The American Society of Professional Industrial Chemists has a problem. No, it’s not that they’ll soon be observing their 100th anniversary; they’re rather happy about that. It’s just that they don’t know exactly where they should be celebrating the occasion. You see, the national trade group was founded here in 1907, but no one knows the exact spot for that first meeting. Any members who would know are long gone and the organization’s earliest records were lost in the Great Downtown Fire of 1911. The current membership (about 3,982 strong) has even commissioned a lovely brass plaque to commemorate the first gathering of those early scientific pioneers- the question is where it should be installed.
According to ASPIC President Gretchen Warnow, a committee has, through months of research been able to narrow the search to two possible locations: The first is the Windemire Hotel (now the Hilton Garden Plaza) on Killamont Avenue and the other is the Stratford-Dorsey Hotel, which used to grace S. Fordham Street, near the old Civic Arena. We say “used to,” as the Stratford-Dorsey was demolished soon after an outbreak of typhus in the hotel in 1973 and the attendant bad publicity. Not even its conversion to a Ramada Inn could save it from the wrecking ball. The site is currently occupied by a surface parking lot and a Wendy’s hamburger restaurant.
Warnow tells us that the group would much rather hold the commemoration ceremony and install the plaque at the Hilton.
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– RJ White