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Baltimore Hotel
Baltimore Hotel
TitleBaltimore Hotel
DescriptionPostcard of the Baltimore Hotel
Historical ArticleFor three decades the business and social life of Kansas City centered around the Baltimore Hotel located between 11th and 12th on Baltimore. There were 550 rooms. Dining rooms seated 400 diners or more, and French chefs cooked gourmet meals. Included were Peacock Alley, the Francis I room, the elegant Renaissance room, the Pompeiian room and Highball Alley, the tunnel connecting the lobby of the Willis Wood Theater, located across the street diagonally at 11th and Baltimore (now site of the Continental Hotel) and the Baltimore Hotel bar, and used between acts by theater patrons.

Opened to the public in 1899 as a six-story structure with 150 guest rooms, at the southeast corner of 11th and Baltimore on the site of the early-day Merril Lumber yard, the hotel was enlarged by the addition of two stories and later by an 11-story wing, extended south to 12th. Louis Curtiss was the architect.

Famous persons often were guests and Kansas City's social leaders chose the cafés and banquet halls for their entertaining.

Business leaders early in the century used the hotel when promoting business interests such as Arthur E. Stilwell's Kansas City Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (later to become the Kansas City Southern) and a greater venture, the Kansas City Mexico & Orient Railroad. Stilwell believed in entertaining lavishly to interest foreign capital in the ventures, and went abroad to England and Holland and brought groups of millionaires to be his guests at the Baltimore, before departing on his special trains to Mexico. The $60-a-plate dinners served set a record at the time on costs of hotel dinners.

Theodore Roosevelt; William H. Taft; Woodrow Wilson; William J. Bryan; Tammany boss Richard Croker; Paderewski, the noted pianist; Irvin S. Cobb; William K. Vanderbilt; Sir Oliver Lodge, the English philosopher; Dwight L. Moody, the evangelist; all the Missouri and Kansas governors from Stone to Gardner and Stubbs to Capper; great singers such as Schumann-Heink; Gadski, Sembrich, Antonio Scotti, Melba and Tetrazzini; violinist Mischa Elman and Fritz Kreisler, and most of the notable stage stars such as the Barrymores and Maud Adams were guests.

Many post cards carried pictures of the grand old hostelry. This one, dated 1909 and picturing the 12th Street entrance, was the promotional card of a paint company. The legend printed on the reverse side reads: Only the best paint was good enough for the finest equipped hotel west of Chicago. Carter White Lead was chosen by experienced men, whose business it was to know. Carter never cracks or scales. It wears for years. Demand Carter. The Carter White Lead Co.

The Baltimore Hotel was razed in 1939. Today the City Center Square occupies the old site as well as the remainder of the square block, 11th to 12th, Baltimore to Main.

Kansas City Times
January 27, 1978
AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
LocationSC58
Local SubjectHotels
Baltimore Hotel
Digital FormatJPEG
Barcode20000408
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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