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The Corridor: 1898

Put-In Bay, Ohio, circa 1898. "Hotel Victory corridor." A door slammed. The maid screamed. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

Put-In Bay, Ohio, circa 1898. "Hotel Victory corridor." A door slammed. The maid screamed. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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That window at the end of the hall

really bothers me! It almost looks as if it's a portal to another dimension, or an alternate universe, or something. Might be a time-travel hole of some sort, who knows -- it could be 2011 on the other side!

The West Wing

Not Aaron Sorkin's "West Wing", Edward Gorey's. I fully expect to see a card or three tennis shoes lying on the floor, or a darkly dressed lady in an Edwardian hat on the stairs, or *something* disappearing around the edge of a doorway.

Electric Lights

Bryharms picture of that notice about electric lights reminded me of a story about Will Rogers that I heard quite some time ago. It seems that he and a friend checked into a hotel that had gaslights. They had never seen gaslights and, when they retired for the night, they blew out the flames as they would for a coal oil lamp. Luckily, they did not gas themselves but were very sick the next morning. We may laugh about the two incidents today but what new technology is just around the corner that we may not understand to begin with?

The "Key"

The "key" that one was to turn was a surface-mount rotary switch, seen to the left of the stairway. They come up on eBay from time to time, and I own a few. Here is one that I found a couple of years ago, in the basement of a 1917 house in San Antonio. Presumably, it's still there. I didn't remove it.

The Fire

The Mansfield News Ohio -- August 15, 1919

Sandusky, Aug. 15. -- Fifty guests were driven from their rooms, losing all of their belongings and damage estimated from $500,000 to $1,000,000 was caused last night when the Hotel Victory at Put In Bay burned to the ground.

The structure, one of the most famous hostelries on the lakes, contained 625 rooms in addition to a large dining room, parlors and ball room. The origin of the flames is unknown, the blaze starting in a cupola and enveloping the entire third floor before persons in the hotel were aware that it was on fire. Word was telephoned to the hotel from outside of the fire.

The huge structure burned like tinder and the blaze was visible for miles around the lakes. Crowds gathered at many points to watch the flames shoot high in the sky.

The hotel was built in 1891 at a cost of over a million dollars, but has never been a paying proposition. A Chicago company headed by Charles J. Stoops bought the hotel this spring and had refurnished it. They carried some insurance but Ben Mowrey, manager, was not aware of the amount of the insurance.

But First, A Song

Well, since my baby left me,
I found a new place to dwell.
It's down at the end of lonely street
at Heartbreak Hotel.

A beautiful resort hotel

in its day. Too bad there are not more of these types of hotels left.

Hotel California

You can check in but you can never leave.

I wonder who was playing in the piano bar

I'm betting it was Pat Dailey. He's always playing somewhere near Put in Bay.

Electric Lights

Lectrogeek might get a kick out of this old New York hotel sign for guests encountering electric lights for the first time. My mother stole it during a stay at an ancient hotel in the '50s. I never thought to ask her which one.

[Wow. Amazing! Props to your mom. - Dave]

Suddenly a pirate ship

... appeared on the horizon!

Dave, is there no corner of pop culture with which you are not familiar?


One of the world's largest hotels, the Hotel Victory, opened its 625 rooms to the public in 1892. The four-story hotel featured a thousand-seat dining room. However on August 14, 1919, the giant hotel burned to the ground. Today only parts of the foundations can be seen at the state campground.

-- Wikipedia


Thanks Lectrogeek68 for reminding all of us of the downside of vintage construction, etc. Makes you appreciate modern building codes for their safety! Now when you can combine classic architecture, high quality craftsmanship, and modern day conveniences and safety, then you really have something!


Watch out for low hanging lighting.

Erie Tinderbox

Put-in-Bay was Ohio's Mackinac Island, and the Victory was its Grand Hotel. Advertised as the world's largest summer hotel, it hosted many national conventions (including one in 1901 for fire insurance agents). By August 1919 it was a pile of ashes, burned to the ground in a spectacular fire.

Your next step, the Twilight Zone

The things along the corridor on the right are doors.
The things that look just like them on the left are presumably doors too.
But if you step into a left door you fall straight into that brightly lit atrium, or whatever it is, that you get to, down that flight of stairs.

Uhm, no thanks. I don't want to go there.

Maintenance Nightmare

Acres of carpet and the electric vacuum cleaner will not be invented for a few more years yet. Plus the huge amount of laundry that had to be done everyday without electric washing machines.

It must have taken an army of employees to keep a hotel operating back in the day.


I wonder if the folks checking in at the front desk asked about the availability of Wi-Fi?


These old hotels had character, which can be summed up in one word: combustible. I imagine feet clunking up the wooden stairs, and creaking across the wooden subfloor which undoubtedly underlies the carpet. The stairway doubles as a chimney, of course, and every room has a transom, which will all be opened during the summer months. The walls are probably wood lath and plaster. Although many hotels boasted of "fireproof construction," the more useful term "fire rating" had not yet been invented. The knob-and-tube wiring would be the least of your worries.

As much fun as murder mysteries are, most deaths in these places were far more prosaic.


Are you sure this wasn't taken in 1998? It sure looks like it could have been, such fine quality.

The Shining

Welcome to the Overlook Hotel.

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