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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE MIAMI: c. 1960s

New Magnolia: 1906

New Magnolia: 1906

1906. "The New Magnolia, Magnolia, Massachusetts." Completed in 1891, this resort hotel near Gloucester was destroyed by fire in 1907. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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Toilet Arrangements

I grew up in a hotel that was built in 1906. Very few of our rooms had direct toilet access, even in the 1960s when my parents ran the hotel. Every room had a sink and a mirror. Rooms that didn't include a toilet rented for $5 a night. Every floor had a public bathroom that people who rented those rooms used. The second floor bathroom included a shower, the only one available to guests in the hotel. (Even our apartment, created from several adjoining rooms, only had a bathtub.) A room with semiprivate access to a toilet and sometimes a bathtub rented for $7 a night. The bathroom was situated between two hotel rooms, with a door on either side. You had to make sure the other door was locked when you were using it. Now, our hotel wasn't the fanciest - it had been built to service railroad passengers. Maybe a bigger, fancier place such as the Magnolia had better toilet access. But that was how our hotel was designed. After we moved out in the early 1970s, the place was torn down. It's a parking lot now, but I will never forget growing up there.

Re: Toilet Inquirey

Prior to the Great War most English language travel guides tended to classify hotels as being First class, Second class or Third class, much like accommodations on ocean liners. By the turn of the twentieth century it was generally expected that hotels of the Second Class would have indoor plumbing. And hotels of the First Class were expected to have a large percentage of their rooms equipped with en-suite bath and water-closet facilities. Third class establishments were hit and miss in terms of their sanitary facilities, with some still using old fashioned chamber pots collected by the hotels staff.

Toilet inquiry

Serious question to Shorphites: What were the toilet arrangements in fine old hotels like this. Did rooms have their own "Victorian bathrooms," or were there several communal ones on each floor? Or were private baths limited to the expensive suites?

A familiar fate

Isn't it amazing how many of the grand old hotels built around this time were eventually destroyed by fire, and usually in a relatively short time after they were constructed?

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