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Discover the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa with its blend of elegeance and modern convenience. The hotel's electricity is generated by local wind turbines.

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Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2006, dates back to 1865.


History of the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa

Discover three centuries of history at the legendary Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa. Founded in 1865, this fantastic resort has since evolved from a quaint farmhouse to a massive, internationally renowned holiday destination.


Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa is one of the last remaining wilderness getaways of America’s Gilded Age. Its story started rather unusually, as the building became a vacation hotspot by accident. In 1865, a stagecoach traveling north toward Montréal overturned just three miles outside of the neighboring town of Whitefield. Exhausted and soaked with rain, the passengers sojourned further up the road, while their driver attempted to fix the vehicle. Eventually, they stumbled upon the farmhouse of the William Franklin Dodge and his wife, Mary Eastman. The two immediately took the weary travelers into their home, providing them with a warm place to stay for the night. Mary even went out of her way to cook a great feast in their honor. Needless to say, the stagecoach passengers were incredibly impressed by their hospitality. They were especially enchanted with the farmhouse itself, as well as the picturesque landscape that surrounded the location. The visitors never forgot their trip to the Dodge home. In fact, the group actually returned later that summer, spending several weeks at the farmhouse for a long vacation. This moment marked the beginning of the Dodge family’s 113-year venture into the hospitality industry—one of the longest in American history to date.

Encouraged by their success, the Dodges quickly built a special annex onto their farmhouse that would provide exclusive guestrooms for their future patrons. The family then began advertising the new space within several Boston newspapers, referring to their farm as the “Mountain View House.” The marketing strategy proved to be a great success. Hundreds of guests made the trip high up into the White Mountains to experience the Dodges’ wonderful refuge. They were not only captivated by the area’s stunning scenery, but the delicious home-cooked meals made with ingredients collected from the family’s farm. Mary wound up managing the daily operations of the retreat, while William supervised the farm and toured guests throughout the countryside. Interest with the Dodge family farm soared across New England over the next few years. As the number of visitors increased, so too did William and Mary’s ambitions to expand upon the business. In 1872, the two constructed a massive manor to replace their farmhouse, which they continued to grow in size. By the 1890s, the farm could accommodate up to 140 guests! But the Dodge family estate no longer looked like the simple country homestead it had once been in the years after the American Civil War. Instead, the grounds now resembled the layout of a modern resort.

Business remained strong for the Dodge family and their Mountain View House heading into the 20th century. The ever-growing popularity caused the Dodges to expand the retreat yet again, adding three new wings onto the structure throughout the first few decades of the 1900s. Nevertheless, the construction did not exclusively involve building new guest accommodations. On the contrary, the family developed a number of structures that ranged from staff dormitories to recreational facilities. Soon enough, the Mountain View House was capable of entertaining some several hundred overnight guests! By this point, William and Mary’s descendants—Herbert Van Dodge and Franklin Schyuler Dodge—had inherited the retreat. Their stewardship saw the Mountain View House gain a national audience, as it began hosting some of America’s most illustrious citizens. Many prominent intellectuals explored their creative energies at the destination, including the likes of Robert Frost and Norman Rockwell. Prominent business figures, such as John D. Rockefeller, also escaped the tumult of city life by staying at the Mountain View House, too. Even Hollywood celebrities like Bette Davis and Betty Grable made the trip north to the Mountain View House. Perhaps the greatest guests to arrive were former U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge.

Franklin Schyuler Dodge eventually passed away in 1948, leaving the Mountain View House to his wife, Mary Bowden. After running the hotel alone for the better part of the next five years, Mary Bowden Dodge left the business to her two sons, John and Frank Schyuler, Jr. The brothers then operated the resort together for the better part of two decades, installing such wonderful facilities like a new conference center that they named “Century Hall.” All the while, the Mountain View House maintained its prestigious status as one of the nation’s leading holiday destinations. It was remained one of the prime locations for visiting U.S. presidents whenever they passed through the area, hosting individuals like John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in particular adored the retreat, spending hours reading inside the library at night. John eventually left the business toward the end of the 1960s, which made Franklin Schyuler Jr. as the sole owner. He continued to manage the Mountain View House until 1979, when a company called Mountain View Associates obtained the location. Unfortunately, the new owners could not make the endeavor profitable, and the resort closed indefinitely in 1986. Sitting dormant for more than a decade, much of its assets were sold off en masse. Real estate developers then acquired the complex and invested millions into restoring the historic resort back to its former glory. Spending some $20 million, the project magnificently rehabilitated the brilliant Gilded Age architecture that defined the space. Rechristened as the “Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa,” the complex debuted in May of 2002 to thunderous applause. This spectacular destination has now proudly reassumed its mantle as one of New Hampshire’s most fabulous historic retreats.

  • About the Location +

    The town of Whitefield is one of the most historic communities in New Hampshire, having been chartered on July 4, 1774—approximately two years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last town in the state to be organized by the colonial English government. Some historians believe the settlement’s name honored a man named George Whitefield, who was a famous English evangelist and patron of Dartmouth College. But others speculate that it was related to the glimmer of the nearby fields when they were covered in snow during the winter. Nevertheless, the town was formally incorporated two decades after the American Revolution. Some of its earliest inhabitants included Jeremy Belknap—one of America’s earliest historians—and John Langdon, who later became the 2nd Governor of New Hampshire. The community remained largely pastoral, too, even after the Boston and Maine Railroad arrive in the mid-19th century. Tourists soon followed from coastal New England though, who were enchanted by the town’s tranquil ambiance and historical character. Soon enough, several local families developed inns and hotels that could accommodate the town’s numerous visitors. The Dodge family’s Mountain View House emerged as the favorite among the tourists, becoming a local landmark by the height of the Gilded Age. Whitefield remains a popular vacation getaway today, as it hosts hundreds of visitors every year. Its historic downtown square serves as its central attraction, for its wonderful historic architecture is among the best preserved in the entire state.

    Whitefield itself resides within the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. Covering some 87 miles, it marks the northernmost end of the great Appalachian Mountains. Its peaks reach some of the highest elevations in the entire United States, too, with a few even reaching as far as 6,000 feet into the air. The most iconic mountaintops within the range are centered in what is called the “Presidential Range.” Its name is derived from the fact that the tallest summits are named after several prominent U.S. Presidents. Those individuals are as follows:

    • George Washington, 1st President of the United States
    • John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
    • Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States
    • James Monroe, 4th President of the United States
    • James Madison, 5th President of the United States
    • John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States
    • Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States (and New Hampshire’s only resident to occupy the Oval Office)
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 35th President of the United States

    All the mountains can be seen from miles away, with the largest—Mount Washington—visible out in the Gulf of Maine. Mount Washington itself serves as a training ground for experienced hikers who plan to climb such harrowing destinations as Mount Everest and K2. In order for nature enthusiasts to traverse the steep topography of the greater the Presidential Range, local outdoorsmen mapped several massive trails throughout the countryside. Among the most historic of those pathways are the Crawford Franconia notches, which countless people have navigated for centuries. The nearby Franconia Notch has even been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. As such, the White Mountains region of New Hampshire is among the most vibrant outdoor destinations in the entire country.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa is one of the last surviving grand resort hotels from late 19th-century America. Historical surveys of the destination report that the main building and most of the outlying attending structures retain most of their Gilded Age architecture. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the resort demonstrated, “the architectural evolution from a small-scale precursor to a full-blown grand resort hotel complex on a single site.” More importantly, it reflected the evolution of the early modern hospitality industry in the United States, reflecting the grassroots heritage of the business. Such magnificent structures typically evolved from modest—and often residential—buildings that gradually became massive, sprawling complexes. Akin to medieval European cottages, the development occurred over generations and featured little to no input from any sort of professional architect. As such, floor plans have often appeared asymmetrical, as they reflect the fluid personal preferences of multiple family members. While the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa was residential in origin, its layout is actually quite uniform—a remarkable trait that pays testimony to the original architectural vision embraced by the Dodge family.

    Most grand resort hotels derived their design principles from the residential architectural styles that were popular of their era. Many hoteliers believed that not only would it achieve some sense of architectural consistency, but that it would also provide for a familiar, relaxing atmosphere. As such, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa reflected the aesthetics of New England homesteads. As the U.S. Department of the Interior summarized, the resort’s main facility was, in essence, “a clapboard building with standard-sized window openings and flanking blinds, gabled and hipped roofs, [as well as] façade porches and turrets.” Only later in the 20th century did the resort start to overtly resemble something more similar to a modern hotel. It was around this time that the upper floors were renovated to include projecting bays and inset porches that were common for contemporary grand resort hotels. The Dodge family further augmented this change by infusing elements of Colonial Revivalism into the architecture, specifically within the three new wings that appeared during the early 1900s. Interestingly, the Dodges also developed a beautiful belvedere tower building, which reflected the unique characteristics of Italianate-style architecture. Nonetheless, the beautiful edifice blends seamlessly with the fantastic Colonial Revival architecture that defines the structure.

  • Famous Historic Guests +

    John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company

    Betty Grable, actress known for her roles in such films like Mother Wore Tights and How to Marry a Millionaire.

    Bette Davis, actress known for her roles in All About Eve, Jezebel, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    The Marx Brothers, a famous comedy troupe originally consisting of Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo.

    Norman Rockwell, artist most remembered for his paintings, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, and Four Freedoms.

    Robert Frost, poet and author best remembered for his four Pulitzer Prizes in Poetry.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson, intellectual known for writing Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series.

    Babe Ruth, outfielder for the New York Yankees who is regarded today as being the best baseball player ever.

    Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States (1885 – 1889; 1893 – 1897)

    Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901 – 1909)

    Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States (1921 – 1923)

    Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923 – 1929)

    Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (1929 – 1933)

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (1933 – 1945)

    Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (1945 – 1953)

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (1953 – 1961), and Supreme Allied Commander Europe during World War II.

    John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (1961 – 1963)

    Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States (1963 – 1969)

    Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States (1969 – 1974)

Image of Historian Stanley Turkel, Historic Hotels of AmericaImage of Stanley Turkel's Book Built To Last, Historic Hotels of America. Image of Turkel's Book Built to Last: 100 Year Old Hotels East of the Mississippi, Historic Hotels of America

Guest Historian Series

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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;

Hotel History: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa (1865), Whitefield, New Hampshire*

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

One of America's great resort hotels, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa had its origin in the post-Civil War period. On a rainy night in 1865, a group of travelers en route to Montreal were stranded when their stagecoach overturned in Whitefield, New Hampshire. The driver found shelter for his wet passengers a half-mile away at the home of William and Maryjane Dodge, who welcomed them with overnight lodging and a home-cooked breakfast. On that morning the spectacular views of the Presidential Range, a series of 5,000- and 6,000-foot peaks, were overwhelming. Later, the Dodges officially opened an inn called the Mountain View House in 1866 and, after several additions, could accommodate more than 200 guests by 1912 when the Belvedere Tower was added.

Like many other 19th century grand hotels that catered to the rich and famous, Mountain View House attracted guests including presidents, moguls, athletes, and guests who appreciated the outdoor activities available on a 12,000-acre resort facility. Some New Yorkers remember that they spent summer vacations at the Mountain View and that their fathers came for the weekend by overnight train. Railroad passenger service ended in the mid-1960s, a casualty of the interstate highway system. Tourism and timber have always been the lifeblood of this region's economic life. In the 19th century, the forests around Whitefield yielded lumber for shingles, clapboards, ship masts, butter tubs, and hardwood flooring. In 1884, the resort was managed by Van Herbert Dodge assisted by his wife Alice. Under their direction until 1919, the Mountain View was transformed from a medium-sized country inn to a substantial resort complex. The main building was expanded to accommodate 100 guests. In 1891-92, they built another three-story addition. A passage from Robert Greive's 1899 Guide Book to the Mountains of New Hampshire provides a graphic description:

  • “The Mountain View House [...] is so arranged that all the sleeping rooms (which are large, each containing a closet), commands a fine view; and the house being fitted with electric bells, telegraph, local and long-distance telephone, billiard hall, parlor for dancing and theatricals, fireplaces in public rooms, with a bowling alley and laundry connected, the guests do not experience the loss of any of the comforts of their city homes. The table is given special attention. Competent cooks are employed and fresh milk, cream and vegetables from the Mountain View Farm, together with choice products of the markets, render this important feature most excellent. The water is from the purest of mountain springs and the drainage is perfect. Near the house are delightful pine and maple groves. The extensive lawns are provided with tennis courts, croquet, baseball and golf (only after the hay was cut for the horses) grounds, which give ample opportunity for out-door recreation, and in-doors music is furnished for dancing. An excellent livery is connected, where good teams and experienced drivers can be secured at reasonable rates.”

As its reputation spread, so did the demand for rooms at the Mountain View House. The Dodges met the challenge. Under the leadership of Frank Schuyler Dodge, the owner/manager from 1919 until his death in 1948, significant additions were made to the complex, particularly during the decade of the 1920s.

Following Frank Dodge's untimely death, his wife Mary Bowden Dodge ran the Mountain View House for five years until her two sons, John B. and Frank Schuyler, Jr. came of age and became co-managers. During their tenure in 1965, Century Hall, a modern and highly functional entertainment and conference center, was constructed to the east of the hotel. In 1967, when John shifted to the field of real estate development, Frank Schuyler took over complete management of the enterprise.

The hotel remained in the Dodge family until 1979 when the oil embargo and gas shortages forced the family to sell the property. The Mountain View Resort closed in the 1980s with the furnishings auctioned in 1989. After being closed for 16 years, the hotel was reborn when Kevin Craffey, a general contractor from Duxbury, Massachusetts purchased the vacant hotel including 4,000 acres, a 9-hole golf course, clubhouse, and conference hall for $1.3 million. Craffey enlarged each guest room and reduced the total number from 200 to 144. A kitchen and indoor pool were added on the ground floor, and a new spa was installed in the building's three-story tower to provide facials, hydrotherapy, massages, and similar treatments.

In 2005, the hotel was purchased by the American Holding Group, a holding company which owns historic luxury hotels, including The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Florida; Le Pavillon in New Orleans, Louisiana; The Cincinnatian in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mountain View is the only hotel in New Hampshire to earn AAA Four-Diamond honors in both lodging and dining from 2008 through 2012. Committed to environmental sustainability, the hotel is an official EPA Green Power Partner, receiving all of its electric power from the wind, including production from its own on-site wind turbine. For its many sustainability initiatives, the resort has been named an Environmental Champion by the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association.

*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)


About Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."

Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting bookstore.aut