History | August 28, 2020 1:50 pm

How a New Hampshire Hotel Helped Shape the Postwar World

Revisiting the history of the Mount Washington Hotel

Mount Washington Hotel
A scenic hotel with a storied history.
Sven Klippel/Creative Commons

A grand hotel where history was made; a scenic location with impeccable mountain views. No, we’re not talking about some chalet in the Alps or Himalayas. The Mount Washington Hotel, located in New Hampshire, was home to the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, a meeting of Allied nations that helped establish what the world would look like after World War II.

“For its sponsors, Bretton Woods was the first attempt at creating effective international institutions that might prevent conflict after the war,” Richard Hurowitz wrote in 2019. “It was a dress rehearsal for the contemplated United Nations.”

A new report at the BBC explores the history of the building where it all took place, and finds a space with an intriguing history above and beyond the events of 1944.

The article, by Linda Laban, details the Mount Washington Hotel’s beginning — it was opened to the public in 1902 — and its present condition. And it points to one primary reason it was chosen choice to host the conference: isolation. “Even to this day, the hotel is geographically secured by the mountains that surround the valley,” said director of sales and marketing Craig Clemmer.

All in all, 730 delegates gathered at the hotel for several weeks in 1944, though the Bretton Woods Agreement was not ratified until 1946. There was also one notable Allied power that didn’t sign on: the Soviet Union.

The hotel is now part of a larger resort, which also includes ziplining as an activity that guest can take part in. Please take a brief moment to imagine John Maynard Keynes on a zipline; you now have your moment of zen for the day.

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