In 2004 the canopy over the front entrance looked like this. The Chinese seems to say Ya Ning Dun Jiu Dian (Pinyin): Elegant Peaceful Pause Hotel, or the first three characters could be Ya Ning Tun (Wade-Giles) - i.e., Ar-Ling-Ton in transliteration. In 2007 the Hotel sign had been removed, the Arlington name discarded, and the canopy looked like this.
This building on 25th St. was constructed in 1901/02, and for the next 100 years, the Manhattan telephone directory listed the Arlington Hotel at this address. In 1902 the phone number was Madison Square 2606. In 2002 it was (212) 645-3990. The Office for Metropolitan History gives the following information on 18-20 W. 25th St.: Nos. 18 and 20 West 25th St., New Building Notice 1423-01, 11-story brick and stone flat, 50 ft. by 88 ft., to be constructed at an estimated cost of $300,000. The owner was Frank P. Bloodgood, 65 E. 87th St., and architects were Israels & Harder, 194 Broadway (Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (August 2011), http://www.MetroHistory.com).
Apparently the building was constructed as an apartment hotel and was converted to transient use in 1906. The following appeared in the New York Times, 7 Jan. 1906, "Ritchey & Newell have leased for Edward H. Litchfield to William F. Ingold the Hotel Artlington at 18 and 20 West Twenty-fifth Street, for a term of twenty-one years and nine months at an aggregate rental of $514,000. The Arlington is a twelve-story structure built three years ago as an apartment hotel. Mr. Ingold, until recently manager of the Hotel Endicott, will remodel the structure and convert it into a transient hotel."
The 1910 U. S. Census recorded only 28 lodgers at the Arlington Hotel. Probably this count was not complete. In 1920 81 people were living at the hotel, and in 1930 the count was 76. In 1940 only 40 were recorded. The 1940 count also looks as if it was not completed. A current (2013) description of the Comfort Inn Chelsea, 18-20 West 25th St., says that the hotel has 99 rooms. Probably the number of rooms during its early years was somewhere around this amount.
This ad for the Hotel Arlington appeared in The Pacific Monthly, May, 1911.
An ad in the journal Judge, May 1913, read, "Hotel Arlington / 18-20 West 25th Street / Just off Broadway and Madison Square / New York / Twelve-story fireproof building - handsomely furnished / Rooms - modern in all respects. In the centre of the shopping and theatrical sections. Booklet / Rates $1.00 per day up / E. W. Austin, Mgr. V. A. Austin, Prop."
Trow's Copartnership Directory for New York City, 1908, listed the following officers in the Hotel Arlington Co., 18 W. 25th St., William F. Ingold, Willis B. David, and Harry W. Doremus.
William F. Ingold (1861?-?) was 65 years old and stated that he was born 16 Sept. 1861, when he was listed on the ship's manifest of the SS Olympic sailing from Southampton to New York 9 May 1928. He can be traced through the three successive U. S. census reports of 1900 through 1920. In 1900 his birthdate was recorded as Sept. 1863. In 1910 he was listed as the "Hotel Keeper" at the Hotel Gregorian, 44 W. 35th St. (In 1926 this ad for the Hotel Gregorian appeared in the New York Times. In 2007 the hotel at 44 W. 35th St. was a Comfort Inn.) In 1920 William Ingold lived at 239 W. 103rd St., Manhattan, and his occupation was "propietor, Hotel."
Harry Ward Doremus (1876-?) was involved in the management of several small hotels in New York, including the Hotel St. Louis on E. 32nd St.
Another important figure in the Arlington Hotel's history was David Hurst Knott (1879-1954). David Knott's obituary in the New York Times, 5 May 1954, p. 31, read in part, "David H. Knott, chairman of the Knott Hotels Corporation of 575 Madison Avenue and chairman of the New York County Democratic Committee for the last thirty-five years, died early yesterday in his sleep at Doctors Hospital. He was admitted ten days ago. He was 75 years old. ... As chairman of the corporation that operates twenty-one hotels and eight cafeterias in this city and elsewhere, Mr. Knott had gained an interest in the business early in life. After attending public schools here and being graduated from Peddie Institute in Hightstown, N. J., Mr. Knott spent a short time with a printing firm. He gave this up, however, when his father offered him a job as room clerk in the Judson Hotel, which he operated, in Washington Square. ... His progress in the hotel field was steady and five years ago included the ownership, leasing or management of some thirty-five hotels. These included the Shelton, McAlpin and Collingwood Hotels, which have been dropped from the list, which now includes, besides the New Weston, the Robert Treat in Newark, the Westbury and the Wellington among the larger hotels, the Forest Hills Inn and the Garden City Hotel, and other large hotels in Albany, Pittsburgh and Haverford, Pa., and Washington."
Some of the Knott hotels in and around Washington Square in the early years of his career were the Holley Hotel, 36 Washington Square West; the Hotel Earle, 103 Waverley Place; and the Judson Hotel, 53 Washington Square South. In 1915 he was listed as president at the following: Arlington Hotel, 18 W. 25th St.; Earle Hotel (since 1984 called the Washington Square Hotel), 103 Waverly Place; Holley Hotel, 36 Washington Square West; and the Judson Hotel, 53 Washington Square South. By 1925 the list had added the Hotel Albert, 42 E. 11th St. Hotel Irving, 26 Gramercy Park, and the Hotel Chelsea, 222 W. 23rd St.
Some early ads that mention James Knott as proprietor or manager are these for the Hotel Irving and the Earle. Both appeared in the New York Times and are dated 1903.
Some of the Knott hotels in this ad from 1920 for the Kew Gardens Inn in Queens include the Holley, Earle, Judson, Albert, Irving, Wellington and Van Rensselaer.
Another list of Knott hotels appeared in the Hotel Red Book, 1920.
In 1929 David Knott was president of the Holley Hotel Co. when that hotel at 36 Washington Square West was rebuilt as a 16-story structure.
In 1932 an ad in the New York Times listed 25 Knott hotels in New York City. These included uptown hotels such as the Hotel Emerson on West 75th Street, Standish Hall at 45 W. 81st Street (more recently called the Excelsior), and Hotel King's Crown at Broadway and 116th St., "Across from Columbia University. Quiet and comfortable."
In 1950 the Manhattan telephone directory listed the following under the Knott Hotels Corp., Brittany, 55 E. 10th St.; Cornish Arms, 311 W. 23rd St.; Fairfax, 116 E. 56th St.; Garden City Hotel, Garden City, Queens; Holley, 36 Washington Square; Laurelton, 7th Ave. & 55th St.; McAlpin, Broadway at 34th St.; New Weston, Madison Ave. at 50th St.; Paris, West End Ave. at 97th St.; Shelton, Lexington Ave. at 49th St.; Van Rensselaer, 15 E. 11th St.; Wellington, 7th Ave. & 55th St.; and Winslow, 45 E. 55th St.
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