Hotel Hamilton (1850)

This building in Holyoke, now vacant and condemned, was built around 1850 as a hotel called the Holyoke House. Located on Dwight Street, between Main and Race streets, it was later known as the Hotel Hamilton and was extensively remodeled and expanded around 1890. The building was purchased in 1911 by Joel Russell and then housed the J. Russell Hardware Company. The hotel closed in 1943 and the building was drastically renovated in 1947, when the top floor was removed (except from the wing on the left). Recently used by several social service agencies, the building is now unsafe and may not long survive. Read More

The Perry (1855)

The building at 85 Amity Street in Amherst was built in 1855 as a two-story residence. In 1898, Egbert Perry began taking in boarders and in 1912 the building, by then known as the Hotel Perry, was expanded two more stories. In 1938, it was acquired by William Richters, who had owned Drake’s Restaurant in Times Square. He renamed the hotel the Drake, after the famous New York hotel of the same name. It continued to be known locally as the Drake, even after later owners changed its name to the Village Inn in 1959. The Drake was home to a legendary basement bar called the Rathskeller, a popular student hangout whose infamous reputation eventually led to the sale of the building in 1985 and its conversion into apartments under the name the Perry. Student reaction at the time can be judged by the still visible graffiti on the nearby Amherst Cinema Building, which declares “Save the Drake” and “For Willy [the Drake’s bartender] For Humanity!”

Hawthorne Hotel (1925)

In 1809, the corner of Washington Square and Essex Street, off Salem Common in Salem, became the site of the Archer Block. Later called the Franklin Building, it was a commercial and residential building constructed under the direction of Samuel McIntire. Destroyed by fire in 1860, it was replaced with an Italianate-style successor. From 1833, the property was owned by the Salem Marine Society, which later agreed to raze the building and sell the land for construction of a new hotel. In return, the hotel built a room for the society’s use on the top floor. The hotel, built in 1924-1925, was named the Hawthorne Hotel, in honor of the famous Salem author. It was designed by architect Philip Horton Smith of the firm of Smith & Walker.

The Tudor, Boston (1887)

The Tudor Apartments, designed by S.J.F. Thayer and built in 1885-1887, are at 34½ Beacon Street at Joy Street in Boston. Construction of the nine-story building so close to the Massachusetts capitol led to a height restriction law for the area. The Queen Anne-style building combines a variety of architectural styles. The design makes particular advantage of natural light on the Joy Street side of the building. Built as an apartment hotel, for much of the twentieth century the Tudor housed both apartments and offices. In 1999, it was renovated and converted into seventeen exclusive luxury condominiums.

Hotel Vendome (1871)


Built in 1871, the Mansard-roofed French Second Empire style corner building of the Hotel Vendome, on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, was designed by William G. Preston, who had studied in Paris. The western section, designed by J.F. Ober and R. Rand, followed in 1881. Hotel Vendome was for many years the city’s premier hotel, but by the late 1960s attempts were made to demolish the outmoded building. Renovations were almost complete in 1972, when a fire destroyed the southeast section of the original structure. Nine firefighters died when part of the building collapsed after the fire was out. There is a memorial to the nine firefighters on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall at Dartmouth Street. A 1970s addition to the Vendome by Stahl/Bennett in the Brutalist style replaced the destroyed section. The building today houses apartments, offices and stores.

Copley Plaza Hotel (1912)


The Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston was built in 1912 on Copley Square, at the site of the old Museum of Fine Arts building (1876), which was torn down in 1909. The hotel was designed by the local architect Clarence Blackall, working with Henry J. Hardenbergh, a nationally renowned architect of hotels, who had studied with the Ecole des Beaux Arts-trained Detlef Lienau. John Singer Sargent had a suite in the hotel in the early 1920s. The building is now the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

Concord’s Colonial Inn (1716)


The Colonial Inn in Concord is on Monument Square. The Inn consists of three connected structures. The original East House (above), was built sometime before 1716 by Captain James Minot and deeded in that year to his son, James, Jr. The house passed to James Jr.’s son, Ephraim, and then to a cousin, Dr. Timothy Minot, Jr., a physician who tended to the wounded on April 19,1775. Some time in early 1770s, the Central Building (below) was constructed, which was used as a storehouse during the Revolution. This structure was purchased by Deacon John White in 1780 to use as a store (he added the second floor). In 1789, Dr. Minot sold the East House to Ammi White, his son-in-law and a cabinet-maker, who had killed a wounded British soldier with an axe on April 19, 1775. The very next year, White sold the house to John Thoreau, grandfather of Henry David Thoreau. John Thoreau’s wife, Rebecca Kettel, was the sister of the Deacon’s wife. Around 1820, Deacon White built the West House onto the end of his store and the eventually both the house and store was acquired by his partner, Daniel Shattuck. The young Henry David Thoreau lived in the East House with his family and his aunts from 1835 to 1837. Shattuck acquired the East House in 1839, which was leased to various tenants over the years. By the 1850s, the Central Building had become a boarding house and was then attached to the East House to become the Thoreau House hotel. Around 1900, the West House was attached to the Central Building and the entire structure became known as the Colonial Inn.
Read More