Picture of William Muschenheim, original proprietor or the Hotel Astor WILLIAM MUSCHENHEIM

Man with a vision and original proprietor of the Hotel Astor, William C. Muschenheim (1855-1918) emigrated from Germany at the age of 17 after having apprenticed at a hotel for several years. He began life in America as an assistant cook in a lower Broadway restaurant but worked his way up to managing the Officer's Mess Hall at West Point and eventually opening his own restaurant before approaching the Astor estate about funding what would become the Hotel Astor. In December of 1903 Muschenheim's home was completely destroyed by fire. This experience may have lead to the much touted fire safety features of the Hotel.