Paran Stevens (1802-1872)
Paran Stevens, Hotelier, of Boston & New York
He was the grandson of a Colonel in the Revolutionary War who resided at Claremont, New Hampshire. In Boston, Paran opened a coffee shop and after just over a decade he was able to purchase an interest in the Revere House Hotel. He eventually became the sole owner and then bought the Tremont House at Claremont. Through the careful ownership and management of those two fashionable establishments, Paran Stevens made a fortune of about $5.5 million. In 1859, Stevens leased the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York and two years later built the Continental Hotel in Philadelphia which under his careful eye became one of the country's premier hotels. He gained a considerable reputation as connoisseur of wines and liquors, said to have the finest nose in the country. The "Stevens Sherry" was made for him and it was said that his cellars were "never equalled in America". At Claremont, his name is still remembered through the Stevens High School that was founded through his generosity. His brother, Josiah Stevens Jr. (1784-1864) was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. His second wife was the redoubtable Mrs Paran Stevens who held court in Manhattan at the Mary Mason Jones Mansion.