Saratoga Grand Union Hotel

Image: Saratoga Grand Union Hotel.
Source: Courtesy of the Kume Museum of Art.

In the middle of June 1872, the Iwakura Mission group journeyed north to Saratoga, New York, where they stayed in the Grand Union Hotel. They were astonished by the scale and grandeur of the building, saying that, “for sheer size it is unmatched among the hotels which we have seen.” This statement would remain true, even as they traveled through Europe and Asia. The great hotel had 1,000 guest rooms, and could seat 1,500 people in its dining hall – possibly the largest dedicated dining hall in the world at the time. At the time of the embassy’s stay the hotel had recently been acquired by Alexander Turney Stewart, the same founder and proprietor of the famed Stewart department stores in New York City.

Image: Kilburn, B.W. Dining Hall, Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga, Largest Dining Hall in the World. 1882. Photograph. Florida State University.

Kunitake, Kume. “The Journey Through the Northern States, 3.” In Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young, 83-87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Kuenzel, Charlie. “History of Saratoga – Grand Union Hotel,” Saratoga Today Newspaper, July 3, 2019.

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. “1874: A Year Like No Other.” March 18, 2019. HTTPS://WWW.SARATOGAPRESERVATION.ORG/BROADWAY-1874-A-YEAR-LIKE-NO-OTHER/