Local History Speaker Series: The General Worth Hotel: Hudson’s Second Grand Home

Join us for the Local History Speaker series presentation “The General Worth Hotel: Hudson’s Second Grand Home” by Gary Sheffer on Thursday, March 22 at 6pm.

Many long-time Hudsonians remember the dying days of The General Worth Hotel at 215 Warren Street: the collapsing ceilings, the rotted windows, and the omnipresent pigeons. The glorious life of this once-grand hotel came to an end in 1969, when it was razed after it was deemed a public health and safety hazard — despite the fact that it had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more than 100 years, this urban Greek Revival hotel was the cultural and hospitality center of Hudson, with waiters and waitresses speeding across a black-and-white tile floor to serve dinner to patrons, wedding celebrants, and the regulars. Named after Hudson’s most famous resident, General William Jenkins Worth (as in Fort Worth, Texas), the hotel was built in 1836-37 when Hudson was a bustling port city. Writer Henry James allegedly arrived for dinner in 1905, “with two ladies and a French poodle.” Told the dog was not welcome, he dined elsewhere.

Gary Sheffer played in the derelict hotel as a child, until his grandmother caught him and forbade any further discovery. In fact, he and his siblings were not even allowed to play on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. Prior to its dereliction, Gary’s parents, Kenneth and Rachel Sheffer, held their wedding reception at the hotel as many of their friends and family did. Sheffer will discuss what life was like in the hotel during its glory years. He has spent more than 35 years as an award-winning journalist, political press aide and public relations practitioner. Sheffer’s blog, Spokesman, focuses on Hudson, public relations, and cycling. He and his wife, Barbara, who met when they were reporters at the Register-Star in Hudson, recently moved back to the area. He serves on the library’s board of trustees.

A question and answer period and refreshments will follow the talk. For more information email programs@hudsonarealibrary.org, call 518.828.1792 x101, or visit the main desk in the library.

The Hudson Area Library History Room’s Local History Speaker Series offers free monthly talks on diverse topics related to the history of Hudson, Greenport, Stockport, and Columbia County.  The History Room houses a special collection that pertains to the history of the City of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport; as well as Columbia County and New York State. It is located at the back of the library and is wheelchair accessible. Visit hudsonarealibrary.org for hours of operation.