Friday, October 12, 2012

George C. Boldt - Genius of a Legend

The man who started it all, George C. Boldt.
George Boldt's gift to his wife Louise on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands, New York. She unexpectedly died in 1904. All construction was halted by Boldt, who broken-hearted left the estate to its 73-year degradation, and ocassionally vandalism. Today it has been restored partially to how it originally looked and is a major tourist destination and landmark.
Mrs. Louis Kehrer Boldt and her two children; George Charles Boldt Jr., and Clover Louise Boldt.
Louise Augusta Kehrer Boldt as she appears forever young in a painting at Boldt Castle...
George Charles Boldt
April 25th, 1851 - December 5th, 1916
George Charles Boldt was born on the 25th of April, in 1851 in the island of RĂ¼gen on the Black Sea. In 1864 He emigrated to the United States and began work in kitchens. When He was twenty-five years of age he was hired by William Kehrer to manage the dining room of the most illustrious and esteemed gentleman's club in Philadelphia; "
The Philadelphia Club."

Not to soon after, he met and wed his future wife Louise, who was the daughter of William Kehrer. They together had two children;

George Charles Boldt Jr. (1879-1958)

Clover Louise Boldt (1883-1963), later Mrs. Alfred Graham Miles.

In 1881, Boldt and his wife started the "Bellevue Hotel" on the Northwest corner of South Broad and Walnut Streets. It quickly became known nationally for its high standard in services, elite clientele and exquisite cuisine. Shortly thereafter, the Boldts acquired the old "Stratford Hotel" on the Southwest corner of South Broad and Walnut Streets.

In 1890, Boldt was invited by William Waldorf Astor to co-own the new Waldorf Hotel in New York City. In 1897 John Jacob Astor, William Astor's cousin built the Astoria Hotel. These two cousins clashed, and Boldt mediated between them leasing the Astoria himself and merging the two hotels as one; the world-renowned Waldorf-Astoria. The Empire State Building in Manhattan now occupies the original site of the old Waldorf-Astoria, which is at 34th Street and 5th Avenue.

In 1904, the Bellevue-Stratford finally opened her doors on the former sight of the demolished Stratford Hotel, and continued onwards through A financial disaster (1929) two World Wars, and many other world events that shape our existence today. It is now known as the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, and is a combination office and hotel complex... a far cry from her original 1,090 guestrooms and ornate interiors...

Boldt is credited with popularizing "Thousand Island Dressing" at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The Hotel is also famous for items such as the "Waldorf Salad."

G.W. & W.D. Hewitt (The architects who designed the Bellevue-Stratford's French Beaux-Arts exterior, and various interiors) Designed another thing that Boldt is very famous for; the Boldt Castle which is on an island in the Thousand Islands area of New York State. Boldt Castle was intended for his wife Louise but when she died suddenly in 1904 construction was halted. Today Boldt Castle still continues to go under major restorations after many years of vandalism and today is a very popular tourist attraction at Alexandria Bay.

In his later years, Boldt commissioned the architect Francis T. Underhill to build him a Swiss-chalet-style mansion, "La Manzanita" in Montecito, Santa Barbara, California.

He is also credited with having briefly owned Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower "Tesla Tower" property, receiving it as payment for debts.

He is also credited with having been a trustee at Cornell University, to which his daughter Mrs. A. Graham Miles, donated a Collegiate-Gothic Dormitory, Boldt Hall and Tower (1922-1923)

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