First owned and operated by George C. Boldt, the Bellevue Stratford in Philadelphia opened as a luxury hotel in 1904. The hotel represented the union of the "old" Bellevue (at the northwest corner of Broad and Walnut Streets) with the Stratford Hotel on the southwest site, which was demolished for the Bellevue's construction.
Boldt, a Prussian immigrant who lived in Philadelphia, was no stranger to the hotel business; he once held a position at the New York Waldorf (later the Waldorf-Astoria) as a manager and partial owner. He envisioned his own luxury hotel in Philadelphia that offered fine cuisine, exemplary service, and the latest conveniences. His vision became the Bellevue Stratford.
The hotel was built in the French Renaissance style and served for many years as a focus for local, national, and international events with their attendant celebrities. Because of the Bellevue Stratford's distinctive size and architecture, it acquired the nickname "Grande Dame of Broad Street."
By the middle of the 20th century, however, the hotel exhibited signs of decline. It was closed in 1976 by the Department of Health after dozens of people died while attending an American Legion convention from what was called Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia. Over the next few decades, several changes in management and major renovations brought the hotel back.
Now the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, the hotel is listed as a national landmark and has been fully renovated.