The landmark Hotel Algonquin is located at 59-65 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. It opened in 1902 and became famous for its Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers, critics and actors who met for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, from 1919 until about 1929. The Algonquin has hosted many notable men and women from the literary and theatrical fields, including John and Ethel Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks, Booth Tarkington, Sinclair Lewis and others.
The Algonquin was named after the Algonquian tribes, the first known residents of the area. The 181-room hotel was designed by architect Goldwin Starrett (1874-1918). Starrett also designed the Lord and Taylor store, New York Yacht Club (1899) and the Harvard Club (1894), all designated New York City landmarks. Frank Case (1872-1946) was the hotel’s first general manager. He took the lease of the hotel in 1907.
The Algonquin is a 12-story structure with a three-story annex at the west. Its facade was executed in brick, with limestone, metal and terra-cotta detail in a Beaux-Art inspired version of the neo Renaissance style.
The annex is three stories and constructed in brick with a glazed wooden storefront at the first story and metal detailing. It was purchased in 1904 and the third floor was added in 1905, when it was converted from a 19th century stable to a cafe and dining room for the hotel. Over the years it housed apartments, a supper club, a rehearsal studio, a barber shop and restaurants.
The Algonquin opened on November 22, 1902, originally as a residential hotel, but short-term guests were found to be more profitable. A number of hotels had been constructed nearby, including the Brighton, the Bristol, the Windsor and the Vendome. Theaters were moving to the area and the Hippodrome, advertised as the ''world's largest playhouse", was located close to the hotel.
Frank Case soon recognized the potential for restaurant and bar that attracted artists. In 1919, a group of writers, critics and actors began to meet frequently for lunch at the hotel. They became known as the Round Table group. They began informally, first meeting for lunch in the Oak Roan (originally Pergola Room) and later at a round table in the Rose Room.
In 1927, Frank Case bought the hotel and continued to run it until his death in June 1946. When prohibition ended in 1933, Frank Case reopened the bar and put blue gels over the lights. Then it became the Blue Bar.
In September 1946, the hotel was purchased by Ben B. Bodne, head of one of the largest independent oil companies in the South. He became the owner-president of the hotel and sold it in 1987. Then it became one of the Caesar Park Hotels.
In 1987, the Algonquin was designated a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
After some ownership changes, the Algonquin was acquired by the HEI Hospitality, in 2005, and the hotel became an affiliate of Marriott International.
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