The Mount Washington Hotel opened in 1902 but can trace its heritage back to the 1880s. It was conceived and built by Joseph Stickney, a
By the late 1890s, Stickney had decided to build a new, even more luxurious hotel on land he had bought opposite the
Postcard Showing the Hotel and Many Outbuildings, c.1930
Ground-breaking for the new hotel was in 1900 and construction began in 1901. Two hundred fifty Italian craftsmen were brought in for the actual construction work. They lived in dormitories on the property, built for that purpose. Those dormitories, although unused, remain.
The Hotel During Construction. The long building
in the center was the barn for the Mt. Pleasant
House farm, which was relocated.
The hotel, designed to be open only for the summer and early fall, included the latest amenities. It had a railroad station and coaches to bring guests to the hotel from the station, it had a golf course designed by Donald Ross (which is still in use), it had an artificial lake, bridle paths, wagon roads, telephone service with it’s own switchboard, a telegraph, running water, bathrooms, an elevator, modern refrigeration equipment, its own electric power plant (which is still intact) a plant for making illuminating gas should the electricity fail, a one-of-a-kind water powered printing plant to print the daily menus, a daily newspaper for the guests, etc. (this also still survives), a large barn for horses, a large garage for automobiles was added as were quarters for chauffeurs, dormitories for the staff (one for men and one for women), an orchestra, a choir, a heated indoor swimming pool, a billiard parlor, and probably some things we haven’t mentioned. A doctor and two nurses were on the premises.
The first guests registered on Monday July 28, 1902. The Grand Opening Ball was held on Thursday, July 31. It was attended by the Governor of New Hampshire, owners and managers of other Grand Hotels, and dignitaries from near and far. The event was the subject of several very complimentary newspaper articles.
Unfortunately, Joseph Stickney died in December of the following year, 1903. He left both hotels and other property to his wife, Carolyn. She ran both hotels until her death in Nov. 1936. Both are buried in a granite mausoleum in Concord's Old North Cemetery. Carolyn left both hotels to her nephew, Foster Reynolds.
Changing vacation habits, the growth of travel by automobile, and the Depression years negatively affected all the Grand Hotels, including the Mt. Washington and the Mt. Pleasant. Mr. Reynolds decided that the Mt. Pleasant was no longer economically viable and he had it demolished in 1939. He retained the Mt. Washington but over the next several years it went through numerous changes in ownership.
The Bretton Woods Monetary Conference was held at the hotel in 1944. This international conference was sponsored by the United Nations and 733 delegates from 44 nations attended. It's intent was to deal with monetary and financial issues at the end of World War II.
Substantial renovations were made to the hotel prior to this conference, paid for by the U.S. Government.
At Thanksgiving, 1999 the hotel opened for the Winter season for the first time. It continues today as a four season resort. Substantial renovations have continued. The lobby has been carefully restored to it's early 20th century appearance.
Photos of the Mount Washington Hotel
Waiters for the hotel, as well as caddies, were college students. In
early years, the waiters lived in Camp Washington. Caddies had
their own camp.