Omni Parker House Hotel

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The Omni Parker House Hotel opened in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker and ever since has been not only an important location for Boston's literary history but also a common rendezvous spot for American politicians. The hotel was the brief home of a list of famous people from John Wilkes Booth to Jacques Offenbach. Among other things, the hotel is known for introducing the European Plan: a system for charging people's stay at hotels without the cost of a meal included.

The Parker House served as the meeting place for the Saturday Club on the fourth Saturday of every month. The Saturday Club was established in 1855 as an informal gathering for the thinking society. Famous members of the club included Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Louis Agassiz, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Charles Francis Adams and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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In 1867-68 English author Charles Dickens resided in the Omni Parker House, and it was here that he first recited and performed "A Christmas Carol" for the Saturday Club. To this day the Parker House still has the door to Dickens' guest room and a mirror that he used for rehearsals.

In the 1920s the original Parker House was demolished and replaced with a more modern building, but the location remained important to Boston. John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for Congress at the Omni Parker House in 1946 and Malcolm X claimed to work there as a busboy in the 1940s.

[Cover Photo Credit: Thea Prum via Flickr]

City of Boston Arts
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The Mayor's Office of Arts + Culture for Boston. We foster the growth of the cultural community in Boston and promote participation in the arts.

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