Hotel Kaaterskill (1881-1924).
Built in 1881 on South Mountain, New York, between the Catskill Mountain House and the Laurel House by George Harding, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer. The massive hotel, billed as the largest mountain hotel in the world, had rooms for 612 guests. It had its own road down the side of Kaaterskill Clove (an engineering marvel in itself), and extensive facilities and grounds for their guests’ pleasure. As large as the original hotel was, an annex was added in 1883, bringing its capacity to almost 1100 guests. Through its years of operation, the Kaaterskill Hotel had famous visitors like Oscar Wilde, Lillian Langtree, John Wanamaker, Ulysses S. Grant, and US President Chester A. Arthur. The wood stucture burned to the ground on September 8, 1924 when a fire started by employees making soap got out of control. The fire spread very quickly, and burned the hotel to the ground along with several nearby buildings. Witnesses stated that within two hours, the hotel was a white hot fire pit. The fire was so massive that it could be seen from Connecticut and Massachusetts.