No work or research for me to do here: Wikipedia has it all! See the article at en.wikipedia.org.
The Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (1928), http://www.MetroHistory.com describes the George Washington Hotel in slightly different terms: 1928, Dept. of Buildings New Building notice 431, estimated cost $1,500,000, a 16-story brick hotel, 197 x 50, owner: Club Hotel Corp., Harry Barth, pres., 116 W 72d, architects: Frank M. Andrews (associate architect) J. B. Peterkin (associate architect) 285 Madison av.
On 18 March 1929 notice appeared in the New York Times (p. 51) as follows: "The Club Hotel Corporation of New York, which is an affiliation of the Barth Hotels Corporation, and of which Harry Barth is president, has completed financial arrangements on its three million dollar George Washington Hotel, which is being erected on Lexington Avenue, Twenty-third to Twenty-fourth Streets. The George Washington Hotel, of which Frank M. Andrews is the architect, will be a sixteen-story structure, containing 630 rooms, each with private bath, and stores on the ground floor."
The George Washington seems to have remained a Club Hotel Corp. property only until 1935, when a foreclosure auction was reported in the New York Times, 13 June 1935, "The largest property foreclosed was the sixteen-story George Washington Hotel occupying the block-front on the east side of Lexington Avenue from Twenty-third to Twenty-fourth Street. The hotel was bought by a bondholders' committee headed by Richard Kelly on a bid of $523,000. Assessed at $1,475,000, the hotel property fronts 197 feet on Lexington Avenue and 50 feet on the side streets. … The foreclosure sale resulted from an action by the Manufacturers Trust Company, as trustee and plaintiff, against the Club Hotel Corporation and others to meet a judgment of about $1,764,317 and interest, with taxes and other liens amount to about $101,000. ..."
Harry Barth (1878-1937), president of the Club Hotel Corp., received a sizeable obituary in the New York Times on his death Aug. 1937, reading in part, "Harry Barth, for thirty-five years a leader in the hotel supplies business, died on Wednesday night at Presbyterian Hospital after an illness of five weeks. For a time Mr. Barth was president of a chain of hotels. He was 59 years old. Born and educated in New York, Mr. Barth entered his father's firm, L. Barth & Son, once the largest supply house for hotels and restaurants in the East. In 1925 Mr. Barth sold his interest in the firm and agreed to remain out of the supply business for ten years. He devoted his time to the operation of a chain of hotels which he had acquired and to the construction of others. He was partly responsible for the construction of the Warwick and the Ritz Towers. These were brought into the chain, known as the Barth Hotels Corporation, with which was affiliated the Club Hotel Corporation of New York. Other hotels in the chain were the Gladstone, the Fifteen East Sixty-ninth Street Hotel, the Warwick in Philadelphia, the Taft in New Haven, the Hampton in Albany, the Jermyn in Scranton and the Edgewood Inn in Greenwich, Conn. Construction on the last unit of the group, the George Washington Hotel at Lexington Avenue and Twenty-third Street, was begun just before the depression, which put an end to this venture. Mr. Barth returned to the hotel supply business and established the firm of Harry Barth, Inc., at 404 Fourth Avenue. ..."
In 1941 ownership of the George Washington changed to Carter Management Hotels, Inc. The New York Times, 6 Dec. 1941, reported, "Carter Management Hotels, Inc., which operates the Hotel Riviera in Newark, N. J.; the Essex and the Avery in Boston and the Garde in New Haven, Conn., announced yesterday that it had added to its chain the Hotel George Washington, on Lexington Avenue at Twenty-third Street... Renovations to cost about $100,000 already are under way, including a new cocktail lounge designed by Jac Lessman and to be ready for the Christmas holiday season. Improvements also will be made in the solarium on the entire top floor."
This ad from the 1960 New York telephone directory mentions the 700 rooms at the Hotel Dixie on West 43rd St. and 600 rooms at the George Washington on Lexington Ave. as Carter hotels in New York. Seems not all rooms had air conditioning.
The website of the Museum of the City of New York shows a similar postcard dated ca. 1935 printed by Tichnor Brothers, Inc.
An article in New York Magazine, 12 Oct. 1970, described the George Washington as follows. "Hotel George Washington, 23 Lexington Avenue (at 23rd Street), a small hotel in the heart of the downtown business district but only two short blocks from Gramercy Park, is in one of the city's most pleasant residential areas. Daily rates for single occupancy are $10-14; double, $18-22. The rooms are clean and fairly attractive. Those at $10 are small but with good-sized beds for one person. Doubles ($18-20) are large enough to move around in; some come with two small but separate bathrooms. At $12-$14 for single occupancy, they are an extremely good value. The $22 double is a bright, spacious corner room with two baths. Request a front room at this hotel - here it matters. The lobby is small, clean and cheerful, but not designed for leisurely sitting. There's a cocktail lounge and coffee shop on the premises. Room service is available from 6 a.m. to midnight. The hotel caters to many South Americans, businessmen and family groups. A friend of mine who spent three and half weeks here found the hotel clean, the service efficient, the staff congenial."
By the time of this ad in the New York Times, 14 June 1980, the Hotel George Washington was probably renting largely to permanent residents.
In 1998 the New York Times reported, "Six hundred beds at the George Washington Hotel, at 23 Lexington Avenue, are leased to the School of Visual Arts for its students. ... The George Washington Hotel is leased for 12 years to the School of Visual Arts. Students in residence abide by school regulations and pay dormitory fees directly to the college. The building also has 138 long-term hotel residents, who cannot be forced to move. But as their rooms are vacated, students can take them over."
The Frank M. Andrews mentioned as architect of the George Washington is also credited with the design of the McAlpin Hotel (1912) on Herald Square. More on Andrews can found on the McAlpin page.
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