The Kendall Hotel

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Discover The Kendall Hotel, located in bustling Kendall Square, which once functioned as an important transportation hub between Boston and Cambridge.

The Kendall Hotel was constructed at a time when the United States was defined by great economic prosperity, industrial expansion, and significant social reform.

Originally, Kendall Square was a salt marsh between Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts which evenutally was developed into an important transportation hub between the two towns. The 19th century saw the area become a major industrial district. The Grand Junction branch of the Boston & Albany Railroad and the opening of the first subway line in 1912 made Kendall Square an ideal area for manufacturing.

Kendall Square is formed by the junction of Main Street and Broadway, once a residential neighborhood adjacent to the city’s wharves and canals. The area was originally known as Dock Square, but was renamed in 1890 in honor of Deacon Edward Kendall, founder of the Kendall & Roberts Boiler Factory. By then, it was a diverse conglomeration of foundries, factories and industrial plants. In 1895, the red brick building at 350 Main Street began faithfully serving the citizens of Cambridge as the Fire Department’s Engine 7 Station.

While the station remained in operation for the next century, the neighborhood around it saw dramatic changes. In 1912, the subway system was completed, connecting Harvard Square to Boston. A few years later, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology moved to its present location. Following World War II, many of the area’s manufacturing firms relocated and left a trail of abandoned buildings behind them. Many were demolished in the 1960s to make way for Technology Square and the city of Cambridge undertook revitalization efforts in the 1970s.

Image of Historian Stanley Turkel, Historic Hotels of America Image of Stanley Turkel's Book Built To Last: 100 Year Old Hotels East of the Mississippi, Historic Hotels of America.

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Hotel History: The Kendall Hotel (1894), Cambridge, Massachusetts*

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

The Kendall Hotel at the Engine No. 7 firehouse is the only hotel in Cambridge to be designated a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 1894, the Engine No. 7 firehouse was erected to serve the rapidly-growing Kendall Square area. It was designed by architects R.J. Fitzgerald and S.D. Mitchell in Queen Anne-style to accommodate stables with a permanent team of horses, coal bunkers to fuel the new steam pumpers, maintenance facilities, and dormitories for the firemen complete with brass poles for quick exits. Engine Company No. 7 served Kendall Square for nearly a century as the neighborhood around it changed dramatically. In 1912, the subway system was built connecting Cambridge to Boston. A few years later, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology moved to its present location. Following World War II, many of Kendall Square's manufacturing firms relocated, leaving abandoned buildings and factories behind them.

In 1993, when it closed its doors, the building was at risk of demolition until it was acquired by Gerald Fandetti and Charlotte Forsythe for conversion into a boutique hotel. They had previously converted an abandoned nursing home into the Mary Prentiss Inn, a lovely historic inn serving Harvard Square. The new project was a major undertaking that included moving the three-story structure closer to the street and the construction of a seven-story addition attached to the original building. The renovation and addition succeeded in maintaining the building's authenticity while creating a 21st century facility.

In their book Serving Engine 7, the developers report,

  • "Special care went into the restoration of the building's cupolas, both of which were part of the firehouse's original architecture. The smaller cupola had been used to vent the building's roof while the larger one was once used to house the fire hoses as they dried. Both had fallen into ruin over the years. Fandetti designed and built an exact replica of the smaller cupola. The larger one was rebuilt and installed by Fandetti's brother, Jack."

The original Victorian firehouse is now home to The Black Sheep, the hotel's restaurant, and is full of firehouse memorabilia. Eleven of the hotel's guest rooms are also located here in what was once the firemen's dormitory. The newly constructed seven-story tower houses meeting space and additional guest rooms.

Charlotte Forsythe decorated each guest room with antique furnishings, inspired by the Victorian décor of 1893. Over the years, Forsythe carefully selected and commissioned artists to create original pieces of art, which are displayed throughout the hotel.

In 2007, the Kendall expanded once more, with the addition of a brand new seven-story tower including eight deluxe guest rooms; four one-bedroom suites featuring kitchens, fireplaces, and Jacuzzi tubs; and a rooftop retreat that includes an atrium and stunning views of the Boston skyline.

The hotel's owners were honored by the Cambridge Historical Commission for their efforts conserving and protecting the city's architecture.

*excerpted from his book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi


About Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Stanley Turkel is a recognized consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases and providing asset management an and hotel franchising consultation. Prior to forming his hotel consulting firm, Turkel was the Product Line Manager for worldwide Hotel/Motel Operations at the International Telephone & Telegraph Co. overseeing the Sheraton Corporation of America. Before joining IT&T, he was the Resident Manager of the Americana Hotel (1842 Rooms), General Manager of the Drake Hotel (680 Rooms) and General Manager of the Summit Hotel (762 Rooms), all in New York City. He serves as a Friend of the Tisch Center and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. He served for eleven years as Chairman of the Board of the Trustees of the City Club of New York and is now the Honorary Chairman.

Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. More than 275 articles on various hotel subjects have been posted in hotel magazines and on the Hotel-Online, Blue MauMau, Hotel News Resource and eTurboNews websites. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by the New York Times. Executive Vice President of Historic Hotels of America, Lawrence Horwitz, has even praised one book, Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry:

  • “If you have ever been in a hotel, as a guest, attended a conference, enjoyed a romantic dinner, celebrated a special occasion, or worked as a hotelier in the front or back of the house, Great American Hoteliers, Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry is a must read book. This book is recommended for any business person, entrepreneur, student, or aspiring hotelier. This book is an excellent history book with insights into seventeen of the great innovators and visionaries of the hotel industry and their inspirational stories.”

Turkel was designated as the “2014 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America,” the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Works published by Stanley Turkel include:

Most of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse—(except Heroes of the American Reconstruction, which can be ordered from McFarland)—by visiting, or by clicking on the book’s title.

Contact: Stanley Turkel

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