Mt. Washington Renovation Project

By Joanne Ray | September 28, 2010

If the Mt. Washington Hotel is not on your list of placesto see before you die — think again. The 106-year-old, 200-room hotel is in the process of building the firstaddition ever — a $25-million job headed up by Hutter Construction of New Ipswich, N.H.

The superstructure of The Mount Washington Hotel boasted a steel network, uncommon in its day. Thehotel was built by New Hampshire native Joseph Stickney, who made his fortune in coal mining and thePennsylvania Railroad.

Stickney spared no expense in building the imposing hotel. Contractors broke ground in 1900 and construction was completed in 1902. Two hundred and fifty Italian craftsmen, skilled in masonry and woodworking, were brought to Bretton Woods (across from the hotel) and housed on the grounds. On July 28, 1902, the front doors of this Grand Hotel opened to the public with a staff of no less than 350.

The most luxurious hotel of its day, The Mount Washington catered to wealthy guests from Boston, New York and Philadelphia. As many as 50 trains a day stopped at Bretton Woods' three railroad stations. One of these stations, Fabyan's, is now one of the resort's dining establishments.

You can see Babe Ruth's golf locker at The Mount Washington Hotel, which has been host to countless celebrities,including Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and three U.S. Presidents.

In 1944, The Mount Washington hosted the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference. Delegates from 44 nations convened, establishing the World Bank and InternationalMonetary Fund, setting the gold standard at $35 an ounce, and designating the United States dollar as the backbone of international exchange. The signing of the formal documents took place in the Gold Room, located off the hotel lobby and now preserved as an historic site.

In 1955, the hotel was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Morris J. Fleisher of Philadelphia, who operated the hotel for 15seasons until its sale in 1969 to Mount Washington Development Company. This company developed the popular Bretton Woods Ski Area and re-acquired manyout-parcels, thus consolidating the original Stickney estate.

Bretton Woods Corporation acquired the property in 1975. Under its ownership, The Mount Washington Hotel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and 6,400 acres of beautiful woodlands were sold to the United States government for inclusion in the White Mountain National Forest.

In 1991, a new chapter in the Hotel's history began as a group of New Hampshire businessmen joined forces to purchase the building and the surrounding property to ensure its place in the 21st Century. Subsequent purchases of the resort's two golf courses, surrounding development land and New Hampshire's largest ski area, Bretton Woods, successfully reunited all original resort properties.

Mt. Washington was the first hotel built with structural steel and the first hotel in the U.S. to have conduits installed. The exterior is a combo of glass and eifs — a type of building product that provides exterior walls with an insulated finished surface — and waterproofing in an integrated composite material system.

Addition plans include a 15,000-square-foot spa and a 15,000-square-foot conference center with a green grass roof. The conference center will seat approximately 399 people and overlooks scenic Mt. Washington.

According to Hutter Project Manager Robert Maccini, this project began in October 2007 and will continue through December 2008. Hutter will use 35 subcontractors and will also do some of the work themselves.

On the site to do the shoring was Northeast Shoring, Inc., whose job was to shore back the mountain so that laborers could do foundation work.

According to Northeast Shoring sales manager, Jeff McCarthy, the company sent eight 24-foot boxes and two 20-foot boxes that were all plus 6's or plus 8's. They also used 24-foot-widebeam spreaders.

On the site were four workers from Kundel and two from Northeast Shoring.

Northeast Shoring did all of the engineering and blueprints.

"Pre-construction lasted about a month, and our part of the job was to come up with a shoring solution that would allow them to do all the foundation work," McCarthy said. "We came up with a plan that was 66 percent less cost than other estimates."

According to Matt Dieterich, development manager of the hotel, construction workers will recycle as much as possible. Dieterich said that scrap metal and wood is transported to a site in Rochester, N.H.

"We decided we did not want to go for LEED certification and instead put the money back into the building," Dieterich said. "We are making sure on the design side that the building is as energy efficient as possible and that the building will last as long as possible."

When all is said and done, the plans include 1,000-foot units and a pedestrian-oriented village.