J. Reed Whipple and Boston Hotels

J. Reed Whipple and Boston Hotels

By Joanne Lahr-Kreischer

J. Reed Whipple (full name: Joseph Reed Whipple) owned and operated hotels in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century. Born in 1842, he served in the Civil War, representing the state of New Hampshire. Following the war, Joseph worked for a time as a grocer in Roxbury, Massachusetts, then went to Boston's Parker House, where he learned the hotel business by purchasing the meats for the hotel. He eventually became the hotel's manager.(1)

Photo of 1903 postcard submitted by Guillaume Oneill, 14 Jan 2006

He soon purchased the Young's Hotel and the Hotel Touraine, and on April 12, 1906, he formed the J. R. Whipple Company to take over the title to his hotel properties. Joseph died June 15, 1912. On January 20, 1920, the Northeastern Hotel Corporation was formed. It immediately changed its name to the J. R. Whipple Corporation, and acquired the Hotels Young, Touraine and the Parker House. On October 2, 1925, the Trustees of the Parker Estate conveyed the old Parker House to the J.R. Whipple Corporation, which began in November of that year to tear down the old hotel built by Harvey Parker and replaced it with a more beautiful building, which opened May 12, 1937.

Joseph was born Sept 8, 1842, in New Boston, New Hampshire, the son of John and Philantha (Reed) Whipple. Joseph married Lou Higgins on September 2, 1865, in Boston. (Lou was born about 1843, in Corinth, Maine, to Nelson and Mercy Higgins.) Joseph died in Boston, on June 15, 1912, and is buried at the New Boston (N.H.) cemetery.

Joseph and Lou had two children: Eliza Mary Whipple (b. December 13, 1856(2), Boston, Mass.) and John Reed Whipple (b. May 15, 1871, Boston, Mass.; d. January 19, 1899, Boston, Mass. John did not marry or have issue.)

1 The Parker House was part of Harvey D. Parker's estate. During Joseph's management, the Trustees of Mr. Parker's estate built a 10-story brick annex to the Parker House. The title to the building remained in the Parker estate during Joseph's lifetime--it was never owned by Joseph.

2 "Actually, according to her birth record, Lizzie Mary Whipple was born 13 Dec 1856 in Boston, MA." --Joanne Lahr-Kreischer. Did the recorder make a mistake? Or did J. Reed father his first child at the age of 13?