Forgotten, famous Astors
Once it was one of the most influential dynasties in the whole world. And now no one will remember them. Only historical works tell us about the distant time, the aristocracy and the power of the Astor family. This is another example that money is eternal, and the people who own it are not eternal.
Hotels whose name includes the word Astoria (the combination Waldorf-Astoria is accepted abroad) can be found all over the world: from New York to Shanghai, as well as in cities such as Ufa, Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk, etc. on the vast expanses of the former Soviet Union.
The name of the hotel chain was given by the American dynasty Astor, which was famous in the 19th century. Now her fame has faded. There are no more famous (and very rich) contemporaries among the Astors. However, earlier the representatives of the family wrote more than one bright page in the American history of the nineteenth and first half of the last century.
Astoria.There is a hotel, restaurant, real estate agency, shop or hairdresser with such a name in almost every city and town in the vast expanses of the former USSR.It would be naive to think that someone from the Astor family has even the most indirect relation to an object using their name, somewhere in Melitopol, Uralsk or Ufa. Of course not. The word "Astoria" has long become a brand, emphasizing style, wealth, belonging to a particular circle. Or the wish is given for real. Sometimes it looks ridiculous: “I went to Astoria. For bread". Well what can you do. As Napoleon said, retreating from Moscow: “From the sublime to the ridiculous is only one step”.
Hotel "Astoria", St. PetersburgThe most famous institution "Astoria" in Russia is located in St. Petersburg. Five-star hotel on St. Isaac's Square. Year of discovery 1912. Architect F.I. Lidval. But even this hotel from Astor - only the name. From 1916, the Petrograd Military Hotel was located at this address, from 1918 the First House of the Petrograd Soviet, from 1924 the First House of the Leningrad City Council. But it is known to all St. Petersburg people both then and now, the six-story building was under a different name.
Lady Nancy Astor
The main hotel, which gave the name to the whole network, was built by the Astors in New York in the 1890s. Initially (1893) William Waldorf erected an eleven-story building on the site of his father’s house, then his cousin John Jacob (IV) built it in 1897.sixteen-story building on the site of the mansion of his mother. The relations between the cousins were strained, however, both buildings were connected by a gallery and gave the complex the name Waldorf-Astoria. In those years, he was the largest in New York. So, on Fifth Avenue, between 33 and 34 Street, the story of the legend of the hotel business of the twentieth century began.
It is symbolic that the Waldorf-Astoria accepted the rescued passengers of the Titanic in April 1912. But not all. Only first class.
In 1929, the hotel was demolished in order to clear the site for the construction of the Empire State Building. Two years later, 49 floors of the new Waldorf-Astoria were rebuilt between 49 and 50 streets.
Thanks to the Waldorf-Astoria, the civilized world got acquainted with such familiar services as regular room cleaning, electricity in every room. Women were able to pass through the main entrance unaccompanied by men. Restaurant menus are replenished with Waldorf apple salad.
Since 2014, the hotel is owned by the Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group. According to the sale agreement, the operational management of the complex will be carried out by the former owner of Hilton Worldwide for another 100 years. And how many years will the Waldorf-Astoria sign hang over the entrance?
And now we will get acquainted with the most famous Astor.
John Jacob Astor IV
John Jacob Astor I (1763-1848)
Founder of the Astor dynasty. He was born and raised not in the USA at all, but in the small German town of Walldorf (German Walldorf), 15 km from Heidelberg. In English, pronounced as Waldorf.
The butcher Jacob (Jacob or Jacob) was the father of a boy named Johann (this later, in the States he will become John). And the surname was first pronounced as Ashdor. At 17, Johann (John) leaves his father's house and begins (without knowing it) to realize the Great American Dream. "From the boot cleaner to millionaires." Footwear John, however, did not polish, but started from the same social level.
Initially, he works with his older brother in London, in the store selling musical instruments. But quickly having realized exactly in which part of the globe he will have unlimited opportunities, young Johann, in three years, buys a ticket to the third class for a ship to America. With a "conqueror" of the New World $ 25 and a gift from his brother - seven flutes.
On the way, Astor meets a fur trader. Successful acquaintance, which determined his future.
Starting with the simplest operations for buying and selling furs with local Indians,John came in 1808 to the establishment of the largest, at that time, US commercial enterprise - the American Fur Company (abbreviated AMK). After 22 years, by 1830, AMK had a monopoly on the production and trade of fur in key areas of the United States.
In 1811, J.D. Astor is based on the west coast, at the mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon, city of Astoria. The outpost of the fur empire of Astor and the outpost of the entire United States in the region. John Jacob’s business grows nationally.
AMK existed until the 1850s. State J.D. By the time he left for the better world (1848), Astor I was estimated to be 20-25 million dollars fantastic for the middle of the XIX century. This was about one percent of what was then US GDP. In terms of the modern dollar, experts estimate Astor's capital at $ 100-110 billion. So much before Astor in the States did not earn and did not save up.
According to Forbes, J.D. Astor I closes the top three American rich people of all time. Above, only J.D. Rockefeller and C. Vanderbilt.
John Jacob Astor IV (1864-1912)
Great-grandson Dzh.D. Astor I. Known for his unconventional fate, and especially - the demise. John Jacob Astor IV (DDA IV) showed himself not only as a successful entrepreneur who headed the family business in 1891.DDA IV - Harvard graduate, traveler, inventor with dozens of testimonies (including a patent for a flying car), science fiction writer, participant of the American-Spanish war of 1898. He built In New York, in 1897, the world's first and most famous Astoria ".
John jacob astor i
But the legendary name of John Jacob IV made his fateful choice on April 10, 1912. The French port of Cherbourg. Local time - 20 hours. John puts his foot on the ladder of the ship, with Titanic written on it. The second spouse of Astor the fourth Madeleine in the position. She wants to interrupt a long honeymoon and give birth only in America. And so, John Jacob and his wife and servants climb onto the deck of the most high-speed and “safest” transatlantic liner in the world.
14th of April. At 11.40 pm Titanic hits an iceberg 600 km from Newfoundland. In less than three hours, at 2.20 the “most reliable” ship completely submerged under the icy black water of the northern Atlantic, taking with it 1,495 people, including John Jacob IV.
According to eyewitnesses, the great-grandson of the first American multimillionaire behaved very worthily. Having set his wife in the boat with the maid and nurse, he asked the officer for permission to join them.Second mate Charles Lightoller refused. Astor did not insist. Lightoller escaped, Astor died.
Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964)
Closes the top three popular Astor Lady Nancy Astor. She was neither the granddaughter nor the great-granddaughter of the “old” Astor. She came to the family like a daughter in law. But she glorified her more than many "indigenous" representatives.
Nancy is married to one of the Astors, bearing the name William Waldorf common in the dynasty. It so happened that his father received the title of Viscount at the English royal court. Of course, William Waldorf inherits a noble title and his wife Nancy, daughter of an American millionaire, nee Langhorne, automatically becomes Lady Nancy Astor. This was her second marriage.
The titled couple settles at the estate in Cliveden and unfolds luxurious high life. At the receptions at Astora, one could meet N. Chamberlain, U. Churchill, C. Chaplin, B. Shaw, Joseph Kennedy Sr. (1938-40 US Ambassador to the United Kingdom), Fr. D. Roosevelt. And even - Joachim von Ribbentrop. According to historians, in Cliveden, by the hands of the Cliveden Clique, the external pre-war policy of Great Britain was made.
Nancy Astor - the first woman, a member of the House of Commons of the British Parliament. She will work there for 25 years, starting in 1919. She is a philanthropist, an active fighter for a sober way of life (the first husband loved to kiss the bottle), a tough opponent of totalitarianism in the person of Stalin and Hitler. Although the latter and sympathized until 1939, as a defender of Europe from Bolshevism. As for the “Leader of the Nations,” she is perhaps the only Western (and not only) politician who was able to say to his face at a meeting in the Kremlin: “When will you stop killing your subjects?” And stay alive. By the way, during a visit to the Union, N. Astor with the delegation lived in the rooms of the Leningrad Astoria.
The original waldorf-astoria
Not less than social activities, Lady Nancy became famous for her aphorisms. Central to them is picking with Winston Churchill. Here are two short conversations.
Lady Astor: "If I were your wife, Winston, you would have spilled poison in your coffee."
W. Churchill: "And if I were your husband, you would have drunk him."
W. Churchill: “We, the“ members of parliament, ”were hoping to get rid of you soon. When you entered the House of Commons, it was as if a woman came into my bathroom. ”
Lady Astor: "You are not so good in yourself that it threatens you!"
What attracted Nancy in the descendant of the Astor at the beginning of the twentieth century? What Astorov of the beginning of the XXI century already does not have ... "The only thing that I like about rich people is their money."
The last of the men in the American branch of Astor was Vincent, the grandson of Caroline. His father is John Jacob Astor IV. But not many people know that he was also a science fiction writer. His science fiction novel Journey to Other Worlds, published in 1894, tells of the 2000 Earth. A fantastic and beautiful world appears to the reader: the seas ply mechanical “water striders” on an air cushion, “maholeths” float on the “hydraulic rigging” in the sky, and the characters drive around in an electric phaeton ... business, but also creativity.
The heir to 69 million was a college student Vincent Astor. For several years he lived in a marble mansion on 5th Avenue and, continuing the tradition of Astor, gave annual balls. But in 1925, this life bored him and he sold the family mansion for 3.5 million and settled in an ordinary house. Vincent died in 1959, leaving no heirs.Shortly before his death, he transferred almost all of his fortune to a charitable foundation, violating the iron rule of the dynasty "not to take money from the family."
But this is not the story Asoror ended. In England, Vincent was left with her sister Ava Alice Muriel Astor, who was born after the death of John Jacob Astor IV.
As an adult, she met a young émigré from Russia, Prince Sergei Obolenskog, in London and married him. They had a son, Prince Ivan Obolensky, who later moved to New York and lived here all his life. He has a large family, he is engaged in financial and publishing activities, participates in many charitable organizations. He heads the US Soldiers 'Club (Soldiers', Sailors ', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club) in New York, is a member of the Russian nobility assembly America Belongs to the Russian-American nobility, but does not speak Russian.