The Hotel Historian Is at Your Service

For David Pupo, learning about Blantyre, in Lenox, Mass., was about reclaiming his own past. Mr. Pupo grew up about a half mile away from the luxury hotel, which was built in 1902.

As a teenager, Mr. Pupo, who doubles as Blantyre’s director of membership and concierge services, spent his summers swimming in the grand pool behind the main house, back when it was a swim club for locals. Mr. Pupo wanted to know more about the 110-acre estate that played such a prominent role in his youth.

So he read everything that had been written on the place. He now leads daily history tours in the mansion, which was once briefly owned by the filmmaker D.W. Griffith. “We show how the house was used in the Gilded Age period, and compare and contrast it to how it is being used today as a five-star hotel,” he said.

CreditLauren Lancaster for The New York Times

Others are utilizing the property’s history to help inform the present.

When the real estate developer Anthony Champalimaud took over Troutbeck, a country estate-turned-guesthouse in Amenia, N.Y., in 2016, he and his wife, Charlie, spent two years exhaustively researching the history. (Mr. Champalimaud is the former managing director of Champalimaud, a design firm that has overseen renovations and redesigns at many hotels and guest properties, including Singapore Raffles.)

Troutbeck was built in 1765 by Myron Benton, a farmer, poet and writer whose pals included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain and Henry David Thoreau, all of whom visited regularly.

In 1902, the property was purchased by Colonel Joel Spingarn and his wife, Amy. Mr. Spingarn, who founded the publishing house Harcourt Brace & Company, entertained the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Roosevelt (The president favored room 8). Later visitors included Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes.

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