National Hotel - LINKS ..... Niagara Falls, NY - LINKS
History - National Hotel
2003 Tenth Street, Niagara Falls, NY
Research by Mary Ann and Bill Rolland
Illustrations from the collection of Mary Ann and Bill Rolland
TEXT Beneath Illustrations
The National Hotel was walking distance to the famous Roebling 1854 Suspension Bridge across the Niagara River into Canada
1855 map. 10th Street was originally called
West Street; Cleveland Avenue was originally Erie Ave.
1856 saloon addition on Cleveland Avenue.
1854 National Hotel on 10th Street.
National Hotel on 10th Street.
2002 renovation of the north, one story frame addition and porch
Rear, 10th Street.
This 3,000 square foot, two story stone building with Federal/Greek Revival lines was built about the time of Roebling's first Suspension Bridge, in 1854, as one of the first houses in the community of "Bellevue," later to be called "Niagara City" or "Suspension Bridge."
Construction of the hotel is similar to the extant First Congregational Church (1855) and Colt Block (1855).
Shown on 1855 an 1860 maps as the National Hotel, it was remodeled in 1856 to include a saloon on the south, facing Cleveland Ave.
The hotel was built of native stone, with 18 inch thick walls. It has five bays with central entrance facing 10th Street (originally West Street) and 3 bays with a central entrance facing Cleveland Avenue (originally called Erie Ave.)
Master stone mason Jason Bingemheimer may have built this and other houses in early Suspension Bridge, as he lived a few houses closer to Main Street on Cleveland Avenue.
Importance of location: At the time there were six different railroads which merged at the depot two blocks away. Fifteen hotels populated this bustling community, and the cattle yards were north of the tracks. German and Irish immigrants settled here to work on the Railroad and farms. This was the western terminal of the United States and the gateway to Canada.
The community, if not the hotel, was on the Underground Railway to safety in Canada.
Unique status: Now a local landmark, it is the only early hotel surviving from the pre-Civil War era.
1882 north frame addition: The north, one story frame addition and porch date from 1882, when John Shirley's stepdaughter, Angelina Vrooman, married Robert Allen.
1890s east frame addition: The one story frame east wing is also clapboard built in the early 1890's over a crawl space with a flat roof. In 2002, the 7 layers of roofing were removed, and a shallow shed roof and new back wall were built to replace the original deteriorated structure.
Floors in both wings have been rebuilt and leveled, and the roofs insulated.
Owners: It was in the same Vrooman/Allen/Grobb family for over 75 years prior to 1949. Later, the Frederick W. Snyder family lived here over thirty years, until it became income property and was altered.
Post-Civil War: After the Civil War, however, a new bridge closer to the falls had opened (1869) and in 1883 the railroad depot burned, the hotel business to decline. The National Hotel then became a boardinghouse for local workers and later a two family house with separate kitchen around 1890.
In 1882, Angelina married Canadian Robert Allen and expanded the house with a one story wood framed addition on the north end. They had two children. When Angelina died in 1890,Robert decided to build a second wing on the east to a separate family to live in the house. (That two family arrangement has been restored in the 2003 revival of the national Hotel.)
Angelina's daughter, Adalaide, married a Grobb and lived in the house with her father. later, she became the wife of Judge John marsh, after her first husband died. Adelaide sold the house to tenants Fred and Sarah Snyder after WW2 They continued to live there and raised their family until the early 1970s.
In the 1970's it was remodeled to a three-unit apartment building, before being condemned and sold at public auction in 2002.
Its present owners have returned the house to its two family plan, after much reconstruction, updating, and restoration of details.
The north addition originally had a flat roof and 10 foot high ceilings. In 2002, this roof was falling in, and was replaced with a 5/12 pitch gable roof with high quality asphalt shingles to match the new shingles on the stone portion.
The original porch facing Tenth St. was rebuilt with original materials, and the later shed roof entrance addition on the north was retained and repaired. The siding was returned to wood clapboard and trim from a poorly installed vinyl siding.