Parker House Hotel
Founded: October, 1855
The Parker Hotel,
named after founder Harvey D. Parker, opened its doors in October of 1855,
and is the longest continuously operating hotel in America.
A luxurious place
of which any Boston Brahmin would approve. The hotel and its restaurants
are credited with a slew of famous firsts, including Boston cream pie
(the state's official dessert ), ParkerHouse rolls, and the term "scrod."
Parker's Bar, a mahogany and stained glass haven, is the perfect spot
for having a drink by the fire, and The Last Hurrah is modeled after the
traditional Boston bar of the bygone era.
There have been quite
a few interesting people that have stopped by over the years. Ho Chi Minh
was a busboy, and Malcolm X was a waiter. John Wilkes Booth stayed there
a week before he shot Lincoln.
What makes the hotel
illustrious, though, is it's literary past. No less than British novelist
Charles Dickens was impressed with the "hot and cold bath" in his room
at the Parker House on his second visit to Boston in 1867. This was the
first hotel in Boston to have hot-and-cold running water, and the first
to have an elevator.
The hotel's most famous
group of patrons was certainly the members of the nineteenth century Saturday
Club. Beginning in the mid 1850s, a exclusive group of talented people
assembled in the old Parker House on the last Saturday afternoon of each
month. Their notoriously rambunctious roundtables featured readings, intellectual
exchanges, and endlessly flowing chatter, mirth, food and spirits. The
Club's members included philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and Atlantic
Monthly editor James Russell Lowell, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, poets
John Greenleaf Whittier and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and writer Oliver
with a view
Parker House has more
claims to fame than hosting 19th-Century literary figures. It remains
a popular place for Massachusetts politicians. John F. Kennedy announced
a run for Congress there in 1953 in a room since called the Press Room.
Theatrical people such as Sarah Bernhardt and Joan Crawford stayed there.
So did Ulysses S. Grant. Today, Parker House is the only hotel on Boston's