(Bloomberg)—You’d think the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers of the world would have been happy to entertain in their lavish mansions. But in the second half of the 19th century, as trains and cars replaced horses and buggies, American society extended the radius of how far it was willing to go for a good party.
Enter the grand hotels of the Gilded Age. They had dark bars for trysts and business deals; accommodations with chandeliers and silk linens; and restaurants that served delicacies on fine china and crystal. “Had,” of course, is the operative word: Few of these venues remain. Many were destroyed in fires or torn down after losing their luster.