Living History: Historic Hotels

Sure, staying in the next big thing is cool and all, but what about hotels with a story? Historic Hotels of America just added 27 new properties to its roster of places to hang your hat where famous artists, architects and athletes stayed. There are three criteria for eligibility: The hotels must be 50 years or older, be eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and have a sense of “architectural integrity.” Here are some of the more notable additions.

The Inn at Perry Cabin in Saint Michaels, Maryland, was featured in the 2005 flick Wedding Crashers as the site of the main wedding reception, but its history goes back to 1816. It was designed by a War of 1812 Navy veteran and aide-de-camp to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The property was built to resemble the commodore’s cabin on the U.S.S. Niagara.

Inn at Perry Cabin. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

Inn at Perry Cabin. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

The Blackburn Inn (1828) in Staunton, Virginia, is named for Thomas R. Blackburn, who trained as an architect under Thomas Jefferson. Their other project, the University of Virginia, is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky (1880s) used to be a bank. In the 1870s, robbers stole $300,000 from Falls City Bank, one of the largest in the country at the time. 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City was host to President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess, regularly; they frequently dined in booth four at the Savoy Grill. The 21c Museum Hotel in Nashville was designed by the firm responsible for many of Tennessee’s historical buildings, Thompson, Gibel & Asmus.  21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati was where Cincinnati Reds star outfielder Edd Roush learned about the Black Sox Scandal during the 1919 World Series. 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, was the city’s first skyscraper. 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City was formerly a Ford Motor Company assembly plant designed by renowned industrial architect Albert Kahn.

Stagecoach Inn. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

Stagecoach Inn. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

The Stagecoach Inn in Salado, Texas, (1852) hosted Robert E. Lee, Jr., Sam Houston, General George Custer and Jesse James.

The Riggs in Washington, D.C., (1891) used to be known as the “Bank of Presidents.” Twenty-three POTUSes, including Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower, kept money there. Riggs Bank also supplied the U.S. government with a loan of $7.2 million to purchase Alaska from Russia.

La Posada. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

La Posada. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa in New Mexico has been exhibiting and selling local art almost since its opening in 1881.

Famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed The Holly Inn in the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, (1895) as a health retreat. It was the site of the country’s first mini golf course. Also in the Village of Pinehurst, The Carolina Hotel was where sharpshooter Annie Oakley gave twice-weekly shooting exhibitions as head of the Pinehurst Gun Club. Golfer Arnold Palmer frequently stayed at Pinehurst’s Manor Inn with his father.

The Belleview Inn. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

The Belleview Inn. Photo: Historic Hotels of America

The Lodge at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, (1894) inside the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a former Army barracks.

The Belleview Inn in Belleview, Florida, (1897) played host to former Presidents of the United States Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, but was built originally by a railroad magnate who knew his passengers needed somewhere to stay along the route.

The Candler Hotel Atlanta is built using Amicalola marble from north Georgia, and was built as a monument to one-time mayor and founder of the Coca-Cola empire, Asa G. Candler.