Beacon Hotel Towers

The former Mt. Beacon hotel , on the East end of Beacon’s Main Street, is now undergoing a gut renovation at the hands of its new owners, a trio of hospitality entrepreneurs from Brooklyn: Alla Bares, Greg Trautman and Michael Kennedy. At ground level it will have a restaurant helmed by local chef Rio Alexander Hendricks. Opening is expected in early Fall, 2016.

The owners have hired local architect, Aryeah Siegel and internationally reknown designer, Clodagh, to oversee the transformation into what will initially become a twelve room boutique hotel. If all goes well, two

years hence the tottering and more recent clapboard addition to the to the original brick hotel will be torn down and in it’s place an all new four story building will be built with an elevator, a roof top restaurant and dining terrace. The finished hotel will have a total of 42 rooms, all with bathrooms en suite.

It will be known simply as  the Beacon Hotel. And it will fill the pressing need to provide stylish accomodations for the throng of New Yorkers who trek up to Beacon by car or MetroNorth, to experience first hand Beacon’s much heralded Renaissance.

Albert Einstein, whose General Theory of Relativity turns a hundred this year,   deprived us of the last comfortable certainties of the Copernican universe and taught us that the only constant in life is change.

The Mt. Beacon hotel has seen many changes in its nearly hundred and sixty years of history, going from gentility to shabbiness and now back to gentility again.

Back in the 1860’s when the conjoined towns of Matteawan and Fishkill Landing, formed one energetic little community along the Hudson, with a busy harbor and dozens of smokestack factories, a distinctive brick edifice was built on the Eastern end of Main Street. It had twin towers jutting from it’s façade and unmatched gabled roofs. It became the Mt. Beacon hotel, one of many such establishments in town. And one with considerable pretensions to grandeur.

In 1913 the twin towns were merged into what became the incorporated City of Beacon. In the 1960’s a misguided effort at urban renewal severed the connection between the harbor and the town itself.The City of Beacon entered into a long decline. President Kennedy’s refusal to wear a hat provided the “ coup de grace “. Beacon’s hat factories, once a mainstay, were shuttered. As recently as the year 2000, crack was being sold openly on Main Street.

The arrival of the DIA Center for the Arts in 2004, the country’s largest contemporary art museum, helped to turn the tide into what has become a full blown renaissance. Gentrification is manifest everywhere but nowhere so more than on Main Street with its proliferation of galleries, restaurants, bakeries and yoga studios

In the years since Beacon’s heyday, the Mt. Beacon Hotel had fallen on hard times, becoming a dingy rooming house, dubbed the Melzingah hotel after a dubious local Indian tribe.The sign above the door advertised rooms for “ starving artists “ but there were, in fact, no artists, starving or otherwise, in residence.

Instead , its last owner, the late and colorful Ritchie Rogers, had one simple business principle: He would only take in tenants on disability or social security. That way he’d always know where the checks were coming from and when. And Ritchie, who lived , two and a half hours’ further North , would always be there, hand extended, when the checks arrived.

When tenants would complain of bedbugs, Ritchie would feign surprise.

“ Bedbugs? “ he’d ask. “ I thought the cockroaches ate ‘em ! “

Actually Richie, a former Beacon bar owner was a “ soft touch “ who would willingly peel off a twenty from his thick wad of cash to tide over one of his tenants until the next check arrived.

The Beacon Hotel is set to open in the near future. Will you be visiting?




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