Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oldest Hotels in the United States

At least five hotels make claims to be the oldest hotels in the Unites States, but my records show the oldest is the Seaside Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. In the hands of the Gooch family since 1756, they have records showing it has been operating as an inn since at least 1660. Now run by 9th generation family, Seaside Inn has been in business for over 250 years!

A close second is The Beekman Arms (The "Beek") in the village of Rhinebeck in New York's Hudson Valley. Founded in 1766 The Beekman Arms and  Delamater Inn, has a history of being at the center of the nation's and the area's civic and social life.

Beekman Arms
 Though neither makes claims to being the oldest, two more historic hotels were founded in 1778: the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia and The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Inn at Willow Grove doesn't say much about its history on their website, but The Greenbrier proudly calls itself "America's resort" and touts the fact that they have hosted "distinguished guests from around the world since 1778."
have hosted distinguished guests from around the world since 1778 - See more at: http://www.greenbrier.com/HomePage-Sub-Pages/About-The-Greenbrier#sthash.Lubt1N8F.dpuf
have hosted distinguished guests from around the world since 1778 - See more at: http://www.greenbrier.com/HomePage-Sub-Pages/About-The-Greenbrier#sthash.Lubt1N8F.dpuf

The Inn at Willow Grove
The Greenbrier      

Fifth on the list is Wayside Inn of Middletown, Virginia. Wayside does claim to be the "oldest continuously operating inn since 1797." Oldest or not, this gem has been proudly serving the public for over 200 years.

The Wayside Inn

That's my list of America's oldest hotels. If you know of others that are independently owned and operated and have been in continuous operation for 100 years or more, I'd love to have you leave a comment.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

20 Companies Turn 115 in 2015

At least twenty U.S. companies will celebrate their 115th anniversary in 2015. I'm sure there are more - especially small, privately-owned firms of which I am not yet aware - so please leave a comment if you know a business that is missing from this list.

AK Steel Holding Corporation, West Chester, OH
American Bridge Company, Pittsburgh PA
Block Communications, Toledo, OH
Chemtura Corporation, Philadelphia, PA
Dykstra Funeral Homes, Holland, MI
First United Corporation, Oakland, MD
The French Oil Mill Machinery Co, Piqua, OH
Fris Office Outfitters, Holland, MI
Gilbert Chocolates, Jackson MI
Graniterock, Watsonville, CA
Lovejoy, Downers Grove, IL
McNerney Companies, Toledo, OH
North-Eastern Pennsylvania Telephone Co, Forest City, PA
Rosa Food Products, Philadelphia, PA
Schramm, Inc. West Chester
Sparton Corporation, Schaumburg, IL
Torchmark, McKinney, TX
Tourneau, New York, NY
Weyerhaeuser, Federal Way, WA
Wright Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Little Rock, AR

I just found an addition to this list that I don't quite know how to handle: Birnn Chocolates was founded in 1915 and in 1991 split into two companies: Birrn Chocolates of Vermont, which is run by 3rd generation Birnns and focuses on making truffles, and Birnn Chocolates (of New Jersey), which makes a full line of chocolates. I guess the best thing to do is congratulate them both (and eat some chocolate)!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

165th Anniversary Companies

Founded in 1850 and still going strong, here are the companies in my data base turning 165 this year. As with other anniversary posts, I would love to hear about firms celebrating the 165-year mark that are missing from this list.

American Express Company, NYC

Farmers Capital Bank Corp, Frankfort, KY

Harper's, NYC

Matthews International Corp., Pittsburgh, PA

Media General, Richmond, VA

Oliver Bros Fine Art Restoration, Boston, MA

Preusser Jewelers, Grand Rapids, MI

and Raymond Hardware, Port Sanilac, MI

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Michigan Century Club

Yesterday I listened to a story on Michigan Radio (Stateside with Cynthia Canty) that highlighted a few Detroit organizations over 100 years old. Cynthia interviewed Ilene Wolff, who had written a piece for DBusiness Magazine on Detroit's "century club." It made me think about the Michigan Century Club I tried to get started a few years ago. The Michigan Retailers Association honors Centennial Retailers and the Michigan Historical Society has a Milestone Award for which a company reaching 50, 100, or 150 years can apply, but I had a difficult time finding a comprehensive list of Michigan companies over 100. In my work I focus on for-profit companies: public or private, small or large, in all industries. The Michigan Radio piece yesterday made me think it was time to update my Michigan Century Club list, so here it is - congratulations to all!

Michigan Business Century Club

Acme Manufacturing, Auburn Hills
American Seating, Grand Rapids
Amstore, Grand Rapids
Armaly Brands, Walled Lake
Armstrong International, Three Rivers
Atkins Hardware & Furniture, Vassar
Bahle's, Suttons Bay
Bauer's Jewelry, Saginaw
Becharas Bros. Coffee, Highland Park
Bissel, Grand Rapids
Bond Decorating, Iron Mountain
BorgWarner, Auburn Hills
Brammal Industrial Supply, Benton Harbor
Buckley's Shoes, Bad Axe
Buis Mattress, Holland
Bulman Products, Grand Rapids
Butzel Long, Detroit
Carhartt, Dearborn
Cascarelli's Restaurant, Albion
Central Michigan Paper, Ada
Chelsea Lumber Co, Chelsea
Chelsea Milling, Chelsea
Chelsea State Bank, Chelsea
Chris Engel's Greenhouse, Detroit
CMS Energy, Jackson
Corbishley's Clothing, Bad Axe
Crandill Funeral Homes, Fremont & White Cloud
Daniel Orr Sons Hardware, North Branch
Dekker's Jewelry, Zeeland
Detroit Store Fixture Co, Detroit
DeVries Jewelers, Grand Rapids
DeWitt Barrels, Marne
Dickenson's Hardware, Fennville
Dittrich Furs, Detroit
Doncker's Candies & Gifts, Marquette
Dow Chemical, Midland
Dykstra Funeral Homes, Holland
Ebonex Corp, Detroit
Edge-Sweets (ESCO), Grand Rapids
Eikenhout, Inc, Grand Rapids
Federal Mogul, Southfield
Feigi's Interiors, Saginaw
Ford Motor Co., Dearborn
Frankenmuth Brewery, Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth News, Frankenmuth
French Paper Company, Niles
Fris Office Outfitters, Holland
Fritz Family Restaurant, Richville
GB Russo & Son, Grand Rapids
General Motors, Detroit
George Jerome & Co, Roseville
George P. Johnson, Auburn Hills
Getz Department Store, Marquette
Gilbert Chocolates, Jackson
Golden Shoes, Traverse City
Gordon Food Service, Grand Rapids
Graafschap Hardware, Holland
Groskopf's Luggage, Grand Rapids
Harley Ellis Devereaux, Southfield
Heidi's Old Village Flowers, Plymouth
Henry the Hatter, Detroit
Herman's Boy Coffee Roasters, Rockford
Herman Miller Inc, Zeeland
Herter Music, Bay City
Hoekstra's Hardware, Kalamazoo
Homer Monumental Works, Homer
Holland Peanut Store, Holland
Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Detroit
Independent Bank Corp, Ionia
Irwin Seating, Grand Rapids
Jacoby's German Biergarten, Detroit
Jesperson's Restaurant & Pie Shoppe, Petoskey
Johnson's Studio & Camera Shop, Cheboygan
Keep & Martinson Lumber, Tekonsha
Kellogs, Battle Creek
Kindel Furniture, Grand Rapids
Kirlin Company, Detroit
Koeze Company, Grand Rapids
Kositchek's, Lansing
Krzyske Brothers, Waltz
Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, Holland
Lokers Shoes, Holland
Lovewell's Corner Store, Lupton
Mapes Furniture, Sunfield
Martins Shoe House, Monroe
Masters LaLonde Shoes, Alpena
MBT Financial Corp, Monroe
McClellan's Frankenmuth Woolen Mill, Frankenmuth
McKee Monument & Mercantile, Marshall
Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home, Grand Rapids
Michigan Ladder, Ypsilanti
Milkins Jewelers, Monroe
Apothecary Shop, Holland
Moore & Carter Lumber, Sandusky & Croswell
Mosher's Jewelers, Port Huron
Murdick's Fudge, Mackinac Island
Murphy & Caris, Fremont
Oliver Products, Grand Rapids
Padnos, Holland
Palmer Auto Service, Frankenmuth
Perrigo, Allegan
Pomeroy Funeral Home, Croswell
Power's Clothing, Jonesville
Preusser Jewelers, Grand Rapids
R.L. Polk & Co, Detroit
Raymond Hardware, Port Sanilac
Reusch Jewelers, Cheboygan
Schaefer Bierleen Cars, Frankenmuth
Schuler's Restaurant & Pub, Marshall
Sempliner's Bride & Formal, Bay City
Sieb Plumbing, Heating & A/C, Monroe
Siegel Jewelers, Grand Rapids
Skaff Carpet & Furniture, Flint
Smith Floral & Greenhouse, Lansing
SmithGroupJJR, Detroit
Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Homes, Chelsea
Start of the West Milling Co, Frankenmuth
Steelcase, Grand Rapids
Steven's Van Lines, Saginaw
Sunnyside Florist, Owosso
Superior Sport Store, Holland
Standard Companies, Grand Rapids
Vail Rubber Company, St. Joseph
VanPoppelen Bros. Inc., Bay City
Varnum, Grand Rapids
Vortuba Leather Goods, Traverse City
Vredeveld Shoes, Fremont
W.B. Hayden & Sons Hardware, Cassopolis
West Branch Flour Mill, West Branch
Westbrook Hardware, Croswell
Whirlpool, St. Joseph
White Insurance Agency, Fremont
Winglemire Furniture, Holly
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids
Wolverine Worldwide, Rockford
WW Fairbairn & Sons, Alanson
Yaeger's Shoes, Monroe
Yale Expositor, Yale
Zeeland Print Shop, Zeeland

I'm sure there are more companies to add to this list, so if you or someone you know works for a company that has managed to thrive for over 100 years, please let me know via a comment to this blog. Thanks!