Boston Hotel Buckminster
Our Interesting Past
Built in 1897, the historic Boston Hotel Buckminster was one of the first hotels in the city. The property was designed by renowned architect Stanford White, who also designed the Boston Public Library and many of the elegant Back Bay townhouses on Beacon Street. The Buckminster was the largest building in the Kenmore Square area at the time it was built and was considered the jewel of the square in the early 1900s.
One of the most infamous crimes in American history was plotted at the Buckminster in 1919. On a September day, bookie and gambler Joseph "Sport" Sullivan made his way to the Buckminster after the Chicago White Sox had defeated the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park 3-2 earlier that day. He had scheduled a meeting with Chicago White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil. It was in one of the hotel's guestrooms that the bookie and the ballplayer hatched the fixing of the 1919 World Series, now referred to as The Black Sox Scandal. The crime led to the institution of the Commissioner system in Major League Baseball, as well as the lifetime banishment of eight ballplayers, including Shoeless Joe Jackson. It also led to the writing of "Eight Men Out," the 1963 book about the fixing scandal that was made into a movie with the same title in 1988.
Boston Hotel Buckminster has another claim to fame as the site of the first network radio broadcast. WNAC Radio moved into new studios in the Buckminster in July of 1929. Later that year, WNAC arranged the first network broadcast in the history of radio with station WEAF in New York City, using a 100-foot antenna connected to the building's roof with a clothesline.
In the 1940s, a portion of the building was turned over to a detachment of military police for the purpose of holding Italian prisoners of war during World War II. In 1950 Boston native George Wein opened Storyville at the hotel. This brought a steady stream of great performers to the hotel, including Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughan, Erroll Garner and many renowned jazz musicians. Today, Pizzeria Uno’s occupies the space that housed Storyville.
Since the 1950s, the hotel has undergone many changes, including new ownership in the 1960s that led to the hotel briefly renamed the Hotel St. George. In 1968 the building was sold to Graham Junior College and renamed Leavitt Hall. A couple of short years after, the building was sold again and restored as the Boston Hotel Buckminster and has operated as such ever since.
Today the Boston Hotel Buckminster stands as the "Heart of Kenmore Square," with 132 guestrooms and a reputation as Boston's only true budget hotel. The Buckminster's location is second to none in the city of Boston, as it is the closest hotel to both Fenway Park and Boston University. The hotel serves visitors to the Back Bay and downtown areas year-round and provides easy access to the Kenmore Station subway stop. It’s also a short walk to the vast majority of Boston's attractions, including Newbury Street, Freedom Trail, the Isabella Gardener Museum, Charles River Park, Boston Common, the Boston House of Blues and hundreds of shops, restaurants and outdoor cafes.