Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hawthorne Hotel Ballroom in the 1930s

Thanks to a friendly local, we now have not one, but two photos of large events in the Grand Ballroom of the Hawthorne Hotel that took place during the 1930s.  Here are the images for your enjoyment.  I took some close-up photos of each of them so you could see some of the detail. To make any of the photos even larger on your computer screen, you can simply click on the image.

The first four images are of the newest photo to come to our collection of memorabilia.  Interestingly it is of the seventh annual Christmas party of the Paramount-Empire-Plaza Theatres.  If you will remember back about a month ago I posted photos of the "new-to-us" artwork in the Tavern.  Two of the pieces are posters for entertainment events that took place at the Empire Theatre here in Salem (no longer extant.)

 I love the fact that you can see a lot of young people in this photo.  Clearly working in the local theater was a job for teenagers in the 1930s just as it is today.
I wonder if the musical entertainment was hired for this event, or came from the Theatre itself?
 The photo below is one that we have had for as long as I have been with the Hawthorne Hotel, some 13+ years now.  As you can see the rooms was set more formally for this corporate event.

Whenever I take people on a tour of the hotel I like to stop in front of this photo and relate a story I find relevant to the food and beverage side of our business.  As you can see in the photo, the room was set with long banquet tables, people sitting shoulder to shoulder.  This was the style in virtually all banquet settings up until the time that John F. Kennedy became President.  Jackie Kennedy did not like that style of table, and when she became the First Lady she basically banned that kind of seating at White House events, deciding that round tables made for more friendly conversations at banquets and other types of meal functions.

So today, in most banquet settings, round tables are now the common set-up choice because of her influence, which extended far beyond pillbox hats and Chanel suits, and as it turned out, was much more long-lasting.

 This event was the 59th anniversary celebration of the Salem Electric Lighting Co.

I hope you enjoy this tiny sliver of our history.  If you happen to know anyone who has any Hawthorne Hotel photos that we could borrow, we are always looking for ways to add to our archives.


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