Hotel Statler (1905-1908)- later Hotel Buffalo
279 Washington Street, southeast corner of Swan Street

Entrepreneur E.M.Statler came to Buffalo in 1895 to open a restaurant in the new Ellicott Square Building. He parlayed his success into the 2,084-room Pan-American Hotel of 1901 and the even larger Inside Inn at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. Statler incorporated innovative design and service ideas he introduced in these temporary hotels into his first permanent hotel, the original Hotel Statler in Buffalo, designed by Esenwein & Johnson.

Statler turned to the New York firm of George B. Post & Sons for subsequent buildings in his hotel chain, including the second Hotel Statler in Buffalo, at Niagara Square. The Statler chain was taken over by Hilton in 1954.


Ellsworth M. Statler. Frederick W. Pohle, photographer. c. 1920

In 1905 E.M Statler decided to build, in Buffalo, a hotel unlike any other that had ever been built before. Opened in 1908, this path-breaking 300-room hotel had numerous innovations that became standard throughout the hotel industry. These included circulating ice water in each room, inside-the-door light switches, single-handled lavatory faucets, built-in bathroom elements and, most remarkably of all, a private bath room for each guest room. The original Hotel Statler was reputably the first hotel in the world with this feature.

This was not a luxury hotel, but was intended for the average businessman or tourist. Rooms that faced the street had full baths, at a rate of $2 or $3 per night, while those that faced the interior light courts had showers only, at $1.50 per night.

For this hotel unlike any other, Esenwein & Johnson produced an extraordinary Art Nouveau design quite distinct from anything yet built in America.
The exterior form was clearly derived from Adler & Sullivan's Guaranty Building, but while that building featured unglazed, monochromatic terra cotta, the Hotel Statler's concrete-encased, steel frame was clad in glazed poly-chrome terra cotta of stylized plant forms.

Hotel Statler. From a postcard. 1908.

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