The Roaring 20’s was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural flavour that saw the beginning of the jazz age and the peak of Art Deco. With the end of WW1, it became a period of hope and rebirth.
It was also a boom period for construction in Niagara Falls, NY’s downtown core. Businessman Frank A Dudley built The Niagara Hotel between 1923 and 1925. The 12 story steel frame and concrete hotel, designed by prominent Buffalo architects Esenwein and Johnson, was considered a skyscraper when it was built with close to 200 guest rooms as well as convention facilities and three elevators.
The Niagara Hotel is located at 201 Rainbow Blvd in Niagara Falls, New York overlooking the Niagara River, the American Falls and the Canadian skyline. It is a classic “grand hotel” and was designated as a historic landmark on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places in 2008.
The hotel is an architectural and cultural landmark, having played host over the years to a colourful guest list of celebrities, politicians and gangsters (with some overlap) that included Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joseph Cotton, Al Capone and many more.
The prominent Niagara Falls landmark closed in 2007 for renovations and was recently acquired through a bank foreclosure auction at a fraction of its replacement value. Previous owners had nearly completed a multi-million dollar mechanical renovation of the building systems including plumbing, wiring, boilers, hot water tanks, heat pumps, transformers, air-conditioning and even new stainless steel kitchen hoods.
Sufficient elements of the original palatial décor remain throughout the lobby, ballroom and other public areas to provide inspiration for the balance of the restoration. The hotel’s primary public rooms; the lobby, ballroom and main dining room, have survived largely intact; including elaborate ceiling plaster moldings and columns, gilded capitals, faux limestone walls, oak and emerald terrazzo floors. To view before and after images of the proposed restorations, visit The Restoration page.
Another distinctive amenity is the barbershop; with its black and white mosaic tile floor, grey marble shoeshine stand, beveled mirrors and glass-block light wells to the sidewalk above. The original brass postal chute will be retained and used for Express Checkout.
The Niagara Hotel still sits proudly at the centre of the Niagara Falls region, looking forward to its rebirth.