William Penn Hotel

William Penn Hotel
William Penn Hotel
William.Penn.Hotel.jpg
Exterior view of the Penn
Location 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°26′26″N 79°59′48″W / 40.4406°N 79.9966°W / 40.4406; -79.9966Coordinates: 40°26′26″N 79°59′48″W / 40.4406°N 79.9966°W / 40.4406; -79.9966
Opening date 1916 (Annex added in 1929)(modernized 1984)
Developer Henry Clay Frick
Architect Janssen & Abbott
(1929 annex by Janssen & Cocken)
Management Omni Hotels
Rooms 1600 in 1929; 596 in 2008
Restaurants 1
Floors 20
Website Omni Pittsburgh

The Omni William Penn Hotel is located at 530 William Penn Place on Mellon Square in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A variety of luminaries have stayed at the hotel, including John F. Kennedy. The hotel staff innovated Lawrence Welk's now famous bubble machine, and it was the site of Bob Hope's marriage proposal in 1934.[1][2][3] [1] The hotel has won numerous awards including being named to the “Best of Weddings 2009” list by The Knot and receiving the Editor’s Choice Award in the Business Hotels category on Suite101.com.

The hotel also features an award winning restaurant that dates from 1916, the Terrace Room, featuring among other amenities a wall long mural entitled "The taking of Fort Pitt". The Terrace Room was voted "Best Hotel Dining" establishment in both 2008 and 2009 by readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Contents

History

Built in 1916, the William Penn has had several owners, including the Eppley, Sheraton, Westin and (current) Omni hotel chains, and has maintained four-star ratings many years. The Eppley Hotel Company acquired the hotel soon after it was built and is credited with sustaining its eminence for several years, until the Great Depression when Eugene Eppley lost primary control, but only after financing a major expansion in 1929 that made the William Penn the second largest hotel in the world [2]. His company regained controlling interest in the late 1940s.[4] The hotel's sale on June 4, 1956 from the Eppley Hotel Company to the Sheraton Corporation was part of the second largest hotel sale in United States history.[5]. The hotel was renamed the Penn-Sheraton Hotel. Sheraton sold the hotel to local investors on May 22, 1968.

Among the major events that the hotel has hosted:

  • April 28, 1930: The Gideon Society holds it's 50th annual convention at the hotel, passing out over 500 bibles.
  • October 17, 1930: A Gala for the governors of the Pittsburgh Tri-State (Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) celebrated with speeches and presentations on the opening of the Lincoln Highway in their respective states.
  • November 3, 1930: A statement from President Hoover is released at the gala celebrating the 10th anniversary of KDKA-AM and the world radio industry.
  • March 26, 1938: The formation of Point State Park and what would become the Pittsburgh Renassiance is announced in the ballroom to 600 invited local leaders and dignitaries.
  • July 17, 1942: The United Steelworkers hold a major conference in response to war time steel needs and accepted the 44 cents wage proposed by the War Labor Board.
  • February 15, 1950: The first Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy is held in the hotel.
  • October 9, 1956: Dwight D. Eisenhower gives a major speech in the hotel's ballroom.
  • September 21, 1963: Lyndon B. Johnson hosts a major speech at the hotel and stays the night in the presidential suite.
  • April 5, 1984: Walter Mondale speaks at a reception held in his honor at the hotel.

Pittsburgh based Alcoa announced on January 24, 1984 that it would gift the necessary $20 million for the rehabilitation and modernization of the hotel, which was successfully completed within a year.

References

  1. ^ Omni William Penn, OmniHotels.com. Retrieved 6/15/08.
  2. ^ Ruff, D. (2005) 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Pittsburgh: And Allegheny and Surrounding Counties. Menasha Ridge Press. p 23.
  3. ^ Phillips, J., Oberlin, L.H. and Pattak, E.M. (2005) Insiders' Guide to Pittsburgh. Globe Pequot. p 222.
  4. ^ Lee, M. (1991) "A Grande Dame Named William Penn," Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine. Spring 1991.
  5. ^ "Closing the gap," Time magazine June 4, 1956. Retrieved 6/15/08.

External links

Media related to William Penn Hotel at Wikimedia Commons

Gallery


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