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Opening its doors in the late 19th century, and in operation for most of the 20th century, The Westholm Hotel definitely has earned its place in history. The Westholm Hotel was located on Main Street in Stamford, nestled among the Catskill Mountains, Lake Utsayantha, and Mt. Utsayantha, which represent part of the natural beauty of Stamford.
The Westholm Hotel was one of many hotels and resorts in the area which thrived during their heyday. The Westholm Hotel was located in close proximity to a railroad station, making it one of the top travel destinations in the region until its closure.
According to local historian Fred Wickert, there was a sign placed in front of the hotel for years which simply stated, “Teddy Roosevelt slept here.” Known for its welcoming ambiance, this hotel among others
Renowned local artist, the late LaMont Adelbert Warner, created stunning murals on the walls of the idyllic hotel documenting the natural beauty of the area. Warner, an artist, designer and teacher, was born in Stamford in 1876. One of the murals was able to be taken out and restored, the others were part of the building infrastructure and were beyond repair.
The current proprietress of the property, Victoria Filonenko purchased the property due to here appreciation of the history it represents. After remaining dormant for many years, the hotel could not be restored.
Filonenko teamed up with photographer Thoimas W.P. Slatin to do one final walk through of the property to capture images of the hotel. One of the photographs he obtained was the last photographic documentation of the Lamont Adelbert Warner mural as it stood in the hotel for many decades.
Victoria Filonenko hopes to rebuild on this property, utilizing some of the woodwork and fixtures which could be salvaged from the historic property.
The Westholm Hotel is described by Catskillsearch.com as an “irreplaceable piece of history built in 1890, during the time when Stamford’s many grand hotels flourished with tourists for social gatherings and entertainment. Is is one of the few remaining glorious hotels of this region.” (…)
The hotel boasts amazing oak woodwork and doors; and of course the Warner murals, a floating staircase, much of the original furniture as described and documented by Slatin, and the original clawfoot bathtubs.
The property on which The Westholm Hotel was located is part of the historic Churchill Park, which is on the National Historic Registry.
Slatin recalls, “I attended many dinners here with my parents, Dr. Harvey L. Slatin and Anne P. Slatin, who were quite active in the community, and we always felt welcome.” Concluding, “this was what the hotel represented. a welcoming and beautiful environment. I have many fond memories from childhood visiting the hotel to see my childhood friend whose family owned The Westholm Hotel for a period of time.”
Slatin discussed his desire to photograph this property for many years, “never giving up the hope” to do so. “I had contacted the property owners as well as the real estate agencies in the past, yet it wasn’t until recently that the current owners gave their consent for me to photograph the property. They accompanied me to the property, which was great.”
Slatin explored the property and shot more than 200 photos, selecting only 25. He concluded, “most were unusable due to the lack of proper light available inside the iconic hotel at its most interior points.”
The 25 images selected by Slatin, shared publicly with mutual consent from the owners, are available on Thomas W.P. Slatin’s Instagram page @tomslatin, and on the Facebook page for The Westholm Hotel.
There are several images where natural light assisted in providing a “hopeful feel to the photos.” The glimmering light shining through the windows for some of the chosen photographs, “created a bit of an ethereal effect,” according to one of Thomas Slatin’s colleagues.
“One can sense the possibility of restoration and renewal for The Westholm. One day this memorable and historic hotel may be returned to its original splendor”, concludes Slatin. “It is my hope for The Westholm Hotel.”
Readers can visit the hotel’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestholmHotel for updates on future developments at this property. An entire portfolio of photographs obtained in May of 2019 can be found at www.tomslatin.com.