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The Grand Dame of Broad Street

George Boldt opened the Bellevue Hotel in 1881 at the northwest corner of Broad and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia. He acquired the Stratford Hotel at the southwest corner, demolished it, and built the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, where it still stands today as the Grand Dame of Broad Street

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It’s believed that Chicken a la King was created at the hotel in the 1890’s by the hotel’s cook, William King

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 The Bellevue-Stratford was the headquarters of the 1936 and 1948 National Republican Conventions and the 1948 National Democratic Convention.

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 October 30, 1963: President Kennedy rode in a 13-mile open car motorcade from the Philadelphia Airport to the Bellevue. Just over three weeks later, Kennedy was assassinated during a shorter procession in Dallas.

 Light board designed by Thomas Edison

Light board designed by Thomas Edison

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 The hotel achieved worldwide notoriety in July 1976, hosting the statewide convention of the American Legion. Shortly after the convention, a pneumonia-like illness killed 29 and sickened 182 who’d been at the hotel. The outbreak, which led to the discovery of a new type of bacteria, was dubbed “Legionnaires Disease.” Publicity over Legionnaires Disease caused occupancy to plummet, and the hotel closed in November 1976.

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Restoration of the hotel began under new owners in 1978. 44,000 square yards of carpet were imported from Ireland, 25 tons of marble imported from Portugal, and crystal chandeliers were imported from Uruguay

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 The balconies on the south, west, and north sides of the XIX Restaurant provide the highest outdoor dining experience in Philadelphia

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