In my last post, I have been telling you folks of the most wonderfully wonderful things that would be turning 100 this year(see my previous post right here); However, there was one thing that has been overlooked, and with that, I apologize; It is a famous American hotel that got its start on May 31st, 1919, as Hilton Hotels. Yes, I believe that the hotel company that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year happens to be Hilton, which is now known as Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
Hilton is founded by a man by the name of Conrad Hilton; He was an American hotelier who was also born in San Antonio, New Mexico. Hilton bought his very first hotel in 1919 in Cisco, Texas, rather than buying oil during the height of the oil boom and after a bank purchase fell through. It was at that hotel that it did such a brisk business, enough that rooms changed hands as often as three times a day, as well as the dining room being converted into additional rooms just to meet the demand.
In 1925 in Dallas, Texas, a high-rise hotel had opened, and that one would certainly be the hotel that bear the Hilton name; And even in Chicago, they have a Hilton hotel, too, the Conrad Hilton Hotel, named after the founder. The hotel would become a best-known setting for the 1968 Democratic Convention police riot, which had occurred on Michigan Avenue, across the street in Grant Park on August 28th of that year; It was it that event that demonstrators began protesting that most famous chant of all, “The whole world is watching”, and because of this, for the first time in its history, the hotel’s doors were locked. As a result of the violence caused by the riots, the hotel had suffered minor damage.
You might be very well surprised to know that John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace at a Hilton hotel: It was there at the Amsterdam Hilton in room 902 that this strange kind of demonstration took place, between March 25th and 31st, 1969. That room has become a popular tourist destination ever since.
Fast-forward 20 years, in 1989 to be exact; That year, the Hilton hotel company would establish its own guest loyalty program, the Hilton Honors program. In 2009, 20 more years later, Hilton would move its headquarters to McLean, Virginia, far from Beverly Hills, California.
In 2015, something amazing happened to Hilton: Approximately 20 of the hotel company’s Hotels & Resorts properties had been inducted into the Historic Hotels of America organization. Among those Hilton hotels that had been inducted into that organization was the one that hosted the final speech of President John F. Kennedy, the Hilton Fort Worth, as well as the one in which it was the setting for the Elvis Presley film, “Blue Hawaii”, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
Today, Hilton remains the hotel company that’s as strong as it ever was when Conrad Hilton opened his very first hotel 100 years ago, in 1919.