2. The Fifth Avenue Summit at the Fifth Avenue Hotel
Photo from Library of Congress
On August 6, 1880, President-elect James Garfield gave his only campaign speech from the balcony of the Fifth Avenue Hotel to an audience of around 10,000 gathered in Madison Square Park. In addition to Garfield, General Chester A. Arthur, General Benjamin Harrison, and Major William McKinley all gave speeches as well. It must have been quite the sight to hear speeches from four future presidents. During the course of the summit, Garfield met with his political adversaries, the Stalwarts, led by Roscoe Conkling.
The Fifth Avenue Hotel was one of the grandest hotels in New York City. The land was originally part of Matthew Horn’s farm. By the 1830s when Fifth Avenue cut through the land, the farm gave way to the Madison Cottage, which charged six pence for supper and forbade more than five men from sleeping in one bed. In the 1850s, the Madison Cottage was demolished for Franconi’s Hippodrome, which in turn was replaced by the Fifth Avenue Hotel in 1859. The Fifth Avenue Hotel played host to a bevy of foreign dignitaries including, the Prince of Wales, in 1860, Done Pedro, the last emperor of Brazil, the Crown Prince of Siam, and Prince Napoleon. The Fifth Avenue Hotel was also demolished, replaced by the International Toy Center Building, which is now home to Eataly.