Old St. Andrews

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The Algonquin - Grand Opening, 1889

 

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St. Andrews Beacon, July 4, 1889

Nobody could find fault with the sample of St. Andrews weather we had today before the strangers who came here on Friday last to attend the opening of our magnificent summer hotel. It was charming, perhaps a trifle warm for the townspeople, but for the visitors from outside, who had emerged from almost torrid heat, it was like the breath of Paradise. It was almost 2 o'clock in the afternoon before the whistle of the locomotive at Chamcook indicated the approach of the train bearing the visitors. All the livery stables turned out their conveyances, and everybody else who could get there at all, hustled down to the station. The platform was crowded, as one of the handsomest trains on the N. B. R. rolled into the siding and the passengers began to emerge from the cars.

Amongst the first to alight was Lieut. Governor Tilley, who had come straight from the West, connecting with the St. Andrews train at McAdam. His honor looked a little jaded after his long journey, but a few days in the pure St. Andrews air served to recuperate him greatly. Governor E. C. Burleigh, of Maine and staff, consisting of sixteen persons, and Col. Henry M. Sprague; Adjutant-General of Augusta, Col. F. E. Boothby, of Portland, and Col. W. A. R. Boothby, of Waterville, were among the distinguished visitors to follow Sir Leonard. Among others on the station platform were Robert S. Gardiner, vice-president of the St. Andrews Land Company, and wife, of Newton Center, Mass.; Eugene F. Fay, and wife; W. B. Sears and wife; Roscoe A. Cobb and Nelson E. Weeks, and wives, of Brookline, Mass.; H. D. Waldron, of the Maine and central Railroad, Portland, Maine; Mayor McCollough of Calais; A. B. Chaffe, jr., agent of the C. P. R. Montreal; W. S. Taylor, Treasurer of the C. P. R., and wife, also of Montreal; Ald. Robertson and Miss Robertson, Ex-Mayor THorne; Hon. David McLellan; Alex. Finley; R. Keltie Jones; J. R. Stone; W. S. Fisher, and Mrs. Fisher, of St. John; W. E. Wood, of the All Rail line; Jas. L. Thompson, manager of the Frontier Steamship Company of Calais; J. Stewart, superintendent of the N. B. R., and wife, of Woodstock; G. A. Haggerty, Mechanical Superintendent of the N. B. R.; H. T. Frisbee; John C. McIntyre; C. H. Pierce; W. Mauser and wife; and John C. Madrigan of Houlton, Maine; W. W. Waugh, proprietor of the Home Journal, Boston; E. H. Crosby, of the editorial staff of the Boston Post, and wife; Benj. F. Priest, of the editorial staff of the Boston Transcript; George H. Brennan, of the Boston Globe staff; Rueben Crooke, editor Boston Traveller; Frank H. Davis of Bangor, representing the Boston Herald and Bangor Whig and Courier; Revel P. Smith of the Bangor News; E. P. Boutelle, of the Bangor Whig; E. H. Dakin, of the Industrial Journal, Bangor; Theo. Cary, of the Aroostook Pioneer, Houlton; J. E. B. McCready, editor of the Saint John Telegraph and John Bowes of the Saint John Gazette, and Mrs. Bowes.

As quickly as possible everybody was whisked to the Algonqin. Manager Jones and Chief Clerk Nason were waiting with open doors to extend to them a welcome. The visitors were charmed with the appearance of the hotel and its surroundings while those who stopped to feast their eyes on the scenery in the neighborhood of the hotel, admitted that they had ever dreamt that St. Andrews was half so beautiful. Mr. Jones and his staff had done wonders in the few days that were left to them, so that, with the exception of a few omissions that were scarcely noticeable, everything was in apple-pie order. The internal and external decorations were pretty and attractive, Chinese lanterns and bannerettes were suspended about the spacious piazza, while from the cupola, surmounting the 'eagle's nest,' the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes floated side by side. The interior ornamentation was almost wholly floral, and was very effectively arranged. In the hallway, at the bases of the corner pillars, pots of rare plants were disposed, while there was a profusion of cut flowers about the mantles in the parlors and many of the other rooms.

Lunch was served soon after the arrival of the guests, about one hundred persons sitting down to a rich and elegant repast. . . . Following the lunch came the reception, which was quite a swell affair, and which was attended by a large number of persons. In addition to those who came by train, quite a large party was brought here by Mr. Todd's private yacht from St. Stephen, and an especially large number reached here from Eastport in the steamer "Nellie Kane." St. Andrews also supplied its quota. Lady Tilley formed one of the reception committee, the other ladies being Mrs. Fay, Mrs. Gardiner and Mrs. Jones . . . .

The guests were received in the beautiful parlors of the hotel, after which they had an opportunity of inspecting the building and the grounds, and of viewing for themselves those external beauties of which St. Andrews possesses such an abundance. For the building and its arrangements nothing but praise was heard, while everybody was enchanted with the delightful prospect that was spread before them as they climbed up to the 'eagle's nest' and swept their eyes around them. Charming, lovely, delightful, sublime, magnificent, grand—these were a few of the adjectives that were used, and even these did not seem to be sufficiently expressive. Quite a number of visitors took advantage of the lovely afternoon to drive about the town and its suburbs and view at nearer range the beauties that had so charmed their eye and their senses from the hotel. It was the unanimous verdict that as a summer resort St. Andrews stands unrivalled, and that as such she is bound to occupy a front rank among the famous watering places of the north Atlantic. . . .

In the evening the Algonquin looked even more beautiful than in daylight, the glancing lights from the windows, and the brilliant illuminations on the piazza making it resemble a palace of the fairies, instead of a building comprised of wood and brick and mortar. The scene in the interior of the building was equally dazzling—the rich and magnificent costumes of the ladies, the gay uniforms of the military, and the luxurious furnishings of the rooms forming a picture that one rarely has the pleasure of seeing. Lieutenant Governor Tilley and Lady Tilley were present, the former wearing the Cross of the Order of which he is such a distinguished and honorable member, suspended from a ribbon about his neck. Governor Burleigh of Maine, and his staff, brilliantly uniformed, and the officers from Camp St. Andrews . . . greatly enhanced the effect of the picture by their presence.