written and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
recorded and performed by Anja Keister
Hello, I’m Colleen. Thank you for joining me today as we take a look at the historic Gilman Hotel.
For generations, our families have stayed at The Gilman, the home-away-from-home that has been standing for 75 years!
It was the final vision of our town’s industrial leader, Lionel Gilman. Born in 1819 to a devoted mother and father only a few miles from where the hotel now stands, Lionel Gilman made a name for himself with multiple acts of business savvy, and early social awareness.
Indeed, Mr. Gilman was touted by colleagues as a symbol of strong leadership, a giving heart, and an eye for the future. While Mr. Gilman only lived two years after his amazing hotel was open for business, it was through strategic business plans laid out before he died, that ensured his building would stand proud for three quarters of century.
Basing his plans on an abandoned project, Lionel Gilman revitalized business on what is now known as Gilman Street, across from Gilman Park and within walking distance from multiple businesses that Mr. Gilman provided for. Initially only two floors with a modest café and secondhand shop, the Gilman Hotel became seven floors of spacious, affordable luxury, a renowned ballroom function hall, and a fashionable boutique.
Over the years, the Gilman Hotel has seen thousands upon thousands of transients on the go, including servicemen, celebrities, and public figures. But don’t you worry, it is still just as convenient and cozy to the everyman who is traveling 2 nights for business, or is in town with his wife and children all week.
The story starts here. Lionel Gilman, through perseverance in the down-on-your-luck 1900s, created a new century of opportunity. Refusing to compromise on supplies and equipment, Mr. Gilman personally oversaw reconstruction of this small family business and launched it into a friendly, respectable dream of a stay.
Mr. Gilman left his business to his brother, Tobias Gilman, respected philanthropist and father of industry. Known for his work in shipyard conglomerates, Tobias saw to fulfill his brother’s dying wish, and complete the hotel as we know it today.
Here we see the lavish Persephone Ballroom, which was renovated fully in the 1950s. This comfortable, stylish room has been host to many fabulous parties, events, and functions. While a 1954 earthquake did its best to shut down the party, the Gilman spirit could not be denied. It was built stronger than ever.
Notice those antique diamond chandeliers? They are complete reproduction of the original chandeliers enjoyed by countless guests in 1904 through the 1950s, and were lovingly re-created to keep the timeless elegance the Gilman began with. We see no reason to attempt to improve on perfection. But don’t you worry; we are always on top of today’s electrical needs, and fire safety concerns. An entirely new system was installed for our guests only last year.
And talk about service! Our staff is equipped to provide you with all the comforts of home at an elevated level. Our towels can’t be beat! Our restaurant serves up the best stuffed crab this side of the country! Our beds are more comfortable than you could ever demand of your everyday homelife.
After Tobias passed on, a trust was recognized by the state to provide ownership and security to the Gilman Legacy Foundation. Truly this was the best way for the hotel to be preserved despite any changes that might occur economically, politically, or legally. The Gilman Legacy Foundation’s mission to keep the hotel safe and comfortable, inviting all guests and longterm residents to enjoy their time here for as long as they wish.
Additionally, the Gilman Legacy Foundation is at the forefront of local charitable work. Indeed, the Sixteenth Street Orphanage, also unofficially known as the Gilman Home for Children is provided to by the GLF, as is the Amity School for Girls, and Diamond Pond Community Playhouse which is preparing their fall season with an exciting new production of Merchant of Venice. See you in the front row!
You’re now seeing a series of images from some of our everyday activities. There’s our bellman with your bags; he’ll get them safely on their way. Oh our concierge of our hotel boutique is the one to find for last minute flowers or gifts, and simply your home essentials. Hey there, Julie! Someone forgot a toothbrush!
And new this year, we’re opening an on-sight kennel for your traveling furry friends to enjoy their own set of amenities. Look out, Rover could get used to this!
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon walk in our magnificent and intimate courtyard which features our well maintained rock garden and fish pond. That fountain featuring that mischievous little water sprite has been with us these 75 years!
You too can enjoy the Gilman in all kinds of ways. Contact us today through [garbled] and make your reservations. Presidential penthouse apartment, honeymoon suite, and adorable rooms of affordable luxury are all available, pending availability.
We can’t wait to see you at the Gilman! You’ll want to stay here forever!