Where it All Began
Find a rocking chair on the veranda and add your story to the rich legacy of our landmark hotel, which was built in 1909. The Otesaga spans 700 feet of waterfront on the southern shore of Lake Otsego, the famed "Glimmerglass" of James Fenimore Cooper's novels. The resort was the vision of Edward Severin Clark and Stephen Carlton Clark, two grandsons of Cooperstown's prominent benefactor, Edward Clark. The family's other building projects included the infamous Dakota apartment house on Central Park West in New York City.
The brothers turned to Percy Griffin, a noted New York architect, to design The Otesaga, which was praised for its sumptuous appointments and modern engineering. Among its marvels: 400 windows, a refrigerator that was cooled with 30 tons of ice, telephones in each room, and central heating that could be individually adjusted. Most impressive, noted the local newspaper, was "the carriage drive, where the largest touring cars may pass each other with perfect convenience."
Realizing its wealthy guests would also want to play golf, a relatively new American pastime, the Clark family tapped one of the country's preeminent golf course designers, Devereux Emmet, to design the Leatherstocking Golf Course adjacent to the hotel. Still rated one of the finest golf courses on the East Coast, it is one of The Otesaga's top attractions.
Learn more about the story of one of the most historic hotels in Cooperstown, NY in this Newspaper Article published by The Otsego Farmer on July 16, 1909.
Take a Tour Through The Years
A Legendary Beginning
A Timeless Vision
- 1807The Village of Otsego's name was changed to the Village of Cooperstown to reflect the name of its founder, William Cooper. To this day, Cooperstown is one of only 12 villages in the state of New York.
- 1826James Fenimore Cooper, son of William Cooper, publishes The Last of the Mohicans, one of his many famous novels. Little did the younger Cooper know it would be considered an American literary masterpiece nearly 200 years later.
- 1786William Cooper, an American merchant, establishes the Village of Otsego after purchasing a 10,000-acre plot of land from Colonel George Croghan the year prior.
- 1851Edward Cabot Clark, an American lawyer and businessman, founds the lucrative Singer Sewing Machine Company. He resides in Cooperstown, where his sons, Edward and Stephen Clark, grow up to join the family development business that builds The Otesaga and other notable projects, including The Dakota in Manhattan.
- 1908Construction of a lakeside luxury resort in Cooperstown, envisioned by the Clark brothers, begins. They appoint well-known New York architect Percy Griffin to design the hotel.
- 1909The Otesaga Resort Hotel officially opens on Monday, July 12, 1909. The resort is named for the Iroquois word meaning, "A Place of Meetings." Among its many innovative marvels are massive 30-foot columns, 400 wrap-around windows, a refrigerator filled with 30 tons of ice, central heating, and telephones in each guest room.
- 1909Once the hotel opens and with the growing popularity of golf, the Clark brothers hire golf course designer Devereux Emmet to design Leatherstocking Golf Course on property. It continues to be consistently named one of the best golf courses on the East Coast.
- 1920During the offseason from 1920 to 1954, The Otesaga was home to the Knox School of Girls with over 150 students living at the resort from October through May of each year.
- 1927Located adjacent to the resort is the home of Henry Phinney, son of a newspaper publisher, who sells his stately home to the Clark brothers. A few years later, the Clark brothers convert the home into a four-bedroom inn, The Cooper Inn, a sister property to The Otesaga.
- 1939The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, just an eight-minute walk from The Otesaga, officially opens. It was founded by Stephen Clark, who also founded other prominent attractions in Cooperstown, including the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers' Museum, both of which still operate today.
- 1976For the first and only time in history, the Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was held inside - in the ballroom of The Otesaga - due to inclement weather. More than 500 people and 23 Hall of Famers were crammed into the resort's ballroom.
Joining Historic Hotels of America
- 1994The Otesaga joins the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, which accepts only the finest historic hotels in the country.
- 2002The resort undergoes extensive renovations to continue offering the most luxuriously furnished and comfortable guest rooms.
- 2009The Otesaga celebrates its 100th Anniversary!
- 2013The resort adds its popular Fire Bar, which overlooks Lake Otsego.
The Otesaga Today
2014The resort undergoes thoughtful renovation to its lobby and 132 guestrooms, spearheaded by Manhattan-based Jeff Lincoln Interiors, Inc. and The W Group.
2015The Otesaga adds Hawkeye Spa, offering massage and facial treatments and featuring Naturopathica products.
2017The Hawkeye Bar & Grill undergoes a major renovation expanding its footprint and views of the lake.
2019The Lobby Bar is converted into 1909, a destination steakhouse offering the finest cuts of meats, fresh seafood, and salads.