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Notable Guests at Briarcliff Lodge
Briarcliff Lodge has attracted patrons of stature for the last hundred years. It was one of the most historic and recognizable structures in Westchester County, and it was a destination for New York’s finest, along with international celebrities.
From political figures to actors, athletes to entrepreneurs, Briarcliff Lodge saw quite a few corks popped over the years. Here is a sampling of a few of Briarcliff Lodge’s remarkable guests:.
In the 1930s, the first family stayed at the Briarcliff Lodge several times.
Both Franklin and Eleanor held speaking engagements here; Franklin delivered a speech in 1930 as the New York Governor to the Westchester County Bankers Association, and Eleanor spoke several times to the Women’s Democratic Club of Mount Pleasant. Their daughter, Anna Roosevelt Halsted, stayed at the Briarcliff Lodge as well. Anna served as the chairwoman of the Women’s Democratic Club for years.
As mayor of New York City from 1926 to 1932, Jimmy Walker oversaw many successful public works projects that improved the lives of the city’s citizens.
However, Walker was also embroiled in a corruption scandal that had lined his pockets with bribe money. In 1931, New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided Walker was to be removed from office, and Walker eventually resigned.
We can assume that FDR and Jimmy Walker never vacationed at the Briarcliff Lodge at the same time.
Prince Wilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Germany’s Crown Prince Wilhelm stayed at the Briarcliff Lodge for the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration, which celebrated the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, as well as the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s invention of the paddle steamer ship.
Wilhelm was the German Empire’s final Crown Prince, as well as the last Crown Prince of Prussia. During his stay, Wilhelm led a Prussian military regiment through a parade celebrating New York.
In the 1920s, The Bambino was known for two things: his powerful swing, and his vivacious personality.
Between baseball games and during the off-season, Ruth enjoyed trips to the Briarcliff Lodge, as it gave him a chance to see and be seen. Babe Ruth delighted in partying with New York’s best and brightest at the Briarcliff Lodge.
The prolific American banker and financier J.P. Morgan is still a recognizable name, due to his strong influence over the American economy in the early 20th century. Arranging mergers and averting financial crises must have taken a toll on Morgan, who rested at Briarcliff Lodge whenever he could get away.
Frank Winfield Woolworth
Before Walmart, there was Woolworth’s.
At the turn of the century, Frank Woolworth revolutionized the way Americans shopped. He arranged goods in self-service shelves, so consumers no longer relied on a shopkeeper to retrieve items.
His stores specialized in selling cut-rate goods, which is where the term “five-and-dime” came from. Woolworth was known to make unannounced visits to his stores, and before “secret shoppers” existed, he tried to steal items to test the alertness of his staff. Woolworth amassed a huge fortune through decades of hard work, and built a retail empire. He earned his rest at Briarcliff Lodge.
Johnny Weissmuller was famous for playing Tarzan in the movies during the 1930s and 1940s.
Weissmuller also had an impressive career as a competitive swimmer. He set and held several world records, and won five gold medals at the 1920 Olympic games.
Imagine attending an event at the Briarcliff Lodge, enjoying a glass of champagne, only to hear the infamous roar of Tarzan cutting through the noise of the crowd. What a time to be at the Lodge!
Many of Weissmuller’s fellow actors also frequented the Briarcliff Lodge, including Tallulah Bankhead.
Much like Babe Ruth, Bankhead was known for her huge personality and reputation for being the life of the party. Though younger generations may not know her name, they have undoubtedly seen other actors lampoon her husky voice and unique appearance. Bankhead was a supporter of civil rights and opportunities for the less fortunate; we like to think that in addition to having a good time, she may have been a philanthropic influence among the other movers and shakers at the Briarcliff Lodge.
Rebuilding History: Become Part of the Guest List
After a tragic fire decimated Briarcliff Lodge, a new legacy is born in remembrance. In the spirit of Walter William Law’s vision, The Club at Briarcliff Manor is poised to become the premier senior living community in New York. Our luxury building and dedicated staff will create an unmatched level of comfort and sophistication for your golden years.
The Roosevelts and The Great Bambino may be gone, but there are many more memories to be made on this historic site. For more information about joining the notable resident list at The Club at Briarcliff Manor, call Senior Lifestyle at 914-259-8449.
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