Monday, August 08, 2005

Teapot Mystery Solved

After finding out the manufacture date of 1927 and what kind of silver (hotel silver) the teapot was (see my last post,pics), I wanted to find out which hotel it was from.

How I solved the mystery.

1.) I started researching the coat of arms that is on the side. Deciding a good place to start was to Google for vintage postcards and articles of old hotels in Minnesota because that is where my grandmother lived her whole life and didn't travel that I knew of.

2.) After getting a large list of possibilities from the Google searches, I narrowed it down to the ones I thought she may have stayed at or known about. Also ones that were higher-class hotels that would have had silver tea services.

3.) Since it is a matching coat of arms that I'm looking for I found some websites that you can type in a name and it shows you the coat of arms for that name. These are for people's surnames. So all the hotels that had names that sounded like surnames I typed in and I found a very similar coat of arms when I put in "Lowry" (for the Hotel Lowry in St. Paul, MN), one of the hotels on my list. Then I started researching the Lowry name and found an Irish version of the coat of arms for "Lowry" that is an almost perfect match for the one on my teapot. I found it in a person's genealogy family website. Here is a picture of my teapot's coat of arms and the Lowry family's coat of arms. Mine also has the family motto, Virtus Semper Viridis which I found out means, Virtue is always flourishing. Mine doesn't have, Floreant Lauri that means, May the laurels flourish.


4.) On the bottom of my teapot was a name that had been removed by engraving lines over it. Before I started researching I thought I could make out part of a name with "way" at the end if you held it just right in the light. Now I think it is "wry" for Hotel Lowry.

5.) The number 27 in a box on the bottom of my teapot refers to 1927. Reading articles about the Hotel Lowry I found out it was built in 1927.

6.) I believe my grandmother bought it during an auction or sale because hotels would often remove their names from the silver before selling it off when replacing their silver settings with new ones.

Now the teapot has a personality. Just think, the likes of
Bing Crosby
Glenn Miller and Clyde McCoy
Charles Lindbergh
President Harry S. Truman
kidnapper Alvin "Creepy" Karris
Ed Sullivan
could have poured tea out of my teapot (OK, that's a stretch but it could be true.)

I'm thinking about buying a vintage postcard of the Hotel Lowry and keep it with the teapot. It was fun investigating and finding out the what,when, and wheres of it.

Some interesting facts I found out about this hotel. Credits of the excerpt: BY KARL J. KARLSON
Pioneer Press
_________________partial story._________
The hotel is named for businessman Horace Lowry, who owned it when it was built in
1927, according to Pioneer Press files.
It opened to extensive news media attention that made note of its marble stairway,
grand lobby and mezzanine. There was a private elevator to the 11th-floor rooms.
Six years later, the ballroom — still cited for its art-deco interior and exterior — was
Chefs at the hotel's Driftwood Restaurant made
rib-eye steaks a specialty, and big bands like
those of Glenn Miller and Clyde McCoy played at
the hotel's Terrace Restaurant and nightclub.
Over the years, the 350-room hotel had its
share of famous and infamous guests, whose
visits were often noted by the news media. The
visitors included aviator Charles Lindbergh,
singer and actor Bing Crosby, television host Ed
Sullivan, President Harry S. Truman and 1930s
kidnapper Alvin "Creepy" Karris.
In 1946, the hotel celebrated its 2 millionth
guest, a Canadian on his honeymoon. The
couple got a free stay.

According to the rest of the article the hotel had fallen into disrepair and had been shuttered up. A developer is now going the bring it back to its former elegance with a $34 million makeover.

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