Mahlon Haines’ Hotel endures on North George Street
Mahlon Haines came to York in 1905 as a 30-year-old striking out on his own. He borrowed money to go into business, but was bankrupt in two years. He got a $127 consignment of shoes from D. S. Peterman Company to start anew in the shoe business. Through hard work and sales gimmicks, Haines turned those 127 dollars into 14 shoe stores by 1914 and had Architect John A. Dempwolf design an imposing three-story brick business building at 231 North George Street to serve as the headquarters of The Haines Shoe Company. The Haines Building opened during 1915, upon the 10th Anniversary of Mahlon Haines as a Yorker.
Haines owned 30 shoe stores by 1922. Mahlon had bigger plans to coincide with his 20th Anniversary as a Yorker; he built a 5-story, 47-room hotel along North George Street. That 1925 building endures, as pictured, on the northwest corner of North George Street and West Philadelphia Street in York. If you are reading this on the Ydr.com site, click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustrations in this post on the original YorkBlog site; since the ydr.com site will occasionally cut off important details in the cropping of illustrations.
A 1930 Map of The City of York contains details of the top hotels in the city. These hotels include: Yorktowne with 258 rooms, Colonial with 186 rooms, Penn with 120 rooms, Brooks with 78 rooms and Haines with 47 rooms. For these five hotels, in 1930, the least expensive rooms ranged from $1.50 to $2.50 per night; with the Haines Hotel right in the middle at $2.00 per night.
The northwest corner of North George Street and West Philadelphia Street was previously the site of a dwelling owned by W. Latimer Small. Mahlon Haines purchased the corner lot for $73,000 and demolished the dwelling, to erect his $200,000 hotel. I’m still searching for the identity of the architect. The 1925 date plaque, at the top of the building along the North George Street side, may hold a clue. Do any of my readers know if this date plaque design is associated with a particular architect?
The first floor of Haines Hotel contained retail stores. The hotel entrance was located to the side at 9 West Philadelphia Street. Mahlon Haines had one of his Haines Shoe retail stores immediately to the left side of the hotel entrance. In 1940, Haines decided to convert the hotel building into an apartment house; as explained within this article in the February 17, 1940, issue of The Gazette and Daily:
The Haines Hotel building, northwest corner of North George and Philadelphia streets, will be remodeled and converted into a modern apartment house, according to plans of the owner, Mahlon N. Haines. The apartment house will contain twenty, two and three-room apartments, each having a bath. The second and fifth floors will be furnished apartments, the third and fourth floors unfurnished. The third floor will be set aside for bachelor apartments and the fourth floor apartments will be for the exclusive use of women. Store rooms will occupy the first floor.
When I zoomed in on the 1925 date plaque, high above North George Street, I was surprised I did not see the Haines name; which is the reason I suspect this is a plaque design associated with a particular architect. When I saw HAINES in the threshold tiles at the 9 West Philadelphia Street entrance to the hotel, I understood. It is difficult to clearly see a name five stories off the ground, however a name in tiles within the threshold is difficult to miss.
Links to related posts include:
- Haines Building on North George Street
- Mahlon Haines built Haines Building at 101 E. Market St.
- 20 York Businesses that Built the Haines Shoe House
- Lincoln Highway Centennial Auto Tour at Haines Shoe House
- The Shoe House is OPEN
- The Shoe Wizard celebrates 33 Years as a Yorker
- The St. George Hotel on York’s North George Street