Friday, July 28, 2017

The Cold War Hotel

Hello Everyone! Back again with a fascinating story about one of our keys here at The Baldpate Inn. A few weeks ago, I presented at a Summer Enchanted Evening event on Wartime Keys throughout the key room. The history I learned was truly captivating and the best part was that there were so many stories to tell. Although I did cover some of the American wars, there is one in particular I wasn’t able to learn about, until now.

This key was given to us in 1991, the very same year the Soviet Union fell apart and the Cold War was officially over. Marlene Remington of Colorado donated the key that unlocks room 7016 at the legendary Moskva Hotel (Russian for Moscow Hotel). The idea of building Hotel Moscow was constructed in the 1920s because the USSR government wanted to create a symbol for socialist construction that would challenge the buildings in Chicago and New York City. Construction began in 1932 and lasted until 1938 but the hotel officially opened its doors on December 20, 1935.

 Hotel Moscow is not part of the famed “Seven Sisters”, a group of skyscrapers in Moscow that are known to be designed in a “Stalinist” style. The “Seven Sisters” include the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel,The Hotel Ukraina, Kudrinskaya Square Building, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs main building, the main building of Moscow State University, and the Red Gates Administrative Building. The story goes that the architect Alexei Shchusev presented two separate designs of Hotel Moscow to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, but since they were on the same sheet of paper instead of picking one design like Shchusev would have hoped, Stalin signed the middle of the paper. Of course, no one wanted to question Stalin as to which building he wanted so both designs were constructed giving the building its asymmetrical style. Hotel Moscow was equipped with 1,000 guest rooms and known for providing its guests with high-profile luxury accommodations, including the hotels picture featured on every bottle of Stolichnaya vodka that is still produced today.

Years after Stalin’s reign had ended, a debate culminated around if the Hotel Moskva was a haunting reminder of Stalin and the Soviet Union or a historical architectural monument. It was finally decided in 2002 that the original Hotel Moscow would be demolished and a modern replica would be built in its place. Now, the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow features 21st century technology unaccompanied by the Stalinist design. Hotel Moscow serves as a symbol to the both dark and heroic era, but in any case a piece of the original Hotel Moskva can still be found in our key room.

Until next time!

Jessica Carter, Baldpate Museum Curator

Sources: Hotel Moskva