clock menu more-arrow no yes

Boston's Oldest Hotels: History and Scandal in the Hub!

View as Map

You can't swing a live cat (is that the expression?) in Boston without hitting history, and hotels are no exception. As part of Hotels Week 2013, we've mapped the oldest operating inns in Boston, including the two oldest in the entire U.S. of A. That is, these are current hotels with particularly aged roots, whether as hotels or as something else entirely (like, say, a jail or a British military base). Some are justly famous for hosting things like a presidential marriage proposal and others notorious for hosting things like plans to rig the World Series.


· Our Curbed Maps archive [Curbed Boston]
· Our Hotels Week 2013 archive [Curbed Boston]

Read More

1. Omni Parker House

Copy Link
60 School Street
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 227-8600
Visit Website

This one was a no-brainer: the Omni Parker is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the U.S., having opened in 1855, and having hosted a plethora of notables, from Charles Dickens (who did his first reading of "A Christmas Carol" here) to JFK (who proposed to Jackie in the hotel).

2. The Liberty

Copy Link
215 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 224-4000
Visit Website

For about a century and a half, the Liberty was the Charles Street Jail, repository for violent criminals. In 2007, it became the ironically named inn, retaining some features of the building's former life, like iron bars.

3. The Fairmont Copley Plaza

Copy Link
138 Saint James Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 267-5300
Visit Website

This palace opened in 1912, and JFK's grandfather, then the mayor of Boston, threw a party for it with more than 1,000 guests. Since, the Fairmont Copley has hosted every president since Taft and myriad celebrities. Sumner Redstone famously survived a 1979 fire at the hotel by dangling out of a third-story window.

4. The Lenox

Copy Link
61 Exeter Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-5300

The Lenox opened in 1900 as one of the more opulent hotels in the U.S., with marble floors and ebony reception desks.

5. Marriott's Custom House

Copy Link
3 McKinley Square
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 310-6300

The extended-stay hotel is housed in a building dating from 1847. It was an actual customs house for incoming ships, and for about 10 decades there was the tallest building in Boston.

6. Copley Square

Copy Link
47 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(866) 891-2174

A 2008 renovation buffed out a lot of the history of the second-oldest operating hotel in the U.S., but just know that the Copley Square has hosted many notables since its 1891 opening, including Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday and several presidents going back to McKinley.

7. Loews Back Bay

Copy Link
350 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 266-7200

For much of the 20th century, the 1920s building was the HQ of the BPD (there's a bar today there called Cuffs).

8. The Langham Boston

Copy Link
250 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 451-1900

The Langham's building started life in 1922 as a Federal Reserve building (right around when the Fed started, actually) and became the Langham in 2003. You'll note that the second-floor rooms all have soaring ceilings, a la the old bank milieu.

9. Boston Harbor

Copy Link
70 Rowes Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 439-7000
Visit Website

The site of the Boston Harbor has a pedigree dating back to the 17th century, first as a battery for the British and then as a shipping wharf for our side. Now, finally, after surviving Boston's bad, old years, it's the site of a thoroughly gentrified piece of the waterfront.

10. Boston Hotel Buckminster

Copy Link
645 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 236-7050

It was in this inn opened in 1897 that the plan to fix the 1919 World Series between the Reds and the White Sox was hatched. The Buckminster was also the site of the first network radio broadcast in 1929.

Loading comments...

1. Omni Parker House

60 School Street, Boston, MA 02108

This one was a no-brainer: the Omni Parker is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the U.S., having opened in 1855, and having hosted a plethora of notables, from Charles Dickens (who did his first reading of "A Christmas Carol" here) to JFK (who proposed to Jackie in the hotel).

60 School Street
Boston, MA 02108

2. The Liberty

215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

For about a century and a half, the Liberty was the Charles Street Jail, repository for violent criminals. In 2007, it became the ironically named inn, retaining some features of the building's former life, like iron bars.

215 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114

3. The Fairmont Copley Plaza

138 Saint James Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

This palace opened in 1912, and JFK's grandfather, then the mayor of Boston, threw a party for it with more than 1,000 guests. Since, the Fairmont Copley has hosted every president since Taft and myriad celebrities. Sumner Redstone famously survived a 1979 fire at the hotel by dangling out of a third-story window.

138 Saint James Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

4. The Lenox

61 Exeter Street, Boston, MA 02116

The Lenox opened in 1900 as one of the more opulent hotels in the U.S., with marble floors and ebony reception desks.

61 Exeter Street
Boston, MA 02116

5. Marriott's Custom House

3 McKinley Square, Boston, MA 02109

The extended-stay hotel is housed in a building dating from 1847. It was an actual customs house for incoming ships, and for about 10 decades there was the tallest building in Boston.

3 McKinley Square
Boston, MA 02109

6. Copley Square

47 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

A 2008 renovation buffed out a lot of the history of the second-oldest operating hotel in the U.S., but just know that the Copley Square has hosted many notables since its 1891 opening, including Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday and several presidents going back to McKinley.

47 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

7. Loews Back Bay

350 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

For much of the 20th century, the 1920s building was the HQ of the BPD (there's a bar today there called Cuffs).

350 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116

8. The Langham Boston

250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110

The Langham's building started life in 1922 as a Federal Reserve building (right around when the Fed started, actually) and became the Langham in 2003. You'll note that the second-floor rooms all have soaring ceilings, a la the old bank milieu.

250 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110

9. Boston Harbor

70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

The site of the Boston Harbor has a pedigree dating back to the 17th century, first as a battery for the British and then as a shipping wharf for our side. Now, finally, after surviving Boston's bad, old years, it's the site of a thoroughly gentrified piece of the waterfront.

70 Rowes Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

10. Boston Hotel Buckminster

645 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215

It was in this inn opened in 1897 that the plan to fix the 1919 World Series between the Reds and the White Sox was hatched. The Buckminster was also the site of the first network radio broadcast in 1929.

645 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215