|Conrad Smith Hilton, Sr.|
|Birth Place:||Socorro County, New Mexico Territory, USA|
|Death Place:||Santa Monica, California, USA|
|Spouse:||Mary Adelaide Barron (1925 - 1934), |
Zsa Zsa Gabor (1942 - 1946)
Mary Frances Kelly (1976 - 1979)
|Known For:||Sheridan Hotel|
|Children:||Conrad Nicholson "Nicky" Hilton, Jr. (deceased) |
William Barron Hilton
Eric Michael Hilton
Conrad's seven siblings were:
Conrad Hilton was educated at the New Mexico Military Institute, at St. Michael's College (now the College of Santa Fe), and at the New Mexico School of Mines (now New Mexico Tech). In his early twenties, he was a Republican representative in the first legislature of the newly formed State of New Mexico. In college, Conrad Hilton was a member of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon.
Shortly after the United States entered World War I in 1917, Conrad Hilton enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to Officers' Training Command, Presidio of San Francisco. Second Lieutenant Hilton arrived in France, February 14, 1918. His unit, the 304th Labor Battalion, saw limited combat. Conrad Hilton was discharged at Camp Dix (now Fort Dix), New Jersey on February 11, 1919. While Conrad was in the army, his father Gus had been killed in a car accident.
In concert with his father, Conrad Hilton had helped build up an inn as well as a general Store in Socorro County, New Mexico, but he then moved to Texas. He entered the hotel business by buying the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas, in 1919. He went on to buy hotels throughout Texas. The first high rise hotel he built was the Dallas Hilton (now the Hotel Indigo), which opened in 1925. This was followed by the Abilene Hilton in 1927, Waco Hilton in 1928, and El Paso Hilton in 1930. His first hotel outside of Texas was the La Posada de Albuquerque, which he built in 1939 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He formed the Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1946 followed by Hilton International Company in 1948. The company expanded into credit cards (Carte Blanche), car rentals, and other travel services.
During the post-war period, the 1950s and 1960s, Hilton Hotels' worldwide expansion facilitated both American tourism and overseas business by United States corporations. At the same time it promulgated a certain worldwide standard for hotel accommodations. It was the world's first international hotel chain.
Hilton had three wives and four children:
Conrad Hilton died on January 3, 1979, in Santa Monica, California at age 91 from natural causes. He is interred at Calvary Hill Cemetery, in Dallas, Texas. Calvary Hill is a Catholic cemetery.http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/1926/dalcem.html
He left US$50,000 each to two of his surviving siblings and US$100,000 to each of his nieces and nephews and his daughter Francesca. The bulk of his estate was left to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which he established in 1944. However, Conrad's son, Barron, contested the will and won in 1988, which resulted in a negotiated settlement with the Foundation. Under the settlement the parties agreed to divide the disputed shares of stock into three parts: Barron Hilton would receive 4 million shares, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation would receive 3.5 million shares, and the remaining 6 million shares would be placed in the W. Barron Hilton Charitable Remainder Unitrust. Upon Barron Hilton's death, or in the year 2009, whichever occurs later, Unitrust assets would be transferred to the Hilton Foundation.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's mission is the alleviation of human suffering worldwide. The Foundation created the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1996.
He is the great-grandfather of socialites Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton. There are currently two members of the Hilton family named Conrad. One is Paris' younger brother, Conrad Hughes Hilton. The other is Conrad Nicholson Hilton III, son of Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Jr. Interestingly, none of Conrad Hilton's descendants were designated as heirs to his estate.