Kingston’s Governor Clinton Hotel has had a special place in the city’s history and residents’ hearts even before it opened in 1926.
Planning for the hotel began in the early 1920s, when the Chamber of Commerce formed a Hotel Committee to review the options available for bringing a first-class hotel to downtown Kingston. A number of national hotel consultants assessed the potential for a hotel, ultimately concluding Kingston and the surrounding area could support a modern hotel with 125 guest rooms, a ballroom, a restaurant and spaces for business and social meetings. Every guest room would have a lavatory and toilet, and most would have a bathtub or shower – still something of a luxury in hotels of the era.
Kingston’s citizens and businesses formed the Community Hotel Company of Kingston to sell stock to raise the $450,000 needed to build, furnish and equip the new facility. The American Hotels Corp. was hired to operate and manage Kingston’s new hotel. The arrangement was structured to protect local investors, who received a share of the profits and dividends, with the operator receiving a share of the profits only after certain financial goals and debt payments were achieved.
The new Governor Clinton Hotel quickly became the place to be in Kingston and the surrounding area. The spacious lobby and beautiful restaurants and banquet rooms on the street level provided the ambience of a big-city hotel. The guest rooms were well appointed and comfortable. The hotel was known for its fine food, and meals were included in the room rate. Menus often weren’t necessary; the chef custom-prepared an ever-changing variety of full meals with options for every palate. Numerous wedding, balls and other celebrations took place at The Governor Clinton, which hosted the local Kiwanis Club for 50 years and was the site of the Catskill 3500 Club’s first annual dinner in 1966. The hotel also housed WKNY’s radio studios when it first started broadcasting in 1939.
Over time Kingston’s economy and needs changed and the Governor Clinton Hotel was converted into senior apartments in 1976. Today, men and women aged 60 and up call the Governor Clinton home. The hotel’s grand lobby, restaurants and banquet rooms have been retained and now serve as social rooms, game rooms and spaces for exercise classes catering to the senior’s special needs. The building’s community room has a full kitchen for special events and cooking classes. A laundry room is conveniently located on the lower level. The Governor Clinton’s management coordinates a variety of clubs, gatherings, fitness programs and other support programs, helping residents stay fit and active while also providing opportunities for them to meet their neighbors.
The hotel is named after George Clinton, New York’s first and longest serving governor. Clinton, considered one of the nation’s Founding Fathers, was vice president of the United States under presidents Jefferson and Madison. He was known for his hatred of Tories and used seizure and sale of Tory estates to help keep taxes down. A supporter and friend of George Washington, he supplied food to the troops at Valley Forge, rode with Washington to the first Inauguration and hosted an impressive dinner to celebrate the historic event. Clinton died of a heart attack at the age of 72 while serving as vice president in 1809. Clinton was buried in Washington, where he’d died, but was reinterred in Kingston in 1908.
For more information about George Clinton, visit here.