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The Hotel Casey 1909-2001, Scranton, PA



Construction began by clearing the site. This picture was taken August 26, 1909
The Scranton Tmes, August 26, 1909

GROUND BROKEN FOR CASEY GRAND HOTEL
MESSRS. A.J. AND P.J. CASEY SWUNG THE FIRST PICK AND SHOVEL

Long before the hour when Lackawanna avenue assumes its busy hurly-burly in the neighborhood of the Lackawanna railroad station, two men scampered up the embankment at the corner of Lackawanna and Adams avenues. Like boys out for a play(?) their ragged faces bore happy smiles. Suddenly one of them took a pick in his hands and with a hefty swing sunk the shiny steel into the earth, clean up to the handle. Then without waste of words and a grin the younger of the two sank a shovel into the loosened earth and turned it over. The other man tried the shovel too and in an instant it was all over, ground was broken for the Casey Grand, and the men were P.J. and A.J. Casey, who are building it.

The incident was unmarked by any ceremony, and went off in a businesslike manner. When the proprietors of what is to be the city's finest hotel were through, they went off to their business while a gang boss put a crowd of men and a steam shovel to digging the excavations for the new hotel.

"We got the pick and the shovel", said P.J. Casey afterwards. "We'll mount it and frame it with a dash o'green in the middle for good luck."

Mr. Casey stated that Contractor Carlucci expected to complete the excavation in thirty days and start the foundations. The roof will be on before January, but of course all that it will be is a skeleton of steel to that time. Next August it will be completed.

The steel contract has been awarded to the Lackawanna Steel company, so that more Scranton people will profit. The Lackawanna Steel company employs many persons who used to be here before the plant was moved.

CONTRACT PRICE
FOR HOTEL CASEY
_________

The contract for the building of the Casey Grand hotel, was filed in the office of Prothonotary W.M. Bunnell today. The Carlucci Stone company, which will build the hotel, will receive $386,000 for its work.

The contract calls for an indemnifying bond of $40,000, which protects A.J. and P.J. Casey, the owners, from suits growing out of accidents which may occur during the erection of the eleven-story structure, and another bond of $200,000 for the faithful performance of the contract on the part of the successful bidders for the work. *


The picture below was taken on August 30, 1909. The original shows all the buildings of the one above, but has been cropped for this page. The thumbnail on the left shows the large tree on the ground and how much of the slope has been removed. The picture on the right connects to a large image (561 kb) that shows the signs and "supervisors". The posters on the steam shovel advertise a "Professional Marathon." The full version shows more at the top than the thumbnail.

The corner stone in the first floor of red bricks says 1910.
Left - the famous corner view taken on June 2, 1910 - Adams and Lackawanna.
Below - the back on June 28, 1910. The Hotel Casey opened Jan. 21, 1911 and closed in 1982.

.
Close-ups of part of the architect's (Charles R. Weatherhogg) sketch and the picture taken in 1910.

The stone crest/shield concept was not as elaborate as the final. Below the shield is a lions head, many of which were salvaged. One crest is in the lobby of the Hilton, which was built to replace it.

Below is the architect's sketch of the Hotel Casey - or as much as would fit on the scanner. The missing roof detail is above. To the right is the roof edge from the card at the right created from it - it was not corrected to reflect the actual construction.

This postcard shows most of the people and vehicles from the architect's sketch.

The Scranton Times, January 20, 1911

SCRANTON'S NEW "PERFECT HOTEL",
THE CASEY, READY FOR OPENING
————————————————
Magnificent New Structure Will Be Thrown Open To The Public For Business
Tomorrow Night at 6 O'clock ---- There Will Be No Formal Opening But A Great Crowd Is Assured.
____________________

Built for permanency, with an idea to the beautiful, and thought for the convenience of the public, the Hotel Casey stands today completed, an imposing monument to the courage of two men, Andrew J. and Patrick J. Casey, who, with their own resources reared at the corner of Lackawanna and Adams avenue, one of the most magnificent hotels in the country.

The hotel, having cost between $300,000 and $900.000, will be thrown open to the public at 6 o'clock tomorrow night. There will be no ostentatious display; it will be simply ready to do business in a business way, and receive with hearty welcome the people who come. All the dedication there will be took place last night when the Casey brothers dined their families. But there will be éclat to the opening anyhow, since more than six hundred persons have reserved tables from 6 o'clock on.

Tonight a score or so of newspaper men will be entertained at dinner and taken on a tour of inspection through the building by the Messrs. Casey and Milton Roblee, the manager. Some were taken through the hotel yesterday afternoon, and to declare that language is inadequate to properly impress upon the public the wonderful hostelry the Casey is, is no exaggeration.

From the basement to the eleventh floor everything is modern to the point of perfection, artistically beautiful and luxurious. "The
Perfect Hotel" is the motto that the Casey Brothers have set. That is to be never lost sight of is indicated at every hand.

Details Not Overlooked

Architecturally the hotel is a grand and worthy addition to the city's fine public and semi-public buildings, sharing equal honors with the handsome Lackawanna railroad station close by, which until the Casey was completed, enjoyed alone the distinction of being the Mecca of visitors to the city.

No details that will give comfort and pleasure to patrons have been overlooked

No three rooms in the hotel are papered alike. In every room there are attractive pictures on the walls; on every bureau is a pretty pin cushion with buttons, pins and needle and threads, made especially for the hotel by the sisters at the House of the Good Shepherd. The furniture is good, comfortable and elegant in appearance. Nothing but mahogany is used. In the higher priced rooms the beds are of solid brass, but even in the lowest priced rooms the beds are the best. Where there is no room with bath there is a porcelain wash bowl, enameled mirror and other appurtenances.

Public baths on each floor are models of the plumbing art while the baths attached to rooms and suites are unexcelled. Every room has a telephone and combination writing tables.

Has All Latest Ideas

It was the genius of Charles R. Weatherhogg, an architect from Fort Wayne, Ind., that planned the hotel, combining his own knowledge and art and ideas of the Casey Brothers.

Charles P. Kreig, of this city, was the supervising architect.

The hotel is modern in every respect, embodying the latest ideas in construction, the materials used being steel, brick, granite concrete, marble and bronze. It is fireproof, eleven stories high, and has 250 rooms. From the sub-basement to the big electric sign on the roof everything fits in with the rest without a jarring note.

The lobby or rotunda is the striking feature that greets the eye on entry to the hotel. It is a big square hall in the Italian Renaissance. The floor is tiled and conspicuous in the tiling, is the crest of the hotel, shaped like a shield with a broad bar running diagonally across and the latin phrase "Per Varios Casus" (through many vicissitudes) inscribed thereon. This crest is on all the linen, on much of the furniture, on all the stationary, the silver, and in the schemes of decoration in various parts of the hotel. The sidewalls of the lobby are wainscoted in Italian marble to a height of nine feet. Above this is eight feet of oxidized green and gold paneling, surmounted by a cornice and embellishments of old ivory.

Over all is a great cathedral dome of beautiful stained glass that lets the daylight in.

Telephone Service

By far one of the biggest conveniences to patrons of the Casey is the telephone service, installed by the Bell Telephone company.  Two hundred and sixty-one stations are distributed throughout the building, in the different rooms, cafes, dining rooms, barber shop, etc., which terminate on a two section switchboard of modern type.

Calls can be passed by the occupants in any room for service in the hotel, local or long distance calls.

There are also five automatic public telephone booths,  which outside of their convenience to patrons, add to the attractiveness of the main floor adjoining the office.

There are a number of added features in the telephone line, especially in the provisions made from the mezzanine floor, dining rooms and cafes, which affords telephone connection from any table or part of these departments.

On the whole the adequacy of the Bell Telephone equipment, to the needs of the patrons of the hotel, is a feature well covered by the proprietors of the hotel.

Italian Marble Columns

Big electroliers and many smaller fixtures, all artistically wrought, make a soft and subdued light, yet plentiful. Huge Italian marble columns support the mezzanine floor, looking down in the lobby. The main office and cigar stand are in the lobby. The woodwork is mahogany in its natural color and grains. The furniture consists of big leather chairs and settees.

On the same floor is the main dining room. This is a dream of beauty in the French renaissance. An old gold ceiling is supported by huge square pillars elaborately decorated. Its walls are in cabinet finished wainscoting and frescoing. The furniture is dark mahogany and the draperies red and green velour set off by the Casey crest in illuminated bronze. Beveled plate art glass is another feature of the scheme. It is on the Adams avenue side. On the west side of the hotel are two dining rooms of extraordinary attractiveness. One is the Baronial Palm Room and the other the Cafe Cianfenelli.

The former takes one back to the Tudor period. Green and gold is the color scheme, furniture dark and substantial and walls panelled in Japanese leather. Leaded glass with prismatic globes and natural light form an effect at once entrancing and soothing. Natural palms, ferns and singing canaries lend to the picture.

Cafe A Quiet Place

The cafe Cianfenelli is after the Florentine in decoration and is a "quiet corner for a bite to eat and a cooling drink away from the maddening throng", as the poetic soul of Manager Roblee puts it. Blending with the song of the canaries there will be music by a Hungarian orchestra.

Entering from the corner of Lackawanna and Adams avenue is the cafe and grill room for men. It is of a type distinctive, simple yet rich in its Flemish furniture and decorations. The chairs are heavy and quaint, so too the tables. The atmosphere is such as to make it inviting for men to bring their friends for a drink or a little lunch while talking business or having a few idle moments in which to renew old friendships, away from the more formal dining rooms of the big hotel.

Taking the elevator or going by way of the grand stair case one is brought to the mezzanine floor over the lobby.

In the center is an open square and the dome that is over the lobby. A specially made art rail is around the four sides. Towards the Adams avenue side is a ladies parlor or lounging room comfortably equipped with big chairs and sofas in mahogany and green velour with the Casey crest prominent on the backs of the chairs.

Off in the alcove is an $1800 grand piano. On the west side of the building is a line of mahogany writing desks for men or women, a public stenographer's station and numerous other things of convenience.

Big Banquet Room

Off towards the north end of the building is a banquet room that will seat four hundred, which can also be used as a ball room or convention hall. It is 46x80 and palatial. Five electroliers throw a glow over the room that makes it bright as day and add to the grandeur of the truly magnificent interior decorations. There are also guest rooms on this floor behind the parlors and facing the street, but the whole arrangement aside from this is such that the entire floor is adapted to social functions of any kind.

There are three small dining rooms where from six to sixty guests can be entertained without interruption from other parts of the hotel. For business men and clubs there is also a directors room for the transaction of business.

As to the sleeping compartments it is evident that careful study was given to this feature. They are perfect in ventilation and easy of access. The Sheraton, Chippendale, Louis XV and Louis XVI periods have been followed in the matter of furniture and decorations.

There are easy chairs, trunk stands, costumers, reading lamps at heads of the beds, writing tables, Wilton velvet carpets and Arabian curtains, everything in fact that human ingenuity is capable of devising for the comfort of people.

The state chamber is a suite of three rooms, two bed rooms, a parlor and bath.

It is royal in every respect. The furniture  is of Circassian walnut, beds the best brass made, linen the purest, and quiltings of the finest texture.

The halls are laid with Royal Axminster carpet of a quality that one sinks into it as if walking on cushions.

—————— Additional Excerpts ——————

Scattered through the hotel are exactly 250 bath tubs, as many bath tubs as there are rooms. All of the baths are models of perfection, with the most modern sanitary devices known.

There are 322 basins, 1600 fixtures and 14 miles of pipe. On each floor are two public toilets and one also for employees. On each floor are also six public baths and three fire hose connections each with sixty feet of hose.

The capacity of the water system is 2000 gallons an hour. The tubs, basins and other fixtures are solid porcelain of the very best kind, immaculate in their whiteness and finish. Nickel and silver are employed in the embellishments while the mirrors in baths and toilets are set in enameled frames.

The entire equipment was made in accordance with specifications drawn particularly for the hotel. There are ice water lines running to each floor, the water being cooled by the brine system  There is also one public ice water fountain on each floor.

Another feature about the plumbing is that there is a continuous hot water circulation so that hot water is drawn the instant the faucet is turned.

All water is filtered through gravel and sand.

___________________________________________________________

To do the woodwork in the Hotel Casey was a job of much magnitude. It is an eleven-story building and there are 1,100 doors and 600 windows alone. There are thousands of feet of elaborate mouldings, plate shelves, paneling, and a bulk of fixtures of all kinds....

Mahogany was the principal wood used on the mezzanine floor.  The doors are all solid mahogany of the best kind. They are inlaid and finished in the natural color. In the finishing the grain is brought out in all its primeval beauty.

The fit of doors, windows, brackets, mouldings and panels couldn't be smoother and the finish is a work of art.  *


Continued

The text and images on this page may by saved for personal research, but may not be published in any form, including on another web site, without specific permission. Text and images copyrighted 2004 by Susan Carter White Pieroth, with the exception of the Scranton Times excerpts, which were transcribed by Ralph W. Robinson, II.
The Casey Brothers, Builders of The Hotel Casey, Scranton, PA, from Steinke's 1914 Story of Scranton
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