Hotel Opened 85 Years Ago Today

The Lord Baltimore Hotel first opened its doors eighty-five years ago today, on December 30, 1928. This description is from the hotel archives:

“Originally commissioned in 1925 by hotel owner and businessman Harry Busick, the Lord Baltimore was designed by New York architect William Lee Stoddard. Constructed in less than eight months, the hotel opened for business on December 30, 1928 with Maryland Governor, Albert C. Ritchie being the first to sign the guest register.

… At the time it was constructed, the Lord Baltimore was the largest hotel ever built in Maryland and, except for the Fifth Regiment Armory, was the largest convention facility in Baltimore. The property was listed on the National Register in 1982.”

According to the Lord Baltimore Hotel application to the National Register:

“The hotel was opened to great fanfare on December 30, 1928, at the start of the depression. The Governor, Mayor and oldest representative of the Lord Baltimore family were in attendance, and WBAL radio broadcast the opening ceremonies.”

The hotel was constructed with the latest in modern technology, as described in a 1928 Baltimore magazine article (1928 LBH to open Dec 1):

“The new hotel will have 700 rooms, each with bath and shower. Each guest room will be equipped with radio earphones, and guests will have the choice of either of two programs that might be on the air. All the rooms are fireproof. The base trim, windows and sills are of metal and floor of concrete, which will covered with carpet directly applied to the cement….

The rooms on each guest floor will have outside exposure and open from spacious corridors heavily carpeted and having painted panelled [sic] ceilings. Each room is provided with every conceivable accessory of the finest material, and most approved design.”

The article goes on to describe some other innovations of the new hotel (1928 LBH to open Dec 1 p1 descriptions):

“On top of the building will be the laundry, a new departure in laundry location that will insure ample sunshine for drying. Above the laundry will be a tower, the first floor of which will be a service room containing telephone switchboards, carpenter shop and lockers for the laundry help. The second floor will be the fan room in which all of the fan machinery is located. The third floor contains the elevator machines and motors. The fourth floor is the tank room in which is located two 20,000 gallon tanks, and above the tank room is a mansard roof floor 40 feet in height in which will be located radio equipment, etc. Atop the tower, as heretofore stated, will be the Air Mail Beacon.”

However, Lord Baltimore Hotel patrons would have to wait another ten years before enjoying the luxury (some would say necessity) of air conditioning on their visit to Baltimore. From a July 1938 ad:

“As you read this advertisement, the immense Calvert Ballroom and its adjoining parlors will be enjoying their first refreshing draught of scientifically cooled, washed, healthful, comfortable, air conditioned atmosphere!”

Tomorrow: more about life in 1928!

Email stories@lordbaltimorehotel.com with your old photos, postcards, or memories of the Lord Baltimore Hotel!

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