The rise of cheap airfare and the advent of cheap hotels, as well as larger suites and better prices for various amenities, has made traveling affordably a fact of life.
But for a time, a true luxury was a far-off dream. Traveling across time and space, the Hilton in New York City was a legendary venue for the rich and famous.
The resort, which opened in 1884, was called the Waldorf Astoria by the Waldorf family who owned it after it took up residence in 1887.
It could hold 6,000 people and hosted major premieres for many of the biggest films in the entertainment industry, including the 1915 silent film, “Destry Rides Again,” and 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.”
The hotel played host to many celebrities including Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, Jane Russell, Al Jolson, Mary Pickford, and, of course, Dolores del Rio, who appeared alongside MGM head studio Louis B. Mayer.
The hotel was given the distinction of being the first space-building hotel in the U.S.
Hilton also gave the tradition of its fine staff a name that lives on today.
Acclaimed General Manager Charlie Dickerson was called Hilton’s Operator’s Excellency upon his exit in 1932.
Dickerson went on to start the real estate firm, J.B. Dickerson & Co., after retiring as Chief Executive Officer of the Waldorf Astoria, before being forced out in 1948 after an extended stay with the firm that ended with the state trooper killing his mother.