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Conrad Hilton Biography (Conrad Nicholson Hilton): Hilton Hotels Founder
Famous for : Being a wealthy American businessman, philanthropist, and founder of the Hilton Hotel chain of luxury hotels.
Hilton details : Born - December 25, 1887 New Mexico Territory, USA / Died January 3, 1979, United States of America

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Conrad Hilton Bio

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Conrad Hilton created the Hilton Hotel chain of hotels. Beginning with his first hotel in 1919, Hilton grew his enterprise to a nationwide chain of hotels catering to business travelers. By 2000 there was more than 500 Hilton hotels worldwide.

Conrad Hilton was born on December 25, 1887 in San Antonio in the New Mexico Territory as the second child to Mary Genevieve Lufersweiler and Augustus "Gus" Halvorson Hilton. Hilton's mother, Mary, was the daughter of a German immigrant and was born in Iowa. His father Gus was a native Norwegian who came to the US in 1870 and married Mary in 1885.

In his childhood, Hilton attended the Goss Military Institute, the New Mexico Military Institute, and St. Michael's College. When not attending classes, Hilton helped with the family businesses that included a general store, post office, bank, and a small hotel. In a household of eight children, there was plenty to keep young Hilton occupied outside the confines of his schooling.

When Hilton turned 21 he took charge of his father's store but quickly became frustrated with the monotony of the business. In search of a new career, Hilton turned to politics and was elected to the New Mexico state legislature in 1912 when the territory became an official US state. He served two terms before leaving the political world.

After leaving the legislature Conrad Hilton decided to go into banking, a field he'd become familiar with via his father. He raised money to start a bank and, although the bank served him well, Hilton decided to sell it in order to enlist in the army when World War I began. He served in France with the Quartermaster Corps and was discharged in 1919 following the death of his father back home. He returned to San Antonio to take over his father's businesses, only to find them failing. Hilton was 31 at the time and restless. At the advice of a friend, he left New Mexico in search of his fortune in Texas.

The oil boom was in full swing in Texas and Hilton hoped to make money through opening a bank. His attempts at purchasing one in Cisco failed and Hilton took refuge in a nearby hotel. It was at the Mobley Hotel that Hilton saw fortune and potential. He raised enough money in the next few days to buy the hotel and began renovating it almost immediately.

He saw where management was failing and focused on making the hotel more efficient. In a short time Hilton replaced the restaurant and ballroom with additional guest rooms and replaced part of the lobby with a newsstand. In his efforts in increase hotel traffic and customer satisfaction, Conrad Hilton held the staff responsible for each guest's happiness and comfort, empowering them to provide even greater service to the travelers.

Within a year Conrad Hilton had earned back his investment. With his new profits he purchased the Melba Hotel in Ft. Worth, Texas and the Waldorf in Dallas. In 1925 Hilton leased land in Dallas and built his first hotel from the ground up. It cost him $1 million. From then on, Hilton set a goal of building one hotel every year.

Hilton married Mary Barron the same year he built his first hotel. They had three sons together but the Great Depression brought both personal and financial problems. Hilton was forced to sell many of his properties and fell into debt. Trouble hit his marriage, too, and Hilton and Barron divorced in 1934.

Three years after his divorce, Hilton had recovered from his financial losses and purchased his first hotel outside of Texas. The owners of the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco were still trying to recover their own losses and sold the $4 million hotel to Hilton for only $275,000. Hilton continued to purchase hotels on the West Coast and eventually built and purchased hotels in major cities around the country. He moved his headquarters to Las Angeles and moved to Bel Air.

For a short time Hilton married the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, with whom he had one daughter. They separated two years later in 1944 and finalized the divorce in 1946. That same year Hilton created the Hilton Hotels Corporation and one year later it became the first hotel company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1949 Hilton was able to realize one of his long-time goals when he leased the Waldof-Astoria in New York City. At the time it was considered the best hotel in the world. In 1954 he purchased the Statler chain of hotels and converted them to Hilton hotels. By this time he had a total of 28 hotels nationwide.

Hilton's first overseas hotel was created in Madrid in 1948, after which he created the Hilton Hotels International company. He continued to grow both his domestic chain as well as his international line of hotels, eventually owning 185 domestic US hotels and 75 international hotels by 1979 when he finally passed away of pneumonia at the age of 91. He had already passed the company onto his son, Barron, in 1966.

Conrad Hilton left much of his wealth to his philanthropic organization, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

The Hilton chain of hotels continued to grow and by 2000 owned over 500 hotels worldwide.

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Conrad Hilton Quotes Famous Conrad Hilton Quotes

Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.
Conrad Hilton - Philanthropy - God - Inspirational

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit.
Conrad Hilton - Success - Quitting - Mistakes
- Action

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Conrad Hilton Biography - Life

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