William M. Bunn Taking On The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel

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William Malcom Bunn, born January 1, 1842-September 19th,1923, was an American newspaper man and Governor of Idaho Territory. He was born in Philadelphia and lived there. He worked in a factory at age 11 until he made 14 years old and was sent to New York. There he started attending a school ran by his uncle. Bunn became politically active in 1866 serving as a delegate in Philadelphia’s Republican Convention.

In 1868 he was elected to the first consecutive term in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and in 1878 Bunn purchased the Philadelphia Sunday Transcript. In addition to his business, Bunn started to develop a social life becoming a well-known dinner speaker. He then wrote the book “Some After Dinner Speeches of William M Bunn” – More information on the book here.

 

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Constructed in 1904, The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel is a land mark building at 200 S. Broad St. at the corner of Walnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Bellevue-Stratford was the center of Philadelphia’s cultural, social and business activities. It soon functioned as a sort of clubhouse for the Philadelphia establishment, not only a place where the rich and powerful dined and occasionally slept, but also the venue for their meetings and social functions. George Bolt owned the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel outright and over two years in the making the Bellevue-Stratford was described at the time as the most luxurious hotel in the nation and perhaps the most spectacular hotel building in the world.

Decline 

The Great Depression brought hard times to the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. The hotel gained worldwide notoriety in July 1976, when it hosted a statewide convention of the American Legion. Soon after, a pneumonia-like disease killed 29 people and sickened 182 more who had been in the hotel.

 

 

The negative publicity associated with what became known as “Legionnaires’ disease” and caused occupancy at the Bellevue-Stratford to plummet to 4 percent. The hotel finally closed on November 18, 1976 but, before that time William M Bunn’s menu was produced and the items on the menu were served at this hotel.

 

          Menu Breakdown:

Lynnhaven Oysters – bivalve clamshell mollusks

Puree a la Bunn- creamy vegetable based sauce.

Roast Pheasant- stuffed pheasant which includes scalloped apples.

Pompano Marquery- boneless fillet of Gulf pompano in a marquery sauce.

Stratford Salad- tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and lettuces.

Beef Tongue- served with spinach and potatoes.

Pudding Malcombunnski- a dessert

Camembert- ripened cheese

 

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Beef Tongue

 

 More information on beef tongue here!

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An example of beef tongue served with potatoes and spinach- Prepared by Wylie Dufresne.

                           Restorations

The hotel reopened on September 26, 1979, managed by Fairmont Hotels, as The Fairmont Philadelphia. The following year, Western International Hotels bought a 49-percent interest in the hotel and assumed management on November 15, 1980 and returned the hotel to its original name, Bellevue Stratford. Two months later, Western International was itself renamed Westin Hotels, and the hotel was soon renamed The Westin Bellevue Stratford and on March 7th, 1986 the hotel was closed due to room renovation failures.

Then, Interstate Hotels & Resorts of Pittsburgh assumed management in December 1994 and the hotel’s name was shortened to The Bellevue. However, on December 1, 1996 Hyatt took over management of the hotel and in 2010 the hotel was moved from the Park Hyatt to the Hyatt division and its name was shortened to Hyatt at The Bellevue.

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The main Broad Street entrance in 2013.

 

Finally, the hotel moved to The Unbound Collection division of Hyatt in March 2018, and was renamed The Bellevue Hotel.