Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hotels "Bellevue" and "Stratford"

The original Hotel Bellevue at the Northwest corner of South Broad and Walnut Streets. Later demolished when the Manufacturer's Club Building commenced construction in 1911.
The last menu ever made for the Hotel Bellevue "Au Revoir Hotel Bellevue" and the newly created gala menu for the opening of the historic Bellevue-Stratford Hotel showcasing William Penn holding a platter with the Hotel itself sitting atop it. "The Bellevue-Stratford Opening in Philadelphia, Tuesday, September 20th, 1904."
The original Hotel Stratford at the Southwest corner of South Broad and Walnut Streets. Later demolished when the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel began construction in 1902.

 The Hotel Bellevue

In 1881, George C. Boldt and his wife Louise started the "Bellevue Hotel" which was located on the Northwest corner of South Broad and Walnut. Seemingly over-night Boldt's small boutique inn became nationally known for the high standards of service, exquisite cuisine and its illustrious clientele. It is believed that Chicken à la King was created by the Hotel chef William "Bill" King in the 1890s. Up until 1904 the Hotel Bellevue though small still was known for its elite standards and infamous patrons.

On September 19th, 1904 the guests of Boldt's famed inn were finishing up a gala after party. At exactly 12:01 a.m. the next day the grand Bellevue-Stratford opened her doors to the after party where it continued until morning! Drinks and food were on the house, and special menu fares were created especially for the event. The Hotel Bellevue's menu depicted a scene of the farewell to the old Hotel Bellevue, and the Bellevue-Stratford's new menu showed William Penn in regal clothes presenting the Hotel on a gilt platter!

In 1911, the Hotel Bellevue was demolished to supplant for the construction of the new Manufacturer's Club Building which still stands to this day. The building featured four stories with tall windows and decorative filigree balconies and a portico on the Broad Street facade. Its details and elements are unlike the Bellevue-Stratford which holds true to the French-Renaissance/Beaux-Arts style of decoration.

The Hotel Stratford

Sometime between 1875 and 1885 the Hotel Saint George was built. Later it became the Hotel Stratford. It was located on the Southwest corner of South Broad and Walnut. Shortly there after it was acquired by the Boldt's, and became an expansion to their already thriving Hotel Bellevue business.

In 1902 the old Hotel Stratford was fully demolished to make way for construction and commencement of the grander and colossal Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, Boldt's brainchild and masterpiece of ingenuity. The scape of this location is very different from how it looked before 1904.

The building featured six stories with tall chimney vents in the French-Renaissance style. The windows were also reminiscent of the early Beaux-Arts style. Though on a much grander scale, the Bellevue-Stratford's exterior architecture has many elements taken from the older Stratford.

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