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The Grand Dame of Broad Street

The Bellevue-Stratford opened in 1904 and quickly became one of the most luxurious hotels of its time, rivaling the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The building was an incredible work of French Renaissance architecture. It was 19 stories high, had over a thousand guest rooms, light fixtures designed by Thomas Edison, and what was said to be the most lavish and magnificent ballroom in the United States. It hosted guests from around the world, including royalty, world leaders, and the magnificently wealthy. The hotel came to be known as “The Grand Dame of Broad Street.”

The hotel went through some hard times during the Great Depression and then again in the 1950s and 60s, losing some of its luster from the early days. But it was always considered one of the nicest places to stay in Philadelphia.

That is, until 1976, when the Bellevue-Stratford found itself at the epicenter of a series of mysterious deaths that terrified the country and stumped everyone trying to find answers.

Elana Gordon, from WHYY’s The Pulse, has the story

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