Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bellhop at the Hawthorne Hotel c. 1927

Historic Hawthorne Hotel History

If you have ever entered or left the Hawthorne Hotel via the Essex Street Door, you may have seen this poster on the wall there:

To make it easier to read, we have transcribed the story here below:

A Bellhop’s Life

I came to work as a bellhop at the Hawthorne Hotel in 1927, when I was about seventeen years old, and stayed until I was appointed to the Salem Fire Department in 1940.
During my time at the Hawthorne, bellhops worked a six-day week. One day we would work a split shift, from 6:30 a.m. to noon and from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and the next day from noon to six. There were usually four bellhops on each shift and we all took turns operating the elevator.

My pay for a 49-hour work week as $5 plus tips. For the first few years I worked at the hotel the money was pretty good – at the time the Hawthorne had 150 rooms and was a very busy place. But after the crash in 1929, there were many days when we didn’t make a dime. Tips from an occasional banquet or wedding helped us survive.

During my thirteen years at the Hawthorne there were many interesting moments. I remember singlehandedly putting out two fires, one started by a man who fell asleep with a lit cigarette, and helping with another. Several times I was called on to lasso guests who were trying to sneak out without paying their bill.

I’ll never forget the day I stepped into an open elevator door in the lobby without looking and fell eighteen feet to the basement floor. Luckily, nothing was broken. Then one day in 1936, I lost $170 of the hotel’s money on the way back from the bank. The management must have trusted me because they wrote it off as a loss and I kept my job. Their trust was rewarded seven months later when a neighbor returned the money.

Loser of $170 Gets It Back But It Goes Abroad First
SALEM, July 16 – Last December Charles LaTulippe, a bellhop, lost $170 on his way from a bank to the Hotel Hawthorne. Tonight it was returned to him by Mrs. Rose Hadda. She said she found the money when she was on her way to Boston to sail for Europe. Returning this week from a seven-month tour, she checked with police to learn who had lost $170 and looked up the bellhop.

I would have to say the best part of the job was that it gave me a change to meet a lot of wonderful people and a few that were famous. Once I was assigned to escort Mr. Dawes, the Vice-President of the United States, up to the Marine Society cabin on the hotel roof. Not many people get an opportunity like that.”

- Charlie LaTulippe, 1998


Recently a guest was walking by and she noticed the photograph and got very excited.  You see, the man to the left of Charlie LaTulippe was her father, Armando Astolfi.  The reason she knew was because their family photos contain the very same photograph, and she also knew the story about how her father came to be working at the hotel.

Armando began working here at the age of 16.  After his time as a bellhop he served during World War II.  After serving overseas, he returned to the area and went to work at the United Shoe Corp.

The daughter, Susan Astolfi Mack no longer lives in the area.  She travels extensively due to her work.  She still has family in the area, including her sister, which is the reason for her visit.

Here are photos of Susan with her father's photo.  I hope you enjoy seeing how we continue to be connected to the area, and to the fabric of people's lives.

I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit more of the history of the Hawthorne Hotel.


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