The President

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1925; architect: Shepard & Wiser; builder: George Siedhoff.

The favorite and the least amount of photographs, but more is not alway better or at least that what they say.  I stayed here in the seventies and the only thing I remember thinking was wow, this is an old hotel… now it’s wow, this is a beautiful old hotel!

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In 1928, it served as the headquarters for the 1928 Republican National Convention, which nominated Herbert Hoover for president. The hotel’s Drum Room lounge attracted entertainers from across the country, including Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Marilyn Maye. The Hotel President was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The hotel closed its doors in 1980, and it eventually underwent a massive restoration/renovation led by developers H. Drake Leddy and Ron Jury, reopening in 2005 as the Hilton President Hotel.  -from Wikipedia

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From the National Register of Historic Places

The President Hotel constructed in 1925, typifies the qualities and associations present during the grand hotel era. The architecture of the building is replete with terra cotta and stone ornamentation, forming gables, colonettes, medallions, quatrefoils, string courses and friezes across the facade. The elaborate archi­tectural embellishments testify to an opulent period in Kansas City’s history. The hotel was designed to incorporate the most modern of conveniences for the comfort of its guests. The President Hotel was a social hub during the twenties and thirties as it offered beautifully decorated lounges, public spaces and an elegant Roof Garden facility for the recreation of Kansas City’s citizens.

This fifteen-story corner building has its main facade facing west, with a frontage of 130 feet on Baltimore and 108 feet on West 14th Street. The building incorporates Jacobethan elements in its design, particularly in its rectangular windows with rectangular lights created by stone mullions, the segmental curved gables which rise above the roof line at the four corners, and the strapwork ornament found in great quantity over the facade. The rectangular plan has been modified on the east to contain a light court with a gable roof at its base. The court is bridged at the upper floors by a span that connects the two wings. The facade derives its primary ornamentation from the use of terra cotta molding which frames the window groupings on the 2nd and 3rd stories of the north, south, and west facades. The windows are further embellished by the use of decorative wrought iron railings and the spiral colonnettes which flank them. The ground story is faced with a contrasting lighter colored stone on the north, south and west facades. A banded terra cotta frieze forms a string course above the 12th floor. Above this the pedimented windows are surmounted by an intermittent balustrade and quatrefoils. Terra cotta coping follows the line of the parapet wall.

The hotel was constructed at a cost of $2.5 to 3 million. The architects and engineers of the building lavished their attention on providing the most modern of hotel conveniences, along with sumptuous artistic decoration of the public rooms. The hotel contained 453 guest rooms and 19 private rooms.  The owners of the hotel, the Westport Hotel Operating Company, employed an art decorator, a sculptor and a master decorator to provide the hotel’s interior decoration.  When the hotel opened in February of 1926, it boasted such remarkable features as a “radiocasting” system (i.e. public address system) and an ice manufacturing plant that could produce some 8,000 pounds of ice per day. The hotel provided dining facilities, cocktail lounges, and a roof garden which could accommodate 650 persons.  In 1941, a new cocktail lounge named the “Drum Room” opened, which continued a tradition of artistic elegance. New York City artist Winold Reiss was commissioned to paint a 280-square-foot mural which featured South Sea Island motifs.  Throughout its turbulent history of changing ownerships and financial difficulties, the President Hotel remained a fashionable social center for both a transient overnight population and native Kansas Citians.

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The day didn’t end with hotels, it also included a view of each of the Holiday Windows on Main.  The skyline above included The President and was created by Kate Clements, who’s charity is Rose Brooks Center, in the window of Lovebird Boutique.

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This window was a favorite, but I shouldn’t say “the” favorite or everyone would know which window I voted for, but maybe not… it may not be included in this post. ;o)  This window was created by Michele Foster-Lowman, Wallace Glick & Jaime Young, whose charities are Salvation Army & ARC Missouri, in the window of Polished Edge Fine Jewelry. The display was much larger than the photo indicates as there were three of these large lighted heart ornaments along with other adornments and detailing in the windowsill.

The postings were almost as tiring as the day, but none-the-less worth every minute. What fun does this weekend have in store? … it’s a secret!

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~ by kcjewel on December 16, 2011.

4 Responses to “The President”

  1. What a fun day…so glad to see the President photos. That lobby was fabulous! Secret?

  2. That is really a gorgeous hotel! I enjoyed the narrative about it. A hotel like that, renewed, has so much more character and soul than any of the “modern” buildings in my opinion.

  3. WOW! That really is a gorgeous hotel. And the tree! So beautiful! If I move all the furniture and knock a hole in the ceiling, I think it MIGHT fit into my living room! ;-)
    Even though I didn’t see all the other windows, the heart would have been one of my favorites, too.

  4. Wow, we both have posted the President Hotel. I was in the hotel last Saturday the 10th. I appreciate your visit to my blog, I love your photos.

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