Mount Washington Hotel
A grand masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, Omni Mount Washington Resort was conceived and built by Joseph Stickney. Stickney owned Pennsylvania coal mines and railroad stock, and wanted to be in the hotel business. He was a New York financer who conceived the idea of the Mount Washington Hotel after opening his first hotel, Mt. Pleasant. Stickney wanted to open up a more grand, luxurious hotel on the same land as his Mt. Pleasant. In 1900, construction began for Mount Washington and on July 28, 1902 the doors of Mount Washington opened for the season.
Backstory and Context
Joseph Stickney and his business partner John Conyngham bought the land in 1881, and Mount Pleasant House along with it. Mt. Pleasant started as a farm and rooming house, but Stickney turned the house into a hotel for rich New Yorkers who traveled there for the summer. The hotel grew to accommodate visitors from all over the nation. This is where he gets his first taste for wanting to build his own grand hotel. After 20 years of being the proprietor of Mount Pleasant, he decided to be bold.
Stickney was a driven man with money to burn. He had a strong attachment to the area where Mt. Pleasant stood, so he decided to built the grandest of grand hotels. The architect for Mt. Washington was Charles Alling Gifford. He was brought on to the project by Stickney. Stickney brought in 250 Italian stone masons for the job. The men lived in dormitories on the property, and those dormitories still remain there unused. The hotel was designed in what is known as “Spanish Renaissance Revival”.
The hotel was designed to be open only for the summer and early fall. Stickney wanted the hotel to have all the latest amenities. They built a railroad station, an hired coaches to bring the guests to the hotel from the station. They also built an auto road, and at the time automobiles were rare and for the filthy rich. The building had electric lights, a pool and private baths in every room. It had an artificial lake, a telephone service with its own switchboard, an elevator, modern refrigeration equipment, a large barn for horses and a large garage for automobiles. A doctor and new nurses were also on the premises. The first guests registered on July 28, 1902, and the Grand Opening Ball was held on July 31, 1902.
Joseph Stickney died in 1903, only one year after the hotel opened. He left both Mount Washington and Mount Pleasant to his wife, Carolyn. She ran both hotels until her death in 1936. Carolyn left both hotels to her nephew, Foster Reynolds.