A vintage postcard from the Shamrock in Houston
Every city has a hotel that was once the center of the glittering social set. In Houston, that hotel would have to be the Shamrock, later called the Shamrock Hilton. It opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949 to a packed crowd of Hollywood celebrities and Houston elite. Life Magazine put the event on its cover. For decades, Houstonians flocked to its Cork Club for entertainment and the Emerald Room for lavish weddings. Built by a famous oil wildcatter, Glenn McCarthy, the hotel’s theme was green, from the bellhop’s uniforms to the rooms décor.
The Corkettes – The Shamrock’s synchronized swimming team
While Houston adults played inside the hotel, the baby boomers played outdoors in the vast swimming pool – said to be the largest pool in the world, though never proved, of course. Prized summertime memberships were available for use of the pool. The Corkettes were a nationally famous synchronized swimming team that were sponsored by the Shamrock. For some unknown reason, I was a Corkette one memorable summer, mostly coming in last place during competition - though once I came in next to last! My team did win a third place medal one time, though there were only 3 teams competing, a fact I was too humiliated to tell my parents. The recession that Houston suffered during the 80s was the death knell for the hotel, though, it was on the decline for quite a while. The doors were finally closed and the building was demolished in 1987 – a huge symbol to Houstonians of time marching by. There was an auction selling all the goods, including the hotel silver and plates. You can still find Shamrock hotel silver for sale on the internet:
Two shelled butter pat holders with the Shamrock emblem were sold recently.
A bowl from the Shamrock that was recently on the market.
And this early room key attachment – remember if you accidently took the key home, free postage back to the hotel was guaranteed?
While the Shamrock was the most famous hotel in Houston, if you lived in Honolulu, you might have memories of the Alexander Young Hotel, built in 1901 by Alexander Young a Scottish born Honolulu businessman who make a fortune in sugar mills and iron. The Young had 300 rooms – but surprisingly it was built down town and not on the beach, something that wouldn’t be done today. After purchasing other hotels, Andrew Young became known as the father of the hotel industry in Hawaii. The United States army used the building during war times and its death knell came when the hotel was turned into offices. It was finally demolished in 1981. Here is how the hotel was advertised shortly after its opening:
It has a roof garden one-third of an acre in extent where refreshments are served and concerts given at intervals, and from which a fine view of the city may be had. At either end of this roof garden is a dance pavilion. The hotel, built in 1900, is fireproof and thoroughly modern, modelled after mainland city hotels. It accommodates 300 guests, and is conducted on the European plan: $2 per day upward.” —The Aloha Guide, 1915.
Wow. $2.00 a day! Amazing! And notice the “fine view” is of the city, not the beach!!
An original architectural drawing of the lobby.
The famous roof garden.
A photograph of the roof garden.
So, I know you are anxious to know, but what is the giveaway?????????
Remember this beautiful antique mirror that was a giveaway last year?
The mirror was a gift from Paris Hotel Boutique, an online shop filled with the most interesting antique and vintage items! Paris Hotel Boutique is owned by Lynn Goldfinger who loves to collect hotel silver from famous places like The Shamrock and the Alexander Young. Lynn has a personal collection of hotel silver rivaled by none:
Lynn’s breakfast room, shown here, has a portion of her large collection of hotel silver. Amazing!!!! Read all about my story on Lynn and the Paris Hotel Boutique HERE.
For today’s giveaway – we will have TWO winners! One will win the hotel silver tray from the Alexander Young Hotel and another will win the set of forks from the Alexander Young Hotel! Here are the descriptions of the two prizes:
Rare Early 1900's Alexander Young Hotel, Hawaii Serving Tray
Stunning early 1900's serving dish from the Alexander Young Hotel, which was located in Honolulu, Hawaii. This tray comes from a collection of pieces Lynn purchased from the hotel. This tray is quite ornate with a double raised logo on both sides, and a very fancy rim. It measures 12-1/2" long, 5-1/2" wide and sits 1-1/2" tall. The condition is amazing, with a bright, shiny patina. It is manufactured by Reed & Barton, with the hotel's name on the underside. There is no date mark, but presumably from the earlier part of the 20th century. This could be used for serving small dishes such as asparagus, celery, sweets and more. A stunning piece!
Set of 6 Palace Hotel, S.F. Forks
Set of 6 dinner forks from the legendary Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Each fork is engraved, "Palace Hotel" on the handle. They measure 7-1/4" long. Lovely condition with little use. Manufactured by Oneida. This pattern was used for several years. These pieces aren't of early vintage, but most likely date to the 1960's or 70's.
HOW DO YOU ENTER THE CONTEST?????
All you have to do is go visit the Paris Hotel Boutique at www.parishotelboutique.com and look around. Pick out one item you would buy, if money was no object. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which item you picked. That’s all!!!!
You have until Saturday night at 11:59 to enter. I will pick the two winners then by using the random integer number on the internet.
If you post anonymously – be SURE you leave your email address!!!! Otherwise you can’t win!!!!!!! Very important!
A huge thank you to Lynn Goldfinger for hosting such a wonderful giveaway. Thank you, Lynn, for everything!!!!!