By: Tom Eastman, Conway Daily Sun
This is the 80th anniversary not only of Cranmore Mountain Resort but also of another North Conway institution, the former Hotel Randall, whose name was changed to the Eastern Slope Inn for the 1937-38 season.
Like Cranmore, it was owned and developed by Harvey Dow Gibson (1882-1950), the New York City-based, North Conway-grown financial wizard who developed the mountain and bought the inn as part of a plan to turn North Conway into a year-round resort.
The inn was built in 1926 by hotelier Henry Harrison “Harry” Randall, the third Hotel Randall located on the site. Like so many White Mountain stick-built hotels, the two previous Hotel Randalls were consumed by fire.
Randall’s father, James Thompson Randall, had bought a boardinghouse at the north end of Main Street in 1854, renaming it the Hotel Randall.
Harry Randall was literally born in a hotel trunk in 1870, four years before the arrival of the railroad in 1874, and he grew up working at his family’s hotel, which was enlarged over the years.
It first burned to the ground Nov. 19, 1902. Undaunted, Harry — who assumed ownership upon his father’s death in 1898 — rebuilt, and the second “New” Hotel Randall opened July 6, 1903.
Built in the popular Dutch Colonial style with a mansard roof, the hotel grew quickly. In 1916, an addition brought the room total to 50 — 33 of which had private baths. A brochure boasted that the inn had all the latest amenities, including “telephones, electric bells, electric lights and steam heat.”
Expansion continued in 1917 with the purchase of the adjacent Sunset Pavilion, a popular summer hotel located between the present-day hotel and what is now the Eastern Slope Playhouse.
The second Hotel Randall was a year-round resort, and although North Conway was better known as a summer destination, the town was rapidly gaining popularity as a winter resort.
Read the complete article at conwaydailysun.com.