Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Peery Revival

Posted By on September 14, 2016, 4:00 AM

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Tens of thousands of visitors have been through downtown Salt Lake City in the past six weeks for conventions. The majority had to find a place to stay, and our hoteliers were smiling all the way to the bank with their full capacity. One little hotel, though, was missing in the rental pool—the historic, sweet and lovely Peery on West Temple and 300 South. The grand old lady had been closed for renovations, but has now reopened as a new member of the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels International. Both the Peery and the Ben Lomond Suites in Ogden were purchased by the chain.

The Peery was the brainchild of David and Joseph Peery who wanted a grand hotel for the booming new business community downtown. The patriarch of the Peery family came from Virginia and was a Confederate soldier who converted to Mormonism. He was successful in the dry goods business, but the Union Army burned down his store, so he moved to Millcreek, Utah, and then to Ogden, where he became a successful businessman again. His son David trained under him, and moved to SLC, where he opened a mining brokerage office.

Seeing a need and wanting to expand their business dealings in the capital city, the family recruited prominent architect Charles Onderdonk to design a new building that could accommodate business people and their families. The Peery Hotel opened in 1910 as a "three-story showcase of prairie-style architecture combined with motifs of classical revival influence," according to its website. This building went up during a period of hotel expansion because the state's mines were rich, mine-related businesses were busy and the two main railroad depots downtown were a year from being finished.

In 1947, a Western hotelman named Henry Miles bought the building and changed its name to Miles Hotel. He later leased it out, and it slowly became a flea-bag of a place, avoided by all but the downtrodden in the 1980s. It was again purchased and remodeled in 1999 as a luxury boutique hotel catering to the 20th century business traveler, and is now renovated once again, with its doors open to welcome guests. It's nice to see activity again at the old Peery. Be sure to visit this beautiful slice of history and architecture.

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