Galt House Hotel
The Galt House is a name long associated with gracious hospitality and Southern style. In the early 1800s, the original Galt House was a residence owned by Dr. W.C. Galt. In 1835, a 60 room hotel was opened as the Galt House and was located across the street from the residence at the northeast corner of First and Main. Some notable visitors include Jefferson Davis, Stephen Douglas, Edwin Booth, Charles Dickens, P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb, and presidents Lincoln, Grant, Taylor, Hayes and Buchanan. In 1864, generals Grant and Sherman planned their military strategys at the Galt House. This strategy led to the capture of Atlanta.
In 1865, the hotel was destroyed by fire, but within weeks, noted architect R. Whitestone began plans and construction a block away from the original site, at First and Main. The project cost $1.5 million, an extraordinary sum considering the country was still recovering from the Civil War. The new Galt, which opened in 1869, featured eight steel beams weighing 118,000 pounds that supported its second floor Grand Ballroom. The guest list of the new Galt featured such notables as Sarah Bernhardt, the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, President Theodore Roosevelt, Diamond Jim Brady, President Chester A. Arthur, Lillian Russell, President Millard Fillmore and President William Howard Taft.
By the end of World War I, the Galt House was considered past its heyday. After being in continuous operation from 1835, through the fire, until 1919, it was razed in 1921. After 50 years, the fourth edition of the Galt House came into being. On November 5, 1971, the deal was closed to build a new Galt, led by Al J. Schneider. The new Galt House RIVUE Tower opened in 1973, the SUITE Tower in 1985. The Suite Tower has one of the largest Geo Thermal heating and air conditioning systems in the world.
Upon Mr. Schneider's passing, a new board, and a new company president, daughter Mary Moseley brought a new vision to the future of the Galt House. Their decision to make the $60 million investment in the property reflects the board's commitment to the city of Louisville and to the Galt House. The hotel is constantly working to improve the property. In November 2009 a $2 million dollar investment will update the Archibald Cochran Ballrooom.
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