The Randall House: Part 2
Harry Randall, born in 1870 inside a hotel trunk, arrived four years prior to the railroad’s establishment in 1874. Growing up within his family’s expanding hotel, he became immersed in its operations. Unfazed by adversity, Harry took charge after his father’s passing in 1898. Determined, he reconstructed the hotel following a fire, unveiling the second iteration—the “New” Hotel Randall—on July 6, 1903. Embracing the trendy Dutch Colonial architectural style featuring a distinctive mansard roof, the hotel rapidly expanded. By 1916, an additional wing increased the room count to 50, boasting 33 rooms equipped with private baths. A brochure proudly touted the inn’s modern conveniences, encompassing “telephones, electric bells, electric lights, and steam heat.” The hotel’s growth persisted in 1917 with the acquisition of the adjacent Sunset Pavilion, a beloved summer retreat situated between the present-day hotel and the current location of the Eastern Slope Playhouse.
The second iteration of Hotel Randall operated as a year-round retreat, despite North Conway’s primary reputation as a summer destination. However, the town was swiftly gaining recognition as a burgeoning winter resort. Activities such as sledding and tobogganing behind the hotel garnered popularity, along with snowshoeing excursions into the woods behind the inn, offering guests a chance to relish coffee and hot doughnuts around a campfire.
The emergence of winter sports like skating, and sled-dog racing, and the burgeoning interest in skiing also captivated vacationers during the colder months. The Randall, known for its opulent amenities and central location, stood among the most stylish accommodations for visitors. This acclaim led to further expansion in 1921, with the addition of a new wing, increasing the hotel’s capacity to accommodate 150 guests.
During this period of economic prosperity, the region’s hotels flourished. Unfortunately, tragedy struck once more on November 20, 1925, when a devastating fire ravaged the inn, engulfing it in flames in less than three hours—almost precisely 23 years after the first fire had occurred.