Lafayette Hotel - Table of Contents
2002 photographs - Lafayette Hotel
391 Washington St. at Lafayette Square, Buffalo NY
|Louise Blanchard Bethune|
|Steel, brick, terra cotta|
Steel structure supplier:
|Buffalo Structural Steel Company|
Like a number of hotels and small apartment buildings in Buffalo, the Lafayette Hotel was planned to be ready for the expected influx of visitors at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. But financial problems delayed the hotel opening until 1904.
A handsome red brick and white terra cotta French Renaissance-style building, it was designed principally by Louise Blanchard Bethune of the respected Buffalo architectural firm of Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs. She was the first professional woman architect in the country, the first female member of the American Institute of of Architects, and the first woman to be made a Fellow of the A.I.A.
Originally, there was a portrait of General Lafayette in the lobby. The style of the building, French Renaissance, probably reflects the general's visit and the name change of Courthouse Square to Lafayette Square.
In its heyday, the Lafayette Hotel was considered one of the 15 finest hotels in the country.
With hot and cold water in all bathrooms, and telephones in all rooms, the seven-story hotel offered "the best that science, art and experience can offer for the comfort of the traveling public." Four years later, an addition doubled the size of the hotel, and fifty years later it was still operating as a luxury 400 room hotel, run by three generations of the Duffy family's ownership
The Lafayette's opulent interior once featured a splendid crystal chandelier-hung ballroom, leaded-glass skylights, marble columns, mahogany coatrooms, and a handsome oak-paneled men's bar and dining room.
Out-of-town ownership has allowed the building to decline, but many local people hope that with the revitalization of downtown, the building will be restored to its former glory.
The French St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church (1844-1900) was razed to make way for the Lafayette Hotel. See a photo reprinted from "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Frank H. Severance , ed.. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 140.
See also: Highlights of Buffalo's History, 1904
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