The Omni Parker House Hotel, which was founded as the Parker House in 1855, is the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States.
The founder of the hotel was Harvey D. Parker, who arrived in Boston in 1825 with only one dollar in his pocket. After seven years of hard work as a coachman, he bought a small lunch cafe which was called Parker’s Restaurant.
The cafe became very popular and soon he made a plan to build a high-end hotel that would attract the elite.
The hotel is located on School Street near the State House of Massachusetts and it has hosted many politicians including James Michael Curley, John F. Kennedy, Colin Powell, Ulysses S. Grant, and many more. Kennedy announced his candidacy for Congress here and proposed to his wife. It is very close to the Theater District, the Museum of Fine Art, all major subway lines, Faneuil Hall and New England Aquarium. In the hotel, there is the legendary nineteenth century Saturday Club.
Famous authors met in this club on the fourth Saturday of every month to read poems or talk about literature. One of the best stories is about the author Charles Dickens who lived in the hotel for two years. During this period he wrote his classic novel A Christmas Carol. He recited and performed this novel for the first time for the Saturday Club.
Food has always been central to the hotel’s identity. For Harvey, it was really important to have the best-cooked food in the city. The Boston Cream Pie was created in this hotel by the French gourmet chef, Sanzian.
Also, from 1912 to 1913, the Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh claimed to have worked at the hotel as a baker. The civil rights activist Malcolm X also worked at the hotel as a busboy for the restaurant and Emeril Lagasse was a sous chef from 1979 to 1981.
Harvey Parker died at the age of 79 on May 31, 1884, and he was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. In 1891, the host of the hotel was J. Reed Whipple. The original Parker House was demolished in the 1920s and several years later it was replaced with a modern building which today is known as the Omni Parker House Hotel.
This luxury hotel has 551 guestrooms and suites including the rooftop ballroom. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and it is currently under inspection to become a Boston Landmark.