Friday, September 21, 2012

Castle Square Hotel Ladies' Cafe

Castle Square Hotel
Ladies' Cafe ad
Boston Daily Globe
(May 20, 1899)

Castle Square Hotel Ladies' Cafe

Location: 421 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Opened: Hotel opened in 1894

Closed: Hotel closed and demolished from December 1932 - January 1933
Castle Square Hotel and Theatre (1894-1933)
The 500-room Castle Square Hotel was one of those grand "European Plan" hotels, the likes of which we shall never see again. It was designed by Winslow & Wetherell, and included a luxurious 1,800-seat theatre. It was centrally located--just three blocks from the New York, New Haven and Hartford and Boston and Albany rail station (the Back Bay Station).

Though the address for this hotel is usually listed as 421 Tremont Street, it had frontage on Tremont, Berkeley, and Chandler Streets, which may explain why the ad for the ladies cafe (see above) states that it is on Chandler Street. It's also likely, I suppose, that there was an entrance to the ladies' cafe off Chandler Street.

What is really fantastic about this ladies' cafe ad is that the "petit lunch" menu--"petit" is a misnomer if there ever was one--is listed in detail. For 25 cents you were STUFFED. Check this out:  cold boulllion in cups, mock turtle soup Baltimore, chicken croquettes with peas, lobster salad, along with Castle Square rolls and butter. For dessert, there was vanilla ice cream and strawberry shortcake. Now that's a classic ladies luncheon! If you and your lady luncheon guest had tickets for the theater later that evening, you were sure to snooze.

Speaking of the theater, we're told that the Castle Square Theatre included a vaudeville company and performance troupe. In 1917, a projection booth was added to the theater for films. By 1921, the theater became known as the Arlington Theatre. However, later in the 1920s, they returned to live theater performances and the name reverted back to the Castle Square Theatre.

So let's imagine that you and your lady companion have polished off your delectable "petit lunch." Perhaps you have strolled around the Back Bay for a bit, and now it is time to head for the Theatre. What might you have seen? Perhaps you might have seen the gorgeous Miss Izetta Jewel (1883-1978), a prominent and accomplished stage actress of the time who had a sixty-six week run with the Castle Square Stock Company beginning in May 1902. Here's a bit about her professional life:

Izetta Jewel received her education at the Henry C. de Mille School for Girls at Pompton Township, New Jersey, the East Greenwich Academy in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and a year's studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She made her professional stage debut at Wilmington, North Carolina on May 14, 1900 in a summer stock production ofThomas Hardy’s Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

Within two weeks of her debut the sixteen year old actress was offered the opportunity to replace the troup's recently departed lead actress as Fanny Le Grande in the their production of the Jules Massenet opera, Sapho. Later that year she joined the Rowe-King Repertoire Company's tour of New England and the following year supported actress Katherine Rober in summer stock productions at Providence, Rhode Island before touring with the Bennett and Moulton Opera Company for the 1901–02 season.

On May 5, 1902, Jewel began a consecutive sixty-six week run with the Castle Square Stock Company in Boston, playing such roles as Marianne in The Two Orphans, Polly Fletcher in The Lost Paradise, Helen McFarland in The Greatest Thing in the World, and Caroline Murat in More Than Queen.

In terms of her acting career, we'll stop there in 1902. But notice that Jewel was also a women's rights activist who went into politics later in later life:

On April 3, 1921 Jewel was among a delegation of fifty members of the National Woman's Party(NWP) that met with President Harding urging his support to call a special session of congress to address discrimination against women. Three months later the NWP named Jewel as one their twenty-seven founding members in gratitude for her work and financial support. By 1922 Jewel was a leading figure behind the Women’s Committee of the American Farm Bureau Federation that lobbied for reforms to help improve the lot of rural farmers and their families. Two years later she became the first woman south of the Mason Dixon line to win her party’s nomination for national office in a failed bid to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate. At the 1924 Democratic National Convention Jewel’s seconding speech (the first by a woman in both national parties) for presidential candidate John W. Davis captivated the usually distracted delegates for its eight minute duration and was duly rewarded by a warm applause. In 1930 she was unable to unseat her incumbent Republican rival to represent New York's 30th congressional district and the following year she failed to win a seat in the New York Assembly. Jewel served as Commissioner of Public Welfare for Schenectady in 1932 and 1933. At one point she was jailed for ignoring a court order to reinstate a fired public employee. Ironically a judge later voided the contempt of court charge because he felt as a woman she did not fully comprehend the consequences of ignoring the court. In 1935 Jewel was appointed Regional Director of Women’s Activities of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) overseeing women's relief projects in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kentucky and Ohio.

I just love it when all this random stuff just happens to pull together....

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