The Statler Hotel
12/25/2010 18 Comments
I want to thank everyone for being patient with me – as you might have noticed, I haven’t being posting as much as I would like. The book tour for Lost Cleveland has been outstanding. With less than 111 first run copies left, I suspect this is an unqualified success. But the truth is I need to get back to blogging about the great and cool history of Cleveland. One of the things I find so fascinating that Cleveland is that it had so many world-famous hotels. I mean this town rocked back in the day (still does, but fifty years ago the City was twice the size in terms of population). The Statler Hotel holds a special place in my heart only because I get to see it nearly everyday as it is close to where I work and play in Downtown Cleveland. . But it also holds a very neat history.
The Statler Hotel opened in Cleveland in October of 1912. Originally, the Hotel had 700 rooms which were later expanded to 1,000 rooms. The Statler Hotel was actually part of one of America’s first hotel chains owned by E.M. Statler. The original Statler Hotel was built in Buffalo, NY in 1907. The Buffalo version of the Statler had a number of innovations that the Cleveland Hotel later improved upon including – a bathroom in every room, a light in the closet, and offering free stationary and pens (with the Statler logo of course) to every visitor. Tame innovations by today’s standards, but revolutionary at the time. The real innovation was the cost per room – $1.50 a night – E.M. Statler was expert in bringing refinement and prestige to the middle-class of America. The Cleveland Hotel was followed by others built under the Statler name in Washington D.C., Detroit, St. Louis, New York, Hartford, Dallas and Los Angeles. Truly the first national hotel chain.
I mean seriously, who would not want to have a good time here? And conveniently located on East 12th Street and Euclid, the Statler Hotel was perfectly located for being Cleveland’s good time. During the 1930′s the Hotel was in its Golden Age and went through a number of expansions that included a new ballroom (as seen below):
Look at that ceiling! The expansion also provided a new Gentlemen’s Lounge and Library and a pretty interesting dining facility. There was a famous dining room in the building called the Terrace Room, unfortunately I have not found a photo of it yet. I did however find this photo of the Pompeian Room, another wild dining area. I love the open area under a glass dome and tall fountain right in the middle of the dining area. Classic. (I still cannot believe this room once existed in Cleveland. Marvelous.)
The lobby of the hotel was a real gem. If you were to walk through the Statler today you would not be able to see the mezzanine area that was so eloquently open to the lobby.
Here is another angle of the grand lobby area.
Where did our elegance go, Cleveland?
In 1954, the Hilton Chain acquired the Statler Hotels – and many considered the Cleveland hotel to be the crown jewel. Who woundn’t – it was a gorgeous hotel. In early 1971 new owners decided to make part of the facility office space and the building was renamed the Cleveland Plaza. Cleveland developer Carl Milstein purchased the building in 1980 and completed the conversion of the hotel property to all office. A famous Swingos restaurant was built on the first floor (parts of it are still there). In 2001, the storied property again went through a conversion this time from office to apartments and it remains so to this day.