Filed Under Architecture

Hotel Winton / Carter Hotel

Hotel Winton was a twelve-story hotel designed by architect Max Dunning of Chicago and built at a cost of nearly $2.5 million. Named after Cleveland’s automotive pioneer, Alexander Winton, the hotel opened its doors on December 20, 1917, on Prospect Avenue just east of East 9th Street on the edge of what would become the theater district of Cleveland’s downtown. The hotel had 600 rooms with 600 private baths, available for just $1.50 a day and up. Each room featured a large bed, writing desk, dresser, grip stand, and easy chair. Additionally, each room was air-conditioned and offered a beautiful view of Cleveland’s city life. The hotel featured various amenities, including a coffee shop, grill and bar, barbershop, retail shops, and private dining rooms.

The hotel's most notable feature was the Rainbow Room. Located underground, it could host up to 900 people and attracted local, regional, and national celebrities. It featured a large section for the Rainbow Room Orchestra, which performed regularly for the hotel patrons. One of the highlights of the Rainbow Room was the large ice skating rink that was built inside. Many professional ice skaters entertained the guests. Decades later, the Rainbow Room was destroyed in order to make room for a parking garage.

In 1917, Chef Hector (Ettore) Boiardi, more commonly known now as Chef Boyardee, moved to Cleveland to work as the head chef at Hotel Winton. As head chef, he specialized in Italian fare, attracting many with his spaghetti dinners. His dishes quickly became the talk of the town as many requested take home bags and recipes, so they could prepare the same meals at home. Chef Boiardi worked at the hotel until 1924, when he left to open his own restaurant on the corner of East 9th and Woodland Avenue. In 1932, Boiardi opened a second restaurant on Alpha Court off East 9th between Euclid and Prosect Avenues.

In 1931, the Great Depression hurt the hotel, leading to its sale to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The company ordered a sweeping $700,000 renovation of the hotel. Renamed in honor of Lorenzo Carter, the city's first permanent white settler and first inn-keeper, who arrived in Cleveland in 1797, the new Carter Hotel opened its doors on December 16, 1932. In 1942 Met Life sold the Carter to Albert Pick Hotels of Chicago, a chain that already operated sixteen hotels nationwide.

In 1969, the Pick-Carter Hotel underwent a $1 million renovation, which lowered the room count but brought in more business. However, things took a turn for the worse when a tragic fire occurred at the hotel in 1971, which killed seven people and injured many families and firefighters. It took nearly 135 firefighters to tame this flame. Sadly, the hotel never reopened its doors. Eventually, the building was sold and redeveloped as low-rent apartments. This building is now known as Carter Manor, a 270-unit apartment complex.

Images

Early Postcard of Hotel Winton The Hotel Winton was the first large-scale convention hotel to open in Cleveland since the Hotel Statler in 1912. Hotel Cleveland followed in 1918. Prior to the latter's opening, the Winton was the third largest in the city, after the 1,000-room Hollenden and 700-room Statler. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: J. Sapirstein
Alexander Winton, the Hotel's Namesake Alexander Winton, a Scottish immigrant, was a Cleveland bicycle company owner who became an automotive pioneer, producing his first automobile in 1897. By the 1910s, the Winton Motor Carriage Company manufactured some of the more luxurious cars on the market. The choice of Winton's name for the hotel lent considerable cache. Source: Newspaper Cartoonists' Association of Cleveland, Clevelanders "as we see 'em;" a gallery of pen sketches in black and white. Cleveland: A. H. Clark Co., 1904. Creator: R. W. Satterfield Date: 1904
Hotel Winton Lobby This lobby view shows the generous use of wood paneling and provision of comfortable seating. The Cleveland Plain Dealer had the following to say on December 16, 1917: "In the lobby an effort has been made to get away from the conventional hotel lobby, which too often is cold and anything but homelike. For this reason it is devoted to the English style, using American black walnut. ... The floor is of marble and the ceiling has the English coffered treatment." Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: E. C. Kropp Co.
The Rainbow Room The Rainbow Room featured cabaret-style performances and was often used for large meetings as well. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: Braun Post Card Co.
Ice Rink in Rainbow Room According to the June 16, 1918, edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Winton's Rainbow Room added a new feature – an ice skating rink. The hotel arranged for world champion speed and figure skater Norval Baptie and "a company of fancy and trick skaters" to "perform feats never before seen by Clevelanders except in the cabarets of New York and Chicago, though Baptie himself has appeared as a speed and fancy skater at the Elysium." Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection
Hotel Winton Ballroom Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection
Exterior of Winton Hotel This is a photograph of the Winton Hotel in 1931, right before it was renamed the Carter Hotel. This is of the front entrance of the hotel. The Winton Coffee Shoppe as well as other businesses are photographed in this image. The Golden Pheasant was a Chinese restaurant that opened in 1918. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: November 12, 1931
Street Level at Night This postcard shows the Carter Hotel's coffee shop, bar, drug store, and main entrance along Prospect Avenue. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: Braun Art Publishing Co.
Front of Carter Hotel Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: E. C. Kropp Co. Date: ca. 1940
Carter Hotel In 1931, the hotel was renamed from Hotel Winton to Carter Hotel, after Lorenzo Carter, the first white settler who arrived in Cleveland in 1797. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: N. I. Gornick / E. C. Kropp Co.
Pick-Carter Postcard The Albert Pick Hotels chain of Chicago acquired the Carter in 1942. The company added a sleek metal awning to replace the more traditional one sometime in the midcentury period. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: Peerless Litho Co. Date: ca. 1958
Carter Manor This is a photograph of the exterior of the Carter Manor. The hotel closed its doors in 1971 after a tragic fire, in which patrons lost their lives that night. Carter Manor is located in the same renovated building, but is now a low-income apartment complex. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Creator: Van Dillard Date: October 24, 1973

Location

1012 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44115

Metadata

Allison V. Newbold , “Hotel Winton / Carter Hotel,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 27, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/934.