The legendary Hotel Ticonderoga emerged in the post-WWII 1940s and early 1950s, when she was regarded as a premier lodging for revolutionaries, artists and writers seeking refuge in the city. Prior to that storied era when the famous (and infamous) called her home as she served as a cradle to the innumerable creative--and frequently incendiary--works conceived within her rooms, the Ticonderoga's legacy was already renowned.
After the brazenly conspicuous Troubador speakeasy--better-known to her regulars as "The 4-V" (a play on the anagram for "In vino veritas")--burned down under mysterious circumstances in late 1925, the 4-V's owners opened "The Troubador Hotel" (affectionately known as "The New True") as a 4-star hotel one block and a half from her namesake's location in mid-October 1929 mere days before the stock market collapse. Due to considerable secret foreign investments (via the American Communist Party) she stayed afloat through the Depression, opening her own bistro behind the lobby at the end of WWII (which took over the Troubador name and thus the hotel was re-christened "The Hotel Ticonderoga", in homage to the small town which the French-Canadian DuMondes--the Troubador's original owners--called home.) Through the 1950s, the Ticonderoga's reputation as a bohemian 'romper room' for artists and writers remained unsullied. But gracing her guestbook's yellowed pages are the signatures of well-known pseudonyms for several (potentially-disgraced) FBI agency chiefs, whose scrutiny during the McCarthy-era Communist witch hunts, the Ticonderoga's most radical personnel and guests rarely, if ever, encountered. Coincidence? The Hotel Ticonderoga is notorious for its conundrums.
Perhaps the most singularly well-known, albeit infinitely horrific, event in the Ticonderoga's history concerns the tragic fate of the Muse Family, wherein the talented young singer, Bolivia Muse, and her husband, the trumpeter/composer Gabriel, died with their twins, Oliver and Juniper, in Room 214 (aka "The Suite Valentine"), victims of a still-shocking multiple murder-suicide. Though several key facts have never been established, the story that has been passed down (courtesy of the Baroness DuMonde, long-time resident and widow to both of the original hotel proprietors) places the blame squarely upon the shoulders of the mischievous young Muse son, Oliver, who was apparently in love with his twin sister and waiting for an opportunity to justify murdering his parents in order to be left alone with her. We know from his correspondence with Juniper and from Bolivia's journal that the tormented boy witnessed the rape of his mother by his father's best friend; Bolivia's shame and failure to disclose the sexual attack to her husband was subsequently interpreted by the boy as evidence of her infidelity. On the afternoon of February 12, 1937, after composing Bolivia's epitaph (along with several sexually-explicit poems to his sister, who apparently did nothing to dissuade his obsessions and most likely encouraged them) Oliver gassed his mother, and--inadvertently--Juniper, and himself in their large suite. Later that evening, Gabriel returned home to the terrible discovery of his dead family and hanged himself above their bodies. Of course, Muse "sightings" in the Ticonderoga have never been uncommon. Sometimes the family appears together, pleasantly engaged in one another's company; separately, they bear ghastly tidings. Oliver's maleficence is always ominous, though rarely fatal to hotel guests; Juniper is usually accompanied by a tangible melancholy, but she has been known to bound playfully across passageways from one room into the next, calling out to her brother; Bolivia has been heard singing in empty corridors or rooms from opposite ends of the hotel; Gabriel's lifeless silhouette often appears at night, hanging from ceiling beams in darkened guest rooms above the beds of the most happily married couples.
The Muses tale is merely one among countless others woven into the fascinating human tapestry of the Hotel Ticonderoga's inimitable legacy.