Dirty and neglected, the tile work at 15 E. 28th St. marked a back entrance to the Hotel Seville which operated at this location from 1904 until 1987. In 1901 plans were filed with the New York City Department of Buildings for a 12-story brick and stone hotel at numbers 90 to 94 Madison Ave. The owner was Maitland E. Graves, and the architect was Harry A. Jacobs. The hotel was completed in 1904 and occupied the southwest corner of Madison Ave. and 29th St. The main entrance was at 18-22 E. 29th St., and a back section run through the block to 15-17 E. 28th St.
The current hotel at this location is called the Carlton Hotel whose current (2012) website outlines the Hotel Seville's history as follows, "Seeing promise in the 29th Street and Madison Avenue location, esteemed hotel investor Maitland E. Graves purchased the corner site in 1901 and began construction in what would become a three year project. In fact, the original Tiffany store was located in the same vicinity on 25th Street and Park Avenue. Graves commissioned the prominent Beaux Arts architect, Harry Allen [sic] Jacobs, whose boisterous design character is evident in the façade’s ornate detail. One of Jacobs’ earliest commissions, he included a rusticated limestone base; red brick and white terra-cotta trim; and three-dimensional sculptural ornaments, such as rounded copper bays, cartouches and large third-story panels with foliage and lion heads. Additionally, with the main entrance on 29th Street, Jacobs and Graves were able to build impressive, public rooms on the east side, overlooking the prestigious Madison Avenue. In 1985, the hotel was taken over by new owners who completely refurbished the guest rooms bringing in a breath of fresh air into this New York City landmark. In 1987, the hotel underwent major upgrading that included restoration of the façade, and was renamed The Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue."
This ad for the Hotel Seville appeared in the magazine, Puck, 2 June 1904, shortly after the hotel opened.
An ad for the Hotel Seville in 1907 read, "New York. Hotel Seville. A new, fireproof high-class hotel with all modern conveniences at moderate prices. Madison Ave. and 29th St., just off Fifth Ave. Most convenient location, yet free from the noise of all traction lines. A place liked by people of culture and position. 400 rooms; 300 outside baths. Rates from $2 to $5 per day. Edw. Purchas, Mgr."
In 1908 an ad with a bird's eye view of the hotel and its neighborhood appeared in Scribner's Magazine.
This postcard view of the Seville Hotel is postmarked 10 Jan. 1909.
This ad for the Hotel Seville dates from 1911 when the hotel paid particular attention to ladies travelling alone.
Another ad from 1911 is this one from The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness.
This ad from 1915 appeared in Polk's New York City Directory and featured a dainty restaurant.
This ad appeared in the Automobile Blue Book, 1917.
On all of the advertisements above, the manager of the Hotel Seville was Albert Edward Purchas (1864/65-1917). Purchas was an immigrant from England and appeared in both the 1910 U. S. Census and the 1915 New York State Census living at the Hotel Seville. His naturalization petition (3 March 1892) stated that he was born 9 May 1865 and that he arrived in New York 7 Dec. 1881. In 1900 Purchas was recorded in the U. S. Census in Wilkes Barre, Penn., the manager of a hotel in that city. In the 1910 census there were 96 guests and employees at the Hotel Seville, including Purchas who was 45 years old. Purchas's son, Albert E. Purchas, Jr., died in 1918, a war hero at Soissons, France. Memorial services were held for him 10 Oct. 1918 in "The Little Church Around the Corner," the Church of the Transfiguration, across the street from the hotel, at 1 E. 29th St. A Find A Grave citation for Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N. Y., says that Purchas was born 9 May 1864 and died 13 Dec. 1917.
This ad from the 1918 New York City Directory featured John F. Garrety as the new manager.
Another prominent figure associated with the Hotel Seville was Louis Christian Raegener (1856-1928). He was described as follows in Universities and Their Sons, vol. V, Boston, 1900, "Louis Christian Raegener, Lawyer, was born in New York City, April 29, 1856, the son of Rev. Herman and Dorothea (von Ramdohr) Raegener. Both parents were natives of Germany. Mr. Raegener was educated in the public schools of New York, and under the instruction of private tutors was prepared for College. At Columbia he graduated with honor in the Class of 1876, spent two years in the Law School from which he graduated in 1878 and received the Master of Arts degress in course in 1879. His professional work was at first in partnership with Judge P. Henry Dugro, under the firm name of Dugro & Raegener, and since 1882 he has conducted his practice as a member of the law firm of Geopel & Raegener, whose chief business is in matters involving patent, copyright and trade-mark litigations. He is a Directory of the Union Square Bank in New York City. For services rendered to the Republic of Venezuela in 1894 he received as a decoration the Busto del Libertador. In politics he is a believer in the principles of the Democratic party. Mr. Raegener was married, in January 1882, to Meta Rettig; their children are: Dorothy, Marion and Louis C. Raegener." Louis C. Raegener was listed as Treasuer of the Hotel Seville in Trow's Copartnership Directory in 1906, and as living at the Hotel Seville in the New York telephone directory of the same year. A story in the New York Times, 1 June 1913, cited Raegener as "owner" of the Hotel Seville. Polk's 1915 New York City Directory identified Raegener as President of Hotel Seville Inc. Other biographical sources on the internet for Raegener are the Biographical Directory of the State of New York, 1900, and History of the Bench and Bar of New York, 1897-99.
The Hotel Seville was listed in Rider's New York City: A Guide-Book for Travelers, compiled and edited by Fremont Rider, 1916, as, "Seville, Madison ave. and 20th [sic] st. (400 R. [rooms] 300 B. [baths]) Pleasant hotel with average rates." The rates were $1.50 single room, $2.50 single room with bath, $2.50 double room, and $3 double with bath.
The architect of the Hotel Seville was Harry Allan Jacobs (1872-1932). The New York Landmarks Presevation Commission report LP-1660 dated 2 Oct. 1990, regarding the Hotel Marseilles, 2689-2693 Broadway (available on the internet at neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org), includes the following, "Harry Allan Jacobs (1872-1932) was born and educated in New York City, and began his architectural training at the Columbia School of Mines. After graduating in 1894 he continued his studies in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was awarded the Prix de Rome by the American Academy in Rome. Following his return to this country, he joined the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects and began his own architectural practice in New York. A notable example of his early work is the Seville Hotel (1901-04) at Madison Avenue and East 29th Street, an exuberant Beaux-Art structure of brick and limestone similar to the Hotel Marseilles and begun a year earlier."
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