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Historic Hotels: History of the hotel industry in Boston Cambridge

Since 1829, when the original Tremont House, one of the pioneer first-class hotels in the nation, opened on the corner of Tremont and Beacon Streets, Boston has supported a strong hotel industry. The city has experienced a series of “hotel booms” that have taken place during the 19 th and 20 th centuries.

In terms of hotel construction, Boston's first hotel boom during the last hundred years began at the turn of the century. Between 1895 and 1912, 7,022 hotel rooms were built in the city. The second growth spurt took place between 1927 and 1929, when 3,100 hotel rooms were constructed. Between 1930 and 1955 there were no new hotels constructed in the city. A third took place in the 1960s, when 2,250 hotel rooms were built in Boston.

Between 1982 and 1985, 3,981 hotel rooms came on line. These spurts in hotel construction have followed or anticipated construction bursts in other areas. For example, hotel construction after 1900 followed the opening of Symphony Hall (1900), Horticultural Hall (1900), the Museum of Fine Arts (1909), and Fenway Park (1912). The construction of hotel rooms in the 1930s followed construction of Boston Arena in 1921 and Boston Garden in 1928. The 1,000 room Sheraton Boston was built in 1965, the same year as the Prudential Tower, Hynes Convention Center, and the completion of MASSPIKE I-90 into downtown Boston from Newton. Hotel construction in the 1980s accompanied the billion dollars a year in private development, the nearly 3 million square feet in institutional growth, and the expansion of Hynes Convention Center that all took place during the middle part of that decade.

The next surge is underway - on Boston's waterfront near the new Convention Center. Thirteen of Boston's hotels recently underwent renovations that were completed between 2002 and 2003. Six other hotels are scheduled to complete renovations in 2004.

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