From The Webtender Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Willard, of the City Hotel, Broadway, New York.


Historical Citations

Transatlantic Sketches, Comprising Visits to the Most Interesting Scenes in North and South, by Sir James Edward Alexander, 1833

"...Apple-toddy, says Mr. Willard, the bar-keeper of the City Hotel, who never forgets the face of a customer, is thus made:..."

The Atlantic Club-book, 1834

"I occupy a sky parlor in the city hotel, celebrated for its Willard of immortal memory, and its accommodations of inexhaustible capacity"

Travels in North America, by Charles Augustus Murray, 1839

"This delicious compound (which is sometimes in the Southern and Western States denominated "hail storm") is usually made with wine, madiera or claret, mingled in a tumbler with a soupcon of French brandy, lime, or lemon, ice pulverised by attrition, and a small portion of sugar, the whole being crowned with a bunch of fresh mint, through which the liquor percolates before it reaches the drinker's lips and laps him in Elysium." This beverage is supposed to be of Southern origin, and the methods of preparing it vary in the different States; some Carolinians will assert that it can only be found in perfection at Charleston; but I believe that, by common consent, the immortal Willard (who kept the bar of the City-hotel in New York for many years) was allowed to be the first master of this art in the known world. The name of this remarkable personage is familiar to every American, and to every foreigner who has visited the States during the thirty years; I have heard many calculations of the number of mint juleps that he has been known to compound in one day, and of the immense profits resulting to the hotel from his celebrity; but not having written them down at the moment, I will not venture on a vague statement here. His memory was yet more surprising than his skill at concoction; of the hundreds and thousands who went in to enjoy practical demonstration of the latter, he never forgot a face, or a name if once mentioned; even although the individual were absent for years, he could at once address him as though he had been introduced but yesterday."

Wealth and Pedigree of the Wealthy Citizens of New York City, 1842

Jennings Chester ----100,000

"Came a poor boy, a stage driver, from New England, and entering the door of the City Hotel with whip in hand, asked for work, was hired as a waiter, and by good conduct rose successively to the rank of head waiter, and afterwards, with his equally enterprising and famous fellow-waiter, Willard, to co-partnership in that ancient establishment, where his fortune was thus honestly and honorably made."

The Life and Times of Martin Van Buren, by William Lyon Mackenzie, 1846

"Please to let Willard of the City Hotel be apprised that I want two flannel shirts, and as many pairs of drawers, to be had of Tryon for a trifle alias, credit."

The Knickerbocker, Edited by Charles Fenno Hoffman et al, 1847

"...the tables themselves, groaning under the weight of rare potables and edibles, such as Messrs. Jennings and Willard know so well how to supply;..."

Fun-jottings, By Nathaniel Parker Willis, 1853

"They always went to the City Hotel because Willard remembered their names, and asked after their uncle the Major."

Recollections of a Lifetime, by Samuel Griswold Goodrich, 1856

"My lodgings were at the City Hotel, situated on the western side of Broadway, between Thames and Cedar streets - the space being now occupied by warehouses. It was then the Astor House of New York, being kept by a model landlord, whose name was Jennings, with a model barkeeper by the name of Willard. The latter was said never to sleep - night ot day - for at all hours he was at his post, and never forgot a customer, even after an absence of twenty years."

Other References

Source: Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page


"The City Hotel was conducted by Willard and Jennings, the former of whom was the general factotum of the establishment, while the latter looked after the provender and liquid refreshments, these latter being of incomparable quality and so famous that when the hotel was dismantled the bottles remaining in the cellar were sold at fabulous prices. Willard was never seen anywhere except in the hotel; he was a man of cheerful disposition and indefatigable energy and was possessed of so wonderful a memory that he remembered every traveller who had ever stopped at the hotel; and if the same guest were to visit the hotel again, Willard could at once greet him by name, tell where he was from, his business, and the room he had occupied. There is a well authenticated anecdote that when Billy Niblo moved from Pine Street and opened his suburban "Garden" many of his old customers were invited to be present at the opening. Willard neither accepted nor declined the invitation; and on the appointed evening a number of the bon vivants of the town waited upon him to escort him to Niblo's. After bustling about and looking into all sorts of places for a while, he announced to his friends that he could not accompany them as he had no hat, and that some one had taken an old beaver which had been lying about for years and which he claimed was his. A hat was procured from Charles St. John, the celebrated hatter, whose place was directly opposite, and the party sallied forth with the best-known man in the city, who, strange to relate, would have been compelled to ask his way if he had gone more than a block from the City Hotel."

Reminiscences of New York by an Octogenarian (1816 to 1860), by Charles Haswell, 1896

That familiar and ever to be remembered house of entertainment, the City Hotel, on the west side of Broadway, opened in 1806, occupied the front from Thames to Cedar Street. It was kept by Chester Jennings, assisted by the celebrated Willard, who, for his urbanity of manner and wonderful remembrance of persons, was the theme of many a tale. Abram C. Dayton,, in his interesting "Last Days of Knickerbocker Life," relates the following tale: "A gentleman, with nothing peculiar in person, name, or position to fix his identity, had been a transient guest of the house, but owing to a serious illness of a favorite child, his stay had been prolonged many days beyond his anticipations, and on the convalescence of the patient he had paid his bill and left for his distant home. Nothing more. He did not even remember that Willard had exchanged with him any other than the most ordinary civilities After an absence of more than five years, business called him once more to the city, and, with carpetĀ­bag in hand, he stood face to face with Willard, awaiting his turn to put down his name and to be assigned an apartment. Ere he had uttered a word, or given the slightest sign of recognition, the traveller was astounded by: "How are you, Mr. ? Hope your boy recovered! Glad to see you again! Show this gentleman to his old room, No.-"

Personal tools