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Hotel Dreams

Hotel Dreams

Luxury, Technology, and Urban Ambition in America, 1829–1929

Winner, 2012 Sally Hacker Prize, Society for the History of Technology

Winner, 2012 Sally Hacker Prize, Society for the History of Technology

Hotel Dreams is a deeply researched and entertaining account of how the hotel’s material world of machines and marble integrated into and shaped the society it served. Molly W. Berger offers a compelling history of the American hotel and how it captured the public’s imagination as it came to represent the complex—and often contentious—relationship among luxury, economic development, and the ideals of a democratic society.

Berger profiles the country’s most prestigious hotels, including Boston’s 1829 Tremont, San Francisco's world-famous Palace, and Chicago's enormous Stevens. The fascinating stories behind their design, construction, and marketing reveal in rich detail how these buildings became cultural symbols that shaped the urban landscape.