1895 - Main and Exchange - 2012.

Byline: Bronislaus B. Kush


WORCESTER - This modern day photograph of the Bay State House Hotel building, top left, is radically different from the nostalgic one from 1895, bottom left, which ran yesterday.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bay State, which is at Main and Exchange streets, was a swanky hotel where the rich and famous would stay while visiting the area.

It was so well known that stage coach lines made the hotel a terminus for some eastern routes.

The Bay State's roots go back to 1720 with the family of Daniel Heywood, one of Worcester's first settlers, operating a tavern at the site.

The hotel opened up as the "Bay State" in 1856 and hosted notables such as President Ulysses Grant, Charles Dickens and Andrew Carnegie.

For many years, theatrical celebrities who performed at the nearby Worcester Theater resided in the hotel.

Oarsmen from the famed Yale and Harvard University rowing teams also stayed there.

On Dec. 14, 1931, a fire ravaged the hotel's upper floors.

The damage was so bad that the two top floors were removed.

The building later re-opened as the Mayfair Hotel, serving guests until 1950.

For a time, city officials considered razing the structure in order to build a new public library.

Very often, rumors and ghost stories become associated with very old buildings, and the Bay State was no exception.

The building boasted long open tunnels and dungeon-like rooms in the basement. Some of the tunnels connected to nearby...

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