1959 Phillies Official Scorecard

Collected Items

This glorious scorecard is from the first game of a doubleheader between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies on August 21, 1959 at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. Here is the box score.

The game featured 6 future Hall of Famers -Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn and Sparky Anderson (as a manager). The Giants won the game 6-0. The Giants would go on to finish the season with an 83-71 record. The Phillies would end up with a dreadful 90 losses and finish at the bottom of the National League standings.

The scorecard contains great local ads for car dealerships, service stations, restaurants, appliance stores and hot dogs as well as products fromPhilco, Coca-Cola, Kent cigarettes, Canda Dry, Seagram’s, Winston and Camel cigarettes, Schmidt Beer, Sealtest and Ortlieb’s Beer “The Wet Beer.”

Minuet Manor Motel & Restaurant – Altoona, Pennsylvania

Cardboard America

I’m back! After a very prolonged absence to due a dog bite, a kidney stone, travel and working on some other exciting projects I am ready to get back to it!

Located on Route 220 between Altoona and Tyrone, Pennsylvania, the Minuet Manor Motel and Restaurant opened in the mid-late 1950s (cannot find an exact date). Offering 79 comfortable rooms and a nice meal, the Minuet was a popular spot for local civic and sorority gathers. The restaurant was not just an ordinary eating spot – there’s something of a twist.

1960-03-29 - Tyrone Daily Herald, 29 Mar 1960, Tue, Page 6

Tyrone Daily Herald, March 29, 1960

The restaurant featured a large collection of pepper mills. According to the verso of the postcard below, The Minuet Manor featured the:

World’s largest collection of unique pepper mills, ranging in size for 3 inches to 7 feet 6-inches. Just one of the many memorable pleasures in store for you at the Minuet Manor is being served freshly ground pepper from this outstanding collection.

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Late 1960s postcard showcasing some of the unusual pepper mills inside the restaurant

The restaurant

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Another postcard view of the pepper mills

The restaurant and motel were a hit throughout the 1960s. Struggling to stay afloat after the gas crisis and a dramatic shift in traveling and dining culture, the Minuet Manor was sold to Arthur and Mary Beth Mittelmark in 1977.

1977-11-02 - Tyrone Daily Herald, 02 Nov 1977, Wed, Page 7

Tyrone Daily Herald – November 2, 1977

With the 1980s and 1990s came hard times for the venerable motel and restaurant. The best I can figure is the restaurant closed sometime in 1980s or 1990s. I may be wrong and if I am please correct me!

In July 1999 six people were arrested at the motel in the largest heroin bust in Blair County (PA) history.

Tyrone Daily Herald,  07 Jul 1999, Wed,  Page 11.jpg

Tyrone Daily Herald – July 7, 1999

The motel underwent new ownership around 2000. The new group cleaned the place up and, according to an ad in the classified section of the Altoona Mirror, offered TOTALY REVOVATED ROOMS! That would not instill me with much confidence.

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Altoona Mirror – April 15, 2001

The revovation did not save the motel. The Minuet Manor became a Knight’s Inn before it ultimately closed.

Information on this place is spotty – so if I got something wrong please let me know so I can get it right. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of those pepper mills drop me a line!

Hope To Get as Brown as a Berry

Cardboard America, Cardboard Greetings

pa-eagles-mere-lakeside-hotel-eagles-mere-pennsylvania

Mailed from Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania to Mr. Dan L. Mohnkern of Oil City, Pennsylvania on August 26, 1952:

Dear Dan,
Having a swell time. We are staying at the Lakeside, and the food is wonderful.
The swimming is good but the water is quite chilly. There are many sail boats here, and one which we would like to ride.
I’m quite red now and hope to get as brown as a berry.
We’ve met many fine folks here, and the music and play programs are good. Will see you before too long. Sincerely, Chet.

12017-02-12-0002

 

Beatty’s Restaurant – Delmont, Pennsylvania

Cardboard America

Located on Route 22, just outside of Delmont, Pennsylvania, Beatty’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop served good food in a modern atmosphere. Owned and operated by C.W. Beatty, the restaurant held a formal opening for business on July 11, 1957.

Decorated in black and yellow a full view window, Beatty’s was known for its steak dinners and banquet facilities.

 

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The Pittsburgh Press – July 10, 1957

The restaurant was sold in 1962 to Richard Wright of the Penn Machine
Company. Shortly after the purchase, the restaurant was renamed The Lamplighter.
The Lamplighter was sold again in 1967 to the Ferri family, who still own and operate the restaurant to this day.

 

Horn & Hardart Automats in Philadelphia

Cardboard America

Horn & Hardart opened their first automat on June 9, 1902. The history of these restaurants and its impact on Philadelphia is beautifully captured in an article by Dr. Stephen Nepa in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. The following section is from that 2013 article:

Beloved by generations of diners and immortalized in art, song, cinema, and poetic verse, Automats, also known as “automatics” or “waiterless restaurants,” were popular manifestations of an early-twentieth century modernizing impulse. Influenced by Frederick W. Taylor’s studies of scientific management and the widespread use of the assembly line, the Automat removed the process of ordering food through a professional waitstaff and allowed customers a faster dining experience via coin-operated vending machines. Designed to streamline dining out while offering a broad choice of freshly prepared menu items, Automats were integral features of Greater Philadelphia’s restaurant industry from the early 1900s through the mid-1960s.

Automats first appeared in Germany and Scandinavia in the 1890s. The first Automat in the United States opened in 1902 near New York’s Union Square. However, it failed to gain mass appeal and closed three years later. The Philadelphia area’s first Automat is credited to Joseph Horn (1861-1941) and Frank Hardart (1850-1918), whose local baking company imported the technology from Quisiana, a Berlin-based manufacturer….

Philadelphian Horn and New Orleans transplant Hardart had operated luncheonettes and bakeries in Center City since partnering in 1888. For their first Automat, they chose a site at 818 Chestnut Street. It proved an immediate sensation. After it debuted June 9, 1902, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Horn and Hardart had solved the city’s “rapid transit luncheon problem” of feeding people on the go. Their official slogan, “less work for mother,” affirmed their goal for faster restaurant service.

818 Chestnut St. – Courtesy of Phillyhistory.org

In 1932, there were over 40 restaurants, of which fewer than 20 were automats, in the Greater Philadelphia area and dozens more in New York. The company was thriving.

However, after the second World War, Horn & Hardart struggled to keep up with modern times. Changing tastes, reliance on automobiles and the flight to the suburbs slowed business. Urban renewal would claim at least one location when the company was forced to closed their commissary to make way for dorms at Thomas Jefferson University. One location at 16th and Chestnut hoped to revive business by selling alcohol, but to no avail.

The original Automat, at 818 Chestnut Street was auctioned off to the highest bidder in 1969. The interior of the venerable old restaurant was donated to the National Museum of American History and everything else sold. Horn and Hardart continued to limp until 1981 when the company filed for bankruptcy. May 12, 1990 saw the last location close it doors, ending the company’s near ninety-year run as Philadelphia eating institution.

This list, compiled from an undated address list and some research. Some locations may be missing. If you know of more, please leave a comment or e-mail me.

Automats/Cafeterias

234 Market St.
339 Market St.
818 Chestnut St.
808 Arch St.
909 Market St.
1508 Market St.
11th & Market Sts.
101 S. Juniper St.
219 S. Broad St.
248 N. Broad St.
1601 Chestnut St.
1815-17 E. Allegheny
11th & Ludlow Sts.
1321 Market St.
5141 Market St.

Cafeterias

104 S. 8th St.
11th & Market Sts.
101 S. Juniper St.
1508 Market St.
5537 Germantown
4670 Frankford Ave.
3413 Woodland Ave.
6826 Market St.
3638 N. Broad St.
219 S. Broad St.
6006 Market St.
14 Broadway

Restaurant Service

136 Market St.
730 Market St.
104 S. 8th St.
26 N. 11th St.
11th & Ludlow Sts.
106 S. 11th St.
101 S. Juniper St.
126 S. 4th St.
244 N. Broad St.
Broad & Chestnut
818 Chestnut St.
1508 Market St.
1601 Chestnut St.
3940 Chestnut St.
4847 N. Broad St.
1429 Arch St.
11 S. 18th St.
23 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore
412 Old York Rd.
54th & City Line

Retail Shops

232 Market St.
732 Market St.
820 Chestnut St.
17 S. 11th St.
1601 Chestnut St.
3951 Market St.
5137 Market St.
6008 Market St.
3634 N. Broad St.
4847 N. Broad St.
5706 N. Broad St.
5539 Germantown
5543 N. 5th Ave.
4647 Frankford Ave.
5233 Frankford Ave.
6828 Market St.
6333 Woodland Ave.
2710 Germantown
5048 Baltimore Ave.
7308 Frankford Ave.
7200 Ogontz Ave.
6038 Castor Ave.
23 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore
881 Main St., Darby
231 Haverford Ave., Narberth
412 Old York Rd., Jenkintown
63rd & Lancaster Ave., Overbrook
16 Broadway, Camden
719 Haddon Ave., Collingswood
144 Kings Highway, E. Haddonfield

Day Old Shops

243 S. 10th St.
108 W. Girard Ave.

Jim Flannery’s Constellation Lounge & Restaurant – Penndel, Pennsylvania

Cardboard America

Amelia Earhart’s plane went down somewhere, history says, leaving the world with one less brave pilot and one more aeronautical mystery. But there’s no mystery- as any resident of Penndel can tell you – about an airplane at the corner of Route 1 and Durham Road.
The only mystery connect with the Lockheed Super G Constellation from the mid-1950s and Amelia’s the nightspot it houses is this: Whatever happened to Jim Flannery’s Constellation Lounge?
We hit Flannery’s once, back in 1978 and enjoyed hearing the tale of how the large aircraft was brought to its current location in 1968, after Flannery purchased it. The wings and tail were dismantled, and it was trucked through Delaware, up Route 295 and over the Walt Whitman bridge.
The convoy, with an attending media sideshow, the moved up Broad Street, around City Hall, and onto Route 1, encircled by the Philadelphia Police Force. Now, it sits 25 feet in the air, supported buy concrete airfoils.
Flannery got out of the business after 53 years in 1981, and sold it to the current owners, who redecorated the interior quite a bit, and renamed the establishment. The conventional building downstairs houses a restaurant and cocktail lounge with live entertainment. Given a choice, however, the one-time or non-regular visitor is not about to spend too much time down there.
A long stairway leads upstairs, into the aircraft, where the lengthy fuselage sports a long bar one one side, and an assortment of seats on the other. Live entertainment is featured on the weekends near the cockpit.
The new owners have given the entire complex – building and airplane – a much more contemporary, suave look. The old version stressed bright blues and greens, woodwork, paintings and bright lighting. Now, the place boasts a lot of earthy browns and tans, plants, mirrors and dim lighting.
Drinks, downstairs or up, are very strong and generous, as they should be at $2.60 per cocktail. Both levels have comfortable bar stools, complimentary bar-top snacks and gracious, if slightly languid, service.
An eclectic crowd of a wide age patronizes the nightspot, taking in the stimulating scenery and listening to one of several solo pianist-singers or the Just Us trio.
Right now, Paul Keys entertains in the plane Friday and Saturday, while downstairs, Joe Liptick plays Sunday and Tuesday, Miriam Roberts entertains on Wednesday, and the trio performs Thursday through Saturday.

“Finding mystique without mystery” by Edgar Koshatka originally appeared in the Sunday, June 6, 1982 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The piece asks and answers a question with 1982 information. I am writing this post to answer the question once and for all. Whatever happened to Jim Flannery’s Constellation Lounge?

To answer that we have to go all the back to 1928. The first Flannery’s Restaurant opened that year on Route 1 in Penndel, Pennsylvania. Anne Flannery, Jim’s mother, had opened the restaurant just off the Lincoln Highway.

The small restaurant was popular meeting place for local civic groups

Jim would come back from the War and work for the restaurant. He would ultimately run the restaurant in the early 50s. Under Jim’s leadership modest restaurant would expand over the years and come be known for good drinks and a friendly staff.

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The Bristol Daily-Courier – April 30, 1956

Flannery’s Restaurant was destroyed by a fire on October 27, 1957. The fire probably could have been slowed by the Penndel fire department had difficulty getting water to their hoses and the fire burned for 90 minutes. The restaurant was completely destroyed. Damages from the fire totaled $300,000.

Jim, ever the entrepreneur kept himself in the news. A personal ad appeared in the Bristol Daily Courier on November 7 & 8, 1957 that read:

DO YOU KNOW THE IDENTITY – of the masquerader who displayed the sign, “Eat Flannery’s – for the hottest meal in town!” at Penndel’s Halloween Parade on Wednesday, October 30? Please ask him to contact Mr. Jim Flannery, immediately, at SK 7-3757.

I actually found a follow-up on the personal ad. and after reading it I feel like there is almost a zero percent chance that this wasn’t a publicity stunt trumped up Flannery.

The blurb ran in the Bristol Courier-Journal on November 22, 1957.

Dinner Proved Jest Right

A 9-year-old Langhorne boy who came to a Halloween party as a “sandwich man” won a big laugh and an invitation for dinner from Jim Flannery of Flannery’s Restaurant.

Raymond Heiss, 221 Hawthorne Ave., wore two poster cards in the shape of the “sandwich man,” shortly after the fire at the restaurant.

One card read  “Eat at Flannery’s – Hottest food in town.” The other side stated “Everything well done and extra crispy this week.”

The restaurant owner heard of the boy’s costume and located him through and advertisement in the Courier-Times.

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Bristol Courier-Tmes – November 28, 1957

Flannery would rebuild but not without some more free publicity first.A few weeks after the fire, Flannery invited Carl Hodgert and Josephine Poynor of the Courier-Times advertising department to eat a meal in the burned-out ruins of the restaurant. The two had made a wager

While plans were being hatched to rebuild the restaurant, Flannery was active in the Langhorne County Lions Club, serving food for a Neshaminy High School fundraiser and being active in the community.

The restaurant re-opened in the Spring of 1958 and was a hit. The restaurant would once again become the spot in town for meetings, family dinners and for civic groups.

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Jim Flannery pops up in news stories quite a bit over the next few years. He is part of the area’s painting project called “Paint Up, Clean Up Week.” He would named Boss of the Year in 1962 by the Trenton Chapter of National Secretaries Association. Flannery hits a hole-in-one at a local golf course, is named a judge in a KING OF BARBECUE contest in the Miss Pennsylvania region of the Miss Universe Pageant and even gets married quite suddenly to Alice Ann Dexrod of Jenkintown.

Flannery’s Restaurant would go through a major redesign in 1963, with a new dining room, more seating and more elegant 1960s decor. That would not lost long.

Jim Flannery had an idea that would become a landmark and fight. Flannery, a former pilot in WWII. In the Summer of 1967, Flannery, ever the showman, purchased an authentic Lockheed Super G Constellation airplane known as the “Geneva Trader” from Capitol Airways.

Flannery explained to Hemmings Motor News in 2007:

“Route 1 really started to get built up following World War II when the Levittown homes were built [finished in 1958] and U.S. Steel opened its big plant in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania [1952]. The idea first came to me in 1967. I was sitting on my boat in an Atlantic City marina, and reading a restaurant trade magazine that talked about a restaurant made from old railroad cars in Pennsylvania and another one in North Jersey made from a ferryboat. I was an old Air Force pilot, and I decided to look for an airplane to put at my restaurant.”

The Super Connie (N1005C) had already been through seven owners, starting with Cubana Airlines in 1954, when Flannery found it on the tarmac in Wilmington, Delaware, where Capitol Airways was looking to sell it.  Flannery bought the plane and it was dismantled and trucked from Wilmington, Delaware to the restaurant.

Flannery would mount the plane in the back/on top of the restaurant and convert the interior into a cocktail lounge. Hardwood floor and dining tables were installed. The cockpit would retain its instruments, but be turned in to a small performance area for nightly entertainment.

The Philadelphia Inquirer – October 31, 1967

Flannery’s Restaurant was gone. In its place was Jim Flannery’s Constellation Lounge and Restaurant.

The new designed cocktail lounge/airplane opened in October 1967 and immediately became a landmark in the Penndel-Longhorne area.

It became so much a part of town that people would use it for directions, turn left at the airplane. One mile south of the airplane, etc.

The original restaurant would be renovated for the 2nd time in 5 years. The decor would be changed to match the airplane theme and to better accommodate access to the plane.

Jim Flannery’s “on-the-ground” restaurant reopened on August 1, 1968. Flannery’s Constellation Lounge and Restaurant was now complete. To celebrate the occasion Flannery planned a Grand Opening Party for Thursday, September 19.

It was beautiful day. There was food, fun, drinks and a 35-foot hot air balloon. The balloon was to be launched from the parking lot to honor the aviation theme. Two passengers boarded the balloon waving and smiling.

Lebanon Daily News – September 20, 1968

In front of nearly 350 people, the balloon lifted off and, almost immediately as it rose, the wind sent them off course and struck a power line. Both passengers were instantly electrocuted and, as the balloon fell, both passengers fell over 40 feet to their deaths.

Jim Flannery would be shocked and horrified by the event until the day he died. He never spoke of that day publicly.

An incident like that could have destroyed the restaurant but Flannery’s remained strong.

The Constellation Lounge became the hot spot in the area with good drinks and a fun atmosphere. The good times wouldn’t last.

By the end of the 1970s. Economic difficulties in the area, along with the slow demise of that stretch of the Lincoln Highway lead to a sharp downturn in business for Flannery’s.

The plane would be dubbed “The Spirit of ’76” in honor of the nation’s bicentennial.

In September 1979, Flannery filed for Chapter 12 protection from his creditors and the restaurant and cocktail lounge closed.

In a 1980 interview, Flannery would say “Maybe I just ran out of steam for a while. Burned out, as they say. But I’m really charged up now. I really think I could turn this place around.”

Flannery had plans to turn the place in a family-style restaurant but it was too late. Flannery needed to raise about $185,000 dollars in short order – through sale of part of his land to a developer in order to build apartments. He was also willing to sell his home.

Money wasn’t the only problem. The Penndel Borough Council refused to grant a zoning change needed to build the apartments. The Council thought that Flannery’s desperation showed a blatant disregard for zoning ordinances of the area. Without that change Flannery was basically doomed.

The citizens rallied to save the restaurant. There was a “Save the Plane” rally attended by about 75 people.All of it ultimately amounted to nothing.

Flannery would liquidate his assets and sell the restaurant and plane to a new set of owners. The new restaurant, dubbed Amelia’s, opened in early 1982.

Amelia’s failed to capture the audience that Flannery’s once had and closed by 1987. The restaurant and plane were unoccupied for nearly five years. Then, in 1991, a couple purchased the landmark with the same hopes and dreams of Jim Flannery and Amelia’s.

The old airplane would get one more chance at life. On January 10, 1992 the new restaurant called Airplane Family Diner and Restaurant opened.

The Philadelphia Inquirer – January 19, 1992

Penndel restaurant has top-flight opening

To say that the opening of the Airplane Family Restaurant & Diner drew a crowd would be an understatement.

“From the second we opened on Friday, all the way through Sunday, we had people in line,” to get in, Dabbour said.

But then it had been five years since Bucks County residents could dine beneath the hulking Lockheed Constellation airplane that is permanently grounded on old Route 1 in Penndel.

The plane, although newly scrubbed and painted outside, still needs refurbishing inside and will not open to the public until this summer, Dabbour said.

For years, Dabbour and his wife, Karen, worked in the airplane’s shadow, at their pizzeria called Penny’s Pizza down the street, and dreamed of refurbishing and reopening the restaurant beneath the landmark.

They realized that dream this month and simultaneously realized that they had embarked on a landmark undertaking.

Karen Dabbour estimates that between the two of them, the couple managed about 18 hours of sleep each during the diner’s first 72 hours.

She said her husband did not leave the new diner from the moment he arrived Friday, at 5:30 a.m., until 2 a.m. Sunday. She slipped away for a couple of hours to check on their two young children, who were being cared for by their grandmother. But Ghassan Dabbour “slept on a cot in his office,” she said.

The Dabbours said they were grateful for the turnout, particularly at a time when financially strapped families were not dining out much.

And, they said, the first weekend was especially hectic because it was everyone’s first day on the job. To make matters worse, there were four or five no-shows among their 28-member crew.

But the past week has given the couple a chance to iron out those wrinkles. ”Every day gets better,” Ghassan Dabbour said.

The ’90s version of the restaurant is a family establishment, the Dabbours emphasized. The plane, when it reopens, will not be a bar as it was previously. It will be rented out for private parties, including children’s birthday bashes, Ghassan Dabbour said.

And though the new restaurant is called a diner, and offers such standard diner fare as steaks, eggs, burgers and sandwiches, it has a few features that set it apart from the typical diner: Its light, airy interior, done in soft blues and grays, for instance, and menu items like “fajita pita” and souvlaki.

The Airplane Family Restaurant closed in 1995 and both the restaurant and airplane sat idle, deteriorating in the elements. The fuselage of the airplane began to come apart from the stress of the load and constant water leaks filled the lounge. The Constellation was finally sealed off for good in 1997.

Amoco purchased the land for a new gas station shortly after that and both the company and the borough decided that the airplane had to go. In July, 1997 it was dismantled and the restaurant torn down. The Penndel landmark gone forever.

Amoco donated the plane to the Air Mobility Museum in Dover, Delaware, where it has now been restored as a replica of an Air Force C-121C cargo plane.

Jim Flannery would always be open to talking about his baby but he basically stayed out of the public eye from the closing of the restaurant until he died on June 17, 2011.

Stouffer’s Top of the…Restaurants

Cardboard America, Close Cover, Uncategorized

The Palm Beach Post – October 9, 1960

You may Stouffer’s as one of the biggest names in frozen foods but what you may not know is that the Stouffer’s name was once ties to inns, eateries, and a series of restaurants that tower of some major cities and providesd food and drink with a view.

Stouffer’s was founded in 1922, when Abraham and Mahala Stouffer opened a dairy stand in downtown Cleveland’s Arcade Building. The Stouffers would add fresh-brewed coffee and Mrs. Stouffer’s homemade Dutch apple pies to the menu. Business really started to boom when the Stouffer’s son Vernon returned with a finance degree from Penn in 1923. The family established its first real restaurant called Stouffer Lunch in 1924. Located on East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue the restaurant was opened with an investment of just $15,000.

The restaurant’s menu featured a few sandwiches priced from 20 to 25 cents. Stouffer’s would expand to Detroit and then to Pittsburgh. Shortly after that another son named Gordon joined the burgeoning business. It was Gordon who recommended that the waitresses, known as “Stouffer Girls,” should all wear a standard outfit dictated by Stouffer’s.

The restaurant was not slowed down by the Depression. In  1935, the chain opened its sixth location, and in 1937, it launched its first restaurant in New York City. World War II would slow the company’s expansion but in 1946, Stouffer’s opened its first suburban restaurant in Cleveland’s Shaker Square neighborhood.

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Inside of a matchbook from 1975

The food became so popular that people would ask for it to go or frozen so they could enjoy the food at home. The company soon realized the potential of what they could do with frozen food, and began to sell the items in a separate business called the 227 Club.

Stouffer’s volume of frozen food business grew so quickly that, in 1954, the company built a processing plant in downtown Cleveland. That year, the company was officially named Stouffer Foods Corporation.

The restaurant group launched its “Top of…” restaurants in the 1956 with Stouffer’s Top of the Rock located in the newly built Prudential Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Not long after that the Top of the Six’s opened in New York.

In 1960, Stouffer made its first venture into the hotel business with the purchase of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Anacapri Inn. I will definitely be doing a write-up of the Anacapri at some point soon.

The purchase gave the company three divisions: Stouffer Hotel Co., Stouffer Foods Corp., and Stouffer Restaurant Co.

By 1965, there were seven Top of The…restaurants in the Stouffer’s franchise. In May of that year, Stouffer’s announced a five-year, $17 million expansion plan to increase its number of ground restaurants and to add more “Top of The…” restaurants to their growing empire.

Nestlé acquired Stouffer’s three divisions in 1973. The merger did not hamper growth. Several new hotels with Top of The…built in to the towers were opened in the late 1970s.

Stouffer’s Hotel group was sold to the Renaissance/Ramada chains in 1993 for approximately $1.5 billion. The reorganization left Stouffer Corp. with frozen foods as its sole business where it still thrives under the Nestle banner.

By the time it was all said and done there were 16 Top of The…restaurants built over a 23 year span. Some enjoyed lasted success, others faded fairly quickly. I have done my best to find what I could about every one of these places. I placed in them in chronological order by opening date. Some of the places’ dates are sketchy at best but I think I have them in order.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Top of the Rock – Chicago, Illinois

Opened: 1956
Closed: January, 1976
Location: 41st Floor, Prudential Building, 130 E. Randolph St.

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stouffers-article


Chicago Tribune – September 24, 1961

The Top of the Rock was located at the top of the Prudential Building on Michigan Avenue. Upon its opening in 1956, the restaurant at that top of Chicago’s first skyscraper in 21 years, offered unparalleled views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. On a clear day you could see four states and seemingly all of Chicago.

Top of the Rock was THE place to go on a date, get a cocktail and take in a great view. Top of the Rock sat 180 guests in an early-American/Continental decor.

That only lasted for about a decade. In 1966, the Prudential Building was no longer the tallest building in Chicago. By the early 1970s the observation deck, that once was host to over 750,000 people a year, was down to fewer than one-third of that total.

The restaurants, now struggling to gain visitors seemed dated and The Loop area was no longer a place for tourists.  The Loop had turned in to a downtown that was for business people only and was virtually abandoned when the evening rolled around.

In January 1976 the Top of the Rock closed.

A February 8, 1976 article “‘Top of Rock’ winks out – omen for Loop?” by Paul Gapp in The Chicago Tribune laments the demise of the restaurant and the Loop:

The restaurant did not merely lose a height battle. It lost out on changing times and forces that have killed off a dozen other landmark Loop restaurants [not to mention theaters, nightclubs, book stores, specialty shops, and other amenities razed in the name of progress.”]

Every time another old-line attraction closes its doors, we seem to move closer to the day when there will be nothing – absolutely nothing – to do in the Loop after 6 pm.

After years of careful planning, the Loop did recover. The Prudential Building still stands right across the street from a newer tourist destination, Millennium Park.

No other restaurant has occupied the 41st floor space where Top of The Rock once offered a unique view of a changing city.

Top of the Six’s – New York, New York

Opened: 1958
Closed: September 1996
Location: Penthouse Floor666 Fifth Avenue

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Top of the Six’s was located on the penthouse floor of 666 Fifth Avenue, between 52nd/53rd Streets. 666 Fifth Avenue, also know as the Tishman Building was built in 1957. It building was known for its aluminium exterior paneling and for the glowing 666 on the side.

Also known as the Tishman building, the 41-story building was located near Rockefeller Center. It was a prime location for the wealthy and famous

The Top of the Six’s was known for it’s ambiance and for being the place to see and be seen. The drinks were stiff but the food was nothing special.

The September 18, 1996 New York Times article No More Tables for Two at the Top of the Sixes by David Stout states:

‘Nobody ever went there for the food.”

In July 1973, about 15 years after it opened, the restaurant announced that it was about to serve its 10 millionth meal. Ominously, a review that month found the cuisine anything but haute.

”My ‘beef stroganoff’ was a Swiss steak on noodles reminiscent of a hundred airline meals,” the restaurant reviewer declared, in one of his kinder passages.

Nine years later, a reviewer called Top of the Sixes ”the sort of place you visit in order to say you’ve been there, once.”

nypl-digitalcollections-af33c590-b35a-55df-e040-e00a18063f79-001-v

Courtesy of New York Public Library

The end came in September 1996. Stouffer’s sold the restaurant to Select Restaurants of Cleveland in 1992 and they ultimately decided to not to renew their lease.

Top of the Six’s became another relic of a bygone New York era.

To the left and below, you can see a 1964 menu from the Top of the Six’s.

The Dinner Provencal are a steep $5.45 which is the equivalent of $42.31 in 2016 dollars.

 

 

nypl-digitalcollections-af33c590-b35b-55df-e040-e00a18063f79-002-v

1964 menu courtesy of New York Public Library

Top of the Marine – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Opened: 1961
Closed: December 28, 2001 (then known as Top of the Plaza)
Location: 22nd floor of Marine Plaza (later known as Bank One Plaza Building), 111 E. Wisconsin

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Postcard courtesy of William Bird

The building, also designed by Harrison and Abramovitz Architects, now known as Chase Tower was originally christened Marine Plaza when it was built for the Marine National Exchange Bank at 111 E. Wisconsin. The building opened in 1961 and I am guessing the restaurant opened at the same time or shortly there after.

Located on the 22nd floor, The Top of the Marine was designed with a luxury paddle-wheel theme. The entire decor was based on being on a turn of the 20th century cruise ship traveling over the Great Lakes. The restaurant offered a spectacular view of downtown Milwaukee from what was then the second tallest building in Milwaukee.

Over the years the Marine National Exchange Bank went through numerous mergers and name changes. Stouffer’s left around 1983 or 1984 but the restaurant re-named the Top of the Plaza remained until the very end of December 2001.

Top of the Mart – Atlanta, Georgia

Opened: Late 1961
Closed: ?
Location: 22nd Floor, Atlanta Merchandise Mart, 240 Peachtree St., NW

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240 Peachtree St., N.W. Atlanta 3, Ga.
This enchanting, love Mediterranean Garden Court is a delightful introduction to the exciting “Top of the Mart” restaurant-lounge on the 22nd floor of Atlanta’s new Merchandise Mart. Luncheon, dinner and late dining…famous Stouffer food and your favorite beverages are served. Party and banquet facilities are available.

The Atlanta Merchandise Mart, the first building constructed in Peachtree Center, was at the time of  its construction the largest building in Atlanta.

Top of the Mart opened on the 22nd floor of the Merchandise Mart shortly after the  opening of the building. Featuring a Mediterranean Garden and a brick-lined courtyard and a small, bubbling fountains, Top of the Mart was Atlanta’s hotspot for people of all races. The restaurant opened as a fully-integrated place in downtown Atlanta during the height of the fight against segregation. Stouffer’s also operated an integrated restaurant and lounge on the Peachtree Street level.

Top of the Mart was also a great place to get a drink due to Atlanta was a wet city in dry Georgia. A child, as long as there were accompanied by an adult could drink.

Information about the closing of the Top of the Mart has been hard to track down. Let me know if you have any information.

Top of the Flame – Detroit, Michigan

Opened: April 4, 1963
Closed: April 30, 1978
Location: 26th Floor, Michigan Consolidated Gas Building, 1 Woodward Ave.

Detroit Free Press – March 29, 1963

The Michigan Consolidated Gas Building with a light on top that resembled a flame, was built in 1962 and was designed for the gas industry. There were gas jets with blue flames around the reflecting pool and the lobby ceiling a blue bulb that resembled a glass flame in the corners.

The Top of the Flame opened shortly after the building, on the 26th floor seated 350 in five different dining rooms.The restaurant’s decor was inspired by a showplace home in Bangkok, Thailand and included a Pagoda Bar.

Business boomed from the outset. The Top of the Flame was the only restaurant in town that had an accessible view of the Detroit waterfront and river. That lasted for a little more than decade until the Renaissance Plaza Hotel opened in 1976. The Plaza offered a newer environment and a higher, better view of the city.

Detroit, 1976, was in turmoil. In August, something of a mini-riot occurred in Cobo Hall, right near the Gas Building. Police arrested 47 people following an attack during a concert by the Average White Band and Kool and the Gang. The violence during event was gruesome and people understandably avoided that area of downtown.

The Top of the Flame, already appearing outdated, was doomed by these events. It was announced in December of 1977 that The Top of the Flame would not be renewing its lease when it came due at the end of April, 1978.

Top of the Rockies – Denver, Colorado

Opened: 1964
Closed: 1993?
Location: 30th Floor, Security Life Building

Top of the Rockies Denver Colorado

CardCow.com

Step from the glass-encased Sky Lift into a quaint French Alpine village… enjoy a breathtaking view of the magnificent Rockies from any dining and cocktail area… the finest American food as well as French and Swiss specialties.

Top of the Rockies was located 30 floors up at 16th & Glenarm in the Security Life Building in downtown Denver. The Security Life Building opened in 1964. It featured a glass-enclosed skylift elevator that offered a view all the way up. Advertising at the time used the phrase “See Denver one story at a time.”

The Top of the Rockies was decorated in a French Alpine village motif with flowers and fountains in a brick courtyard. The menu was designed with that motif in mind, specializing in French and Swiss style food.

There was a lounge for dancing and the music of FOXFIRE, the house band for several years in the 1970s.

I don’t know when the Top of the Rockies closed. I think it might have been around 1993 or 1994 but I am not sure. The building went through numerous name changed before finally being converted into apartments in 2005.

Top of the Town – Cleveland, Ohio

Opened: 1964
Closed: January, 1995
Location: 38th FloorErieview Plaza, 100 Erie View Tower

Developers John Galbreath and Peter Ruffin broke ground on a new skyscraper designed by the architecture firm of Harrison and Abramovitz called Erieview Tower in early 1963. As part of grand urban renewal plan for downtown Cleveland, Erieview Tower in the new Erieview Plaza (designed by I.M. Pei) was meant to be the hub of newly revitalized downtown Cleveland.

According to Wikipedia:

The tower, with its underground 450 car parking garage, was completed in 1964 and although the full renewal plan was not fully implemented, significant progress was made over the course of the following twenty-five years. Much of the area was cleared for redevelopment and a number of other buildings were constructed. A large amount of land was relegated to surface parking and, for a time into the late 1970s, the area became a somewhat cold and foreboding place to be with the East 9th Street corridor a limit to downtown’s growth.

Top of the Town was known for its fun, festive atmosphere and for their sauerkraut balls which is exactly what you’d think it is: deep-fried sauerkraut in ball-form.

In the 1970s, the restaurant was known for its live entertainment by local entertainers such as pianist Tommy Clair, musician Gary Lyman and Jack Reynolds from radio station WHK 1420 who would conduct live broadcasts from the Top of the Town Monday thru Friday from 7 to midnight; and radio station WJW would also broadcast radio shows live from Top of the Town.

The restaurant closed down in 1995 but the memories live on. There is a Top of The Town Facebook group where former employees and patrons share their great stories and pictures.

*all photos from the Facebook group*

Top of the Hub – Boston, Massachusetts

Opened: Spring 1965
Status: STILL OPEN
Location: 52nd Floor of the Prudential Tower, 800 Boylston Street

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Construction began on the Prudential Tower in 1960. When it was completed in 1964, it was the tallest building in the world outside of New York.

Located on the 52nd floor, The Top of Hub, opened on April 19, 1965 and offered a dazzling view of the entire Boston metropolitan area. On clear days you could see beyond Boston Harbor into the Massachusetts Bay.

The Top of the Hub is still open. I am having a very difficult time finding when Stouffer’s stopped running the restaurant. The current website does not mention its past history. I will continue to dig and update this post of I can figure it out. As always, feel free to leave me a message or e-mail me if you have any information or if/when I have any facts wrong about this or any of these places.

Top of the Center – Columbus, Ohio

Opened: 1965?
Closed: 1997?
Location: 31st Floor, City National Building, 100 East Broad St.

This entry should come with the disclaimer that this one has been a doozy. If I am wrong please let me know as I would like to know but information is very scarce about this particular location and every bit I do find seems to contradict the other. I think the basis for the confusion is that there were three Stouffer’s location in Columbus including One Nation, which was atop the Nationwide Building at around the same time.

The Top of the Center was located on the 31st floor of City National Building (now known as the PNC Bank Building

I found an anonymous comment from an old forum about lost Columbus restaurants:

The classy English inn motif, the excellent menu, and who could forget the “cherries flambe” prepared (lit on fire)at your table!? And the view from the Top of the Center (top floor of what was then the City National bldg, now Bank One) was breath-taking, especially at night during the holidays when you all the lights were up, including the lights on the Lazarus bldg, and the snow covered everything below. At the time, the City National bldg was the second tallest in the city!

Stouffer’s opened One Nation (atop the Nationwide Plaza One Bldg.) in 73. Not sure how much longer the Top survived after that. I have the fondest childhood memories of those years. Sure wish the Top was still around!

Top of the Riverfront – St. Louis, Missouri

Opened: April 5, 1969
Closed: January, 2014
Location: 30th Floor, Stouffer’s Riverfront Inn, 200 South Fourth St.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – January 5, 1969

The barrel-shaped, modern style hotel constructed of concrete and glass was designed in 1964 by New York architect William B. Tabler and completed in 1969.

The construction of the 400-room Riverfront Inn coincided with the building of the Gateway Arch, the second Busch Stadium and the CBS as a part of a serious urban renewal plan for St. Louis is the late 1960s.

The Top of the Riverfront was the only revolving restaurant in the Stouffer’s family and it operated atop the hotel (known by many names over the years) from its highly celebrated opening to its quiet closing in 2014.

It would take the restaurant almost 80 minutes  to complete a full 360 degree revolution. According to National Register of Historic Places Registration documents only five other similar structures had been built previously nationwide. The building complex was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places,  Before its National Register listing, the idea of demolition had been brought forth.

There have been rumblings of renovating the hotel and opening the revolving restaurant but there is no time frame for completion

Top of the Triangle – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Opened: August 17, 1971
Closed: September 29, 2001
Location: 62nd Floor, U.S. Steel Building, 600 Grant Street

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – February 12, 1974

The U.S. Steel building

The tallest

The restaurant had a preview opening on August 13, 1971. Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates cut the ribbon and escorted the first guest Mrs. Donald M. Campsey of Claysville, Pennsylvania into the restaurant. It officially opened for business four days later.

Top of the Triangle featured a pair of dining rooms that sat a total of 230 people. The cocktail lounge had accommodations for 75 and nightly entertainment. There was also a room called the Downtown Club that shared the 62nd floor with the U.S. Steel executive dining rooms.

Top of the Triangle was fairly successful. For nearly 30 years it provided a view of the Golden Triangle in Pittsburgh. Times had changed and the restaurant had not aged. The new owners of the U.S. Steel building called for the restaurant to be demolished in 2001.

Bonus Article:

Monday, September 17, 2001 By Woodene Merriman, Post-Gazette Dining Critic

For 30 years, the Top of the Triangle has been a premier spot to celebrate a birthday, entertain a potential customer or pop the question to your true love. The Janosko and Tenenini families, in fact, have celebrated other family birthdays there.

For the young (or young at heart) it was exciting to be whizzed up to the 62nd floor on the super-fast elevator. Then, if you were lucky, you got a seat by the windows where you could look out over most all of Pittsburgh. (This is one place, it is said, where you look down on Mount Washington.)

If you were extremely lucky, you got table No. 54, which has the best view of all — three rivers, the stadiums and North Shore, Downtown, Point State Park, Mount Washington.

It’s a big, open restaurant, light and bright, seating 320 people, and the tables are in tiers, so they all have good views. From the beginning, it was known as a sophisticated restaurant, expensive as well as expansive, and the place to go for special occasions. When a young man suddenly got down on his knees to propose between courses, other diners applauded. Diamond engagement rings turned up in glasses of champagne and in fancy desserts. At least once a small plane flew by the windows, trailing a sign, “Will you marry me?”

Also, in 1985 it was estimated that dinner for two would cost $75. Robert Bianco, then the dining critic for The Pittsburgh Press and now a television critic with USA Today, complained that the restaurant was getting ” top-level prices for ground-level food.”

The restaurant has had other ups and downs over the years, and not just from the elevator (where rambunctious young boys were known to jump while the elevator moved for an extra thrill.) In 1987 a fire on a lower floor in the building sent diners scurrying up to the rooftop heliport until the danger was over.

Stouffer’s operated the restaurant when it opened in July 1971, then Nestles and finally Select Restaurants of Cleveland, which also owns Roxy Cafe in South Hills Village and the Cheese Cellar in the Freight House Shops, Station Square. Select was not able to renew the lease. It has been rumored that offices will go into this space or another restaurant. Nothing has been confirmed.

For many years, Top of the Triangle’s popular dessert was Sky High Pie, described on the menu as “lofty layers of ice cream surmounted with a liqueur-flavored meringue, $2.25.” Tableside cooking and old-time favorites like shrimp cocktails, shrimp de jonghe and French onion soup were menu regulars.

Top of the Tower – Louisville, Kentucky

Opened: February 5, 1975
Closed: January, 1984
Location: 38th Floor, First National Bank Tower, 101 South Fifth Street

The Courier-Journal – January 31, 1975

Top of the Tower, the 12th Stouffer’s Top of The… restaurant for the franchise, opened on the 38th floor of the First National Bank in downtown Louisville on February 5, 1975

At the time it opened, the First National Bank Tower was the tallest building in Kentucky, Indiana or Tennessee.

The restaurant sat 154 guests in the main dining room, another 24 in a private function room and 66 in its cocktail lounge.

Top of the Tower, like the others built in the mid-late 1970s, had a short shelf life. Changing tastes, Stouffer’s restructuring and turmoil at the First National Bank lead to the closing of the restaurant in early 1984.

Top of Centre Square – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Opened: February 13, 1975
Closed: June 11, 1993
Location: 41st Floor, First Pennsylvania Tower at 15th and Market Sts.

The Philadelphia Inquirer – February 11, 1975

Top of Centre Square opened in to a ton of fanfare and buzz around Philadelphia. The restaurant, at the top of the fairly new First Pennsylvania Bank Building at 1500 Market Street never seemed like it would open. Construction delays and general set-up would delay the restaurant for a while.

Starting in the mid-1960s, developer Jack Wolgin began development of a high-rise complex in the West Market area of Philadelphia. There were multiple buildings on the plot of land that Wolgin wanted. He sought help from the city. He got it. In 1969, the city condemned all of the buildings and the entire area was leveled. That would not, however be the last problem that would need to be solved.

The complex, originally meant to be two steel towers ran way over budget and had to be redesigned just months before the project was set to begin. Concrete was used instead of steel to get the budget down some. The project was completed in 1973 at a cost of $80 million with First Pennsylvania Bank and its anchor tenant.

Construction remained even after the building was open. The top floor that would house the newest Stouffer’s venture was not finished for a few months.

After the building has been opened for a year, Top of the Centre opened on the 41st floor on February 11, 1975 after all of the construction had been fully finished

The favorite spot in Top of Centre Square was the William Penn Room where diners could see City Hall and east towards the Delaware River.

The near constant critique of the Top of The…restaurants was that the views were outstanding but the food was not. Top of Centre Square was exactly the same way.

I don’t usually quote Wikipedia but this says what I want to say better than I could:

Top of Centre Square is best known for Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture, Clothespin, in the plaza in front of the building. A fan of contemporary art, developer Jack Wolgin commissioned three works under Philadelphia’s percent for art program: Clothespin, Jean Dubuffet’s Milord la Chamarre, and a series of banners by Alexander Calder. The works helped Philadelphia gain a reputation for promoting public art.

In 1993, the Stouffer’s name was dropped from the Top of the Mart and just a few months later it closed for good.

Top of the Plaza – Houston, Texas

Opened: August 1975
Closed: STILL OPEN
Location: 20th Floor of the Stouffer’s Greenway Plaza Hotel, Six Greenway Plaza

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Texas Monthly – April 1984

The Greenway Plaza Hotel opened in August, 1975. Located at the newly built Greenway Plaza, the hotel and restaurant are still open to this day as Renaissance Hotel.

The Top of the Plaza in this hotel was barely mentioned and obviously not one of the top features designed to lure travelers.

The hotel is connected to an underground shopping and fast-food dining mall.

The hotel remained a Stouffer’s until at least the early 1990s. Little tidbits of semi-interesting NBA and pop culture trivia appear when you research the Greenway Plaza.

The first item appeared in the Los Angeles Times on June 12, 1986:

Officials of the Stouffer Greenway Plaza Hotel are trying to collect about $50,000 from Houston Rockets guard Lewis Lloyd for a five-month stay, a hotel spokesman said.

Lloyd, 27, leased three rooms at the hotel from September through January. The rooms were reportedly occupied by Lloyd, his brother and a friend.

Rex Graham, an accountant who has worked on Lloyd’s financial records, said the tab included charges by other people without Lloyd’s knowledge. “He was taken advantage of,” Graham said.

Lloyd, a three-year starter averaging 16.9 points a game in the regular season, signed a three-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Rockets on Sept. 27, 1985 that is worth $675,000.

Lewis Lloyd would be banned by the NBA later that year for cocaine abuse.

The second item is minor but kind of a fun bit of useless trivia. In 1990, Madonna hosted a big party after kicking off her “Blonde Ambition” tour at the Summit Arena (now Lakewood Church) next door. The party was filmed for Madonna’s Truth or Dare documentary.

The hotel and restaurant are still standing and are now known as the Doubletree Greenway Plaza.

Top of the Plaza – Dayton, Ohio

Opened: Early 1976
Closed: STILL OPEN
Location: Fifth and Jefferson

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Found on eBay

The newest addition to the rising Dayton skyline. Located between the Dayton Convention Center (Exhibition Hall) and the Transportation Center, connected to both by skywalks on the second level public floor. Over three hundred spacious guest rooms, luxurious Hospitality Suites, heated swimming pool, gift shop, newsstand and modern meeting facilities. Experience magnificent rooftop dining at Top of the Plaza, or enjoy hearty drinks and oversized sandwiches in the Grogshop.

The Dayton Plaza Hotel was built in 1976 at the corner of Fifth and Jefferson in downtown Dayton, Ohio.

There is not much information to be found about the place. It remained a Stouffer’s property throughout the 1980s. It still stands today but it is now known as the Crowne Plaza Dayton.

The restaurant, now longer a Stouffer’s but still called Top of the Plaza, is still serving food a view of Dayton from their rooftop floor.

Top of the Crown – Cincinnati, Ohio

Opened:  May 9, 1978
Closed: January 1, 1984
Location: 32nd Floor of the Stouffer’s Cincinnati Tower, 141 W. 6th Street

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Stouffer’s Cincinnati Towers

The last Top of the….restaurant to open and the shortest-lived, The Top of the Crown opened to much fanfare on May 9, 1978.

The Cincinnati Enquirer – May 6, 1978

Offering a “Victorian atmosphere featuring rich colors of rust and gold,” the dining area on the 31st floor sat 348 people and offered a great view of the

One of only three Top of the…restaurants in a Stouffer’s owned hotel property, The Top of the Crown was doomed from the beginning. Stouffer’s was going through numerous changes and restructurings in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Akron Beacon Journal, July 5, 1983

In June of 1983 it was announced that as of the beginning of the next year, eleven Stouffer hotels, including the Cincinnati Towers were to be renamed Clarion Hotels. As far as I can tell, The Top of the Crown ceased to exist after that. It certainly didn’t last through 1985, as the trademark for the name expired.

Top of the Seasons – Des Moines, Iowa

Opened: January 29, 1979
Closed: 1983ish
Location: Stouffer’s Five Seasons Hotel, 350 First Avenue

Stouffer's Five Season Hotel Cedar Rapids Iowa

Cardcow.com

This may have been the last Top of the…restaurant to be built but I am not sure. Every time I think I have them all, I seem to find another. I have found these last three places after searching for the others. There very well could be one or two more.

The Stouffer’s Five Season hotel opened on January 29, 1979. There were 284 rooms in the tower located in the heart of Des Moines.

Featuring a ballroom that could hold up to 1600 people, The Glass Parrot cocktail lounge with top flight entertainment, The Top of the Seasons was, very briefly, the hotspot in Des Moines.

However, like the previous few restaurants, Stouffer’s restaurants and hotels at this time were in major turmoil and tastes had changed so dramatically that The Five Seasons Hotel would remain a Stouffer’s franchise for about a decade and the restaurant would only last until around 1983 or 1984. I haven’t found the date just yet.

The Des Moines Register – February 28, 1979

The hotel becoming the Crowne Plaza Hotel by the time of the June 2008 flood. The flood permanently damaged the signature escalators that were a popular feature of the hotel/convention/arena complex.