The Pfister Hotel has always been a place of opulence and luxury. During its 125 year history, it has been host to countless important events and dignitaries, including visits from Prussian royalty and American presidents. Now, Anna Lardinois has the chance to share and become a part of the hotel's history. As the recently appointed 11th Narrator-in-Residence at the Pfister, Lardinois plans to continue diving deeply into the hotel's past and encourage public participation and enjoyment of the hotel's history.
Among Lardinois' favorite finds from the hotel's past are dinner menus from the many important events in the Pfister's history, which she says reveal how culinary tastes have changed and the development of what is deemed "fancy" in a given era. Pouring over the menus, Lardinois learned that "turtle soup was considered incredibly elaborate and delicious and elegant." Aside from the food, one of Lardinois' favorite parts of the hotel is its lobby, where she can be found at her desk, reveling in the majesty of her surroundings. "It's almost like stepping into another, more elegant world," she gushes.
Lardinois intends to examine the contrast between the hotel's beginnings and its present as it celebrates its 125th year. The hotel's official history, though, is somewhat limited because, according to Lardinois, no hotel archive existed until the Marcus Corporation took over the hotel. Yet there remain many fascinating artifacts from the hotel's past, including guest logs, keys, paintings, and inventories. The latter reveal $7,000 wine glasses, $500 curtains and "the finest linens in the entire world," says Lardinois. "Can you even imagine being offered wine in a $7,000 glass?"
Although neither Lardinois nor the Pfister's current guests sip from such gaudy goblets today, Lardinois can still feel the extravagant history of the hotel as she sits in her new post. "When I'm in the lobby and I hear that tinkling piano and I am sitting in that comfortable club chair, I can feel that still and I love it."