20 Things You Might Not Know About Hotel Utica As it Turns 111
The Hotel Utica, now the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Utica is celebrating its 111th birthday on Saturday. The historic hotel opened on March 11, 1912.
It's been said, if these walls could talk we'd all be blown away by the history it experienced. Some of the history was good; some was pretty bad.
After 60 years of operation, Hotel Utica fell on difficult times in the 1960s and by 1972, the iconic hotel shuttered its doors for the first time. Two years later in 1974, it would reopen as an adult care facility called the Hunter House, and it would remain operational until 1995, when it closed and relocated. By then, the building was in disrepair and had decayed significantly. In 1998, the hotel was purchased by Joseph Carucci and Charles Caetano who would pump some $13 million in renovations and repair into the building. It reopened as a hotel on April 4, 2001.
Today, the hotel is pristine and is operating as a 5-star hotel owned by Visions Hotels and it carries the prestigious DoubleTree by Hilton flag. The hotel is home to a full time restaurant, Iconic by Chesterfield, and has multiple ballrooms and meeting areas for banquets and business meetings.
Here's a timeline of important moments in the hotel's history along with the many famous people who have stayed there.
- 1912 - Hotel Utica Grand Opening on March 11th, 1500 guests attended the festivities
- 1912 - U.S. President William Howard Taft stayed at the hotel while attending the funeral of Utica native, Vice President James Sherman
- 1920s - Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed at the hotel during the 1920s while he campaigned for President
- During prohibition, the FX Matt Brewery was the only Utica brewery not to file bankruptcy. The Hotel Utica Basement Tavern was said to have served FX Matt products, even during prohibition.
- 1926 - Four additional floors were added to Hotel Utica in 1926.
- 1933 - On April 1, FX Matts Brewery holds parade from the brewery to Hotel Utica and sells the first beer in America since prohibition
- 1939 - Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra perform at hotel
- 1940s - Major League Baseball teams, including New York Yankees, lodge at Hotel Utica for Hall of Fame game.
- 1940s - During WWII, the biggest music acts of the time including Kate Smith, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, The Andrew Sisters, Rita Hayworth and more perform at Hotel Utica
- 1950 - Judy Garland sang from the mezzanine of Hotel Utica
- 1955 - Other notables stay at Hotel Utica, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Jackie Robinson, Bobby Darrin, and Johnny Cash.
- 1960 - The famous Lamplighter Room opens, replacing the former Grill Room.
- 1960 - Bobby and Rose Kennedy stay at the hotel while campaigning for John Kennedy
- 1960 - 1970 - The hotel changes owners several times.
- 1972 - Hotel Utica closes
- 2001 - April 4th, Hotel Utica re-opens. New York Governor George Pataki is present for the grand opening.
- 2001- Hotel Utica joins the National Trust Historic Hotels of America
- 2016 - Visions Hotels purchases Hotel Utica
- 2016 - Hotel Utica undergoes a one year renovation and transformation into a DoubleTree by Hilton 5-star hotel.
- 2017 - Renovation is completed.