglements.
The Park Central Hotel is a 25-story, 935-room hotel located across the street from Carnegie Hall at 870 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Dickens in America is a 2005 television documentary following Charles Dickens' travels across the United States in 1842, during which the young journalist penned a travel book, American Notes.
School Street is a short but significant street in the center of Boston, Massachusetts. It is so named for being the site of the first public school in the United States. The school operated at various addresses on the street from 1704 to 1844.
Harvey D. Parker (1805–1884), also known as H.D. Parker, was an hotelier in Boston, Massachusetts. He built the Parker House, the first hotel in the United States "on the European Plan".
The Saturday Club, established in 1855, was an informal monthly gathering in Boston, Massachusetts, of writers, scientists, philosophers, historians, and other notable thinkers of the mid-Nineteenth Century.
Cummings and Sears was an architecture firm in 19th-century Boston, Massachusetts, established by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears. In the 1860s they kept an office in the Studio Building on Tremont Street, moving in the 1870s to Pemberton Square.
Young's Hotel (1860–1927) in Boston, Massachusetts, was located on Court Street in the Financial District, in a building designed by William Washburn. George Young established the business, later taken over by Joseph Reed Whipple and George G. Hall. Guests at Young's included Mark Twain, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Sumner, Rutherford B. Hayes, and numerous others.
The Age of Innocence (1934) is an American drama film directed by Philip Moeller and starring Irene Dunne, John Boles and Lionel Atwill. The film is an adaptation of the novel The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, set in the fashionable New York society of the 1870s. Prolific on Broadway, Philip Moeller directed only two films: this, and the 1935 Break of Hearts with Katharine Hepburn.
Hotel Touraine (1897-1966) in Boston, Massachusetts, was a residential hotel on the corner of Tremont Street and Boylston Street, near the Boston Common. The architecture firm of Winslow and Wetherell designed the 11-story building in the Jacobethan style, constructed of "brick and limestone;" its "baronial" appearance was "patterned inside and out after a 16th-century chateau of the dukes of Touraine." It had dining rooms and a circulating library. Owners included Joseph Reed Whipple and George A. Turain.
Parker, Thomas and Rice and Parker & Thomas were architectural firms formed in the early 20th century by partners J. Harleston Parker, Douglas H. Thomas, and Arthur W. Rice.
The Age of Innocence is a 1924 American silent film directed by Wesley Ruggles. It is the first film adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence. It was produced and distributed by Warner Brothers.
Historic Hotels of America (HHA) is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that was founded in 1989 with 32 charter members; the programs accepts nominations and identifies hotels that have maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity. As of June 5, 2015, the program included over 260 members in 44 states, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Berkshire Hotel, now known as Omni Berkshire Place, is a hotel in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts. Located at 21 East 52nd Street, near Madison Avenue, it opened in 1926 and was designed by architects Warren & Wetmore in Classical Revival style. It was built as a residential hotel and was part of the "Terminal City" project consisting of hotels and apartment buildings in the area around Grand Central Terminal. It now has 395 guestrooms and suites, but previously had up to 500 suites.
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