The Hotel Wolcott at 4 West 31st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was built between 1902 and 1904 by developer William C. Dewey and was designed by the prominent architect John H. Duncan, who employed a bold French Beaux-Arts style combined with French Neo Classicism. The hotel was named after Henry Roger Wolcott, a businessman, politician and philanthropist.
Before it was even completed, the building was leased by Dewey to James H. Breslin, a prominent hotelier of the time, for three-years. Nonetheless, Dewey had difficulty with the financing for the building: unable to purchse steel locally, he imported it from Europe, which caused an unusually long construction period, which in turn made it difficult for Dewey to pay his creditors. In early 1905 The American Mortgage Company repossessed the building, which was sold at auction. Breslin's lease remained, but the hotel passed through the hands of a series of owners in the following decades.
The hotel was popular with travelers, but also housed many permanent residents, including dancer Isadora Duncan and Doris Duke, the heiress. Other prominent guests of the hotel included Edith Wharton and Henry Miller, and Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers stayed there while recording at Beltone Studios, which was in the building. The hotel also hosted events such as the meeting where Col. Jake Ruppert and Col. Tillinghast Huston purchased the New York Yankees in 1914 and Fiorello La Guardia's inauguration ball in 1938.
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