His Guests Were Always Right

2:54 PM Elizabeth Seckman 24 Comments

From the Penn Hotel Website
Just to totally prove that I am a complete nerd…
After my stay at the Hotel Penn in New York, I had to do my research…because a nerd can’t stay in a hotel without researching its history and what-not, right?
(If you’re interested, you can read my previous blog posts here and here about the hotel’s history.)
Ellsworth Mellon (EM) Statler
The man behind the Hotel Penn is also an interesting share.
EM Statler 
EM Statler started his hotel career right here in the Ohio Valley. As a teenager, he worked at the McClure house in Wheeling, WV. He started off as a bellboy, where his dedication to hard work and a personable nature earned him a $6 a month wage and an average of over $150 a month in tips.
EM understood that going above and beyond expectation pays off.
He moved on from the Ohio Valley to Buffalo, New York where he owned a restaurant. But his heart was always in the hotel business. He had an idea—to open modestly priced hotels for average people that were dependably clean and service oriented.
In the early 1900’s, he opened his first hotel. It looked like it was going to end in failure, but EM and his wife rolled up their sleeves and worked as the hotel’s management, bookkeeping, and office staff. In time, their debts were paid off and he’d accumulated $200,000 which he paired with a loan of $300,000 and opened more hotels.
In 1919, the Pennsylvania Railroad tapped EM Statler to build the world’s largest hotel across from Penn Station in New York.
It was a huge undertaking at the time—a hotel with over 2000 rooms and all the upscale perks the era could provide. As usual, with hard work and dedication, Statler accomplished his goal—The Penn Hotel.
EM had ideas for making his hotels very customer friendly. Many of those have become standard for hotels today:
Private baths with ample hot water piped directly into the room
Desks stocked with pen and paper
Small amenities, like sewing kits
Keyholes above the doorknobs to reduce the shadow
Full length mirrors

And then there is this...the Statler you may be more familiar with, from The Muppets' Statler and Waldorf




24 comments:

  1. I would love to go to different hotels and research them, especially supposedly haunted ones.

    It's nice that he knew what customers wanted. We should probably thank him...or his ghost...for those ideas, huh?

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    1. That would be fun. That would make a nice travel book...hmm.

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  2. Going above and beyond is the way. He sure showed what one can do when they put their mind to it.

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  3. Good for them for making their venture a success.

    Love,
    Janie

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  4. And now we take all those things for granted. Good for him!

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  5. I'm no so nerdy to want to research hotels I stayed at, but you make it so interesting. Interesting that his ideas are standard now in hotels.

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    1. Most of the hotels I stay at aren't worth a google, but this one just screams history.

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  6. That's fascinating, Elizabeth! I'd never have thought to look into the past about where I stay whilst on holiday. Funnily enough, we're just booking our next holiday to the States!! I'm so excited already... we will be staying in New York for a couple of days too! We're also taking in Boston, Rhode Island as well further north to upstate NY and a little of Vermont - all in the December / January so we're looking forward to some really, really cold weather lol!!
    Suzy xx
    www.suzyturner.com

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    1. You will hit some really cold weather! New York is a fascinating city. I've been there a few times and there is always more things on my list to go see. We visited Rhode Island a few years ago, beautiful place. Boston is on my bucket list.

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  7. Such simple inclusions in the room that we take for granted now. How weird it must have been to stay in hotels without en suite facilities! Sharing a bathroom with strangers... argh!

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    1. I was reading about pre-Statler accommodations for middle class people, and sometimes you even had to share a room with strangers. How weird is that?

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  8. It's fun to find out some of the history to the places we visit ... which I suppose means I'm a nerd too.

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    1. It's good to be a nerd...it means I'm never bored!

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  9. And he looks like such a gentleman too. The Muppet Statler, not so much, but endearing nonetheless.

    It's hard to imagine what it takes to build a hotel for 2000 guests. Impressive. Thank you for sharing your research, and I'm glad you got the opportunity to stay there. I hope this included a mai tai or two.

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    1. No, no mai tais. But I did find an excellent taco place!

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  10. Interesting Liz. Never really thought about investigating the background of hotels in which I have stayed. Good onya. Didn`t watch the Muppets as himself is in bed and I don`t want to wake him. Tomorrow.

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    1. I often can't run the videos either, which why I am so bad at Battle of the Bands.

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  11. I am also a total nerd as I love to learn the history of places I visit. Loved your posts about this hotel! Interesting to read of Statler's customer-friendly ideas that have become so commonplace today. And of course anything with the Muppets is always welcome. :)

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    1. History is so much fun. Set me loose in a museum and I'm a happy camper.

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  12. Have you considered writing a hotel story? That might be fun...

    I vaguely recall a TV show from the 70s or 80s that was about a hotel. I think it was in the style of the Love Boat or Fantasy Island.

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  13. Wow, this sounds fascinating and intriguing!

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