In 1901, Buffalo hosted the Pan-American Exposition. Statler built a hotel on the Exposition grounds and called it "Statler's Hotel". It was a temporary wooden structure intended to last the duration of the Exposition. With 2,084 rooms, it could accommodate 5,000 guests. Although the Exposition was deemed an overall failure due to a number of factors (including bad weather and the assassination of President William McKinley), Statler was one of the few vendors to make a small profit.
His next venture was the Inside Inn, built for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. Another temporary wooden structure, it was the world's largest hotel with 2257 rooms. A grand success, the hotel made Statler a net profit of $361,000 and laid the groundwork for his first permanent hotel. The hotel was then sold for scrap and dismantled. The Inside Inn was near the edge of Forest Park in St. Louis, where Highway 64/40 now traverses the location.
The first "permanent" Statler hotel was designed by August Esenwein and James A. Johnson, built in Buffalo, New York, and offered 300 rooms and bathrooms (later expanded to 450 rooms and baths). The hotel was successful and led to a chain of hotels in other cities. Statler's intent was not to compete with the luxury hotels, but to provide, clean, comfortable, and moderately-priced rooms for the average traveler. Statler was the first major hotel chain to have a bathroom in every room. His innovative Statler Plumbing Shaft is still used in modern construction. From providing paper and pens for correspondence (prominently bearing the Statler name) to a light in the closet, Statler brought the average traveler a level of luxury that was otherwise unaffordable.
Rooms were originally available at what seemed a very cheap price, leading many other hoteliers to predict the failure of the Buffalo hotel. The opening night price was as low as $1.50 for a guest room, leading to the slogan "A Room and a Bath for a Dollar and a Half". The hotel had a $500,000 line of credit available, but maintained positive cash flow and Statler never used the line of credit.
Each of the subsequent Statler Hotels built upon this formula for success. Reflecting the era's enthusiasm for scientific management, Statler took pride in how he standardized questions of room design. His hotels had minimal wasted space, particularly on the guestroom floors, and he strove to have room layouts that would maximize efficiency and profitability.
After Statler's death in 1928, the company built hotels in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California, Hartford, Connecticut, and Dallas, Texas. Many of these hotels were designed by the architectural firm of George Post & Sons, the successor firm of George B. Post.
List of hotels
|The original Hotel Statler, at Swan and Washington Streets in Buffalo, was opened in 1907. It was renamed Hotel Buffalo in 1923 upon completion of the new Hotel Statler at Niagara Square, but Statler continued to operate it until the 1930s, when they sold it. The Hotel Buffalo closed in 1967 and was finally demolished in 1968. The site remained vacant until Coca-Cola Field was built there in 1988.|
|Cleveland||1912||Hotel Statler Cleveland
The Statler Hilton Cleveland
|The Statler in Cleveland was initially converted into an office building in 1980 as the Statler Office Building. In 2001 the building was converted into a 295-unit apartment building, known as Statler Arms.|
|Detroit||1915||Hotel Statler Detroit
The Statler Hilton Detroit
Detroit Heritage Hotel
|Hilton terminated its management of the Detroit Statler Hilton in 1974. It briefly became the Detroit Heritage Hotel, and closed soon after. Demolition of the 1000-room Detroit Statler Hotel in Detroit began in August 2005 and was completed before the Detroit-hosted Super Bowl in 2006.|
|Saint Louis||1917||Hotel Statler St. Louis
The Statler Hilton St. Louis
The St. Louis Gateway Hotel
Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel
Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel
|The St. Louis Statler was sold by Hilton in 1968 and renamed The Gateway Hotel. It was closed in 1987, and it underwent a mysterious and oft-litigated arson fire the following year. It was expanded, renovated and reopened from 2000-2002 as the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, it was renamed the Marriott St. Louis Grand in 2015.|
|New York City||1919||Hotel Pennsylvania
Hotel Statler New York
The Statler Hilton New York
The New York Statler
New York Penta Hotel
|The Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street from Penn Station, was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1919 and managed by Ellsworth Statler's company. The hotel was acquired by the Hotels Statler Company in 1948 and renamed the New York Statler Hotel, operated as The Statler Hilton, then as the New York Penta, until it reverted to the Hotel Pennsylvania. The hotel is currently owned by Vornado Realty Trust.|
|Buffalo||1923||Hotel Statler Buffalo
The Statler Hilton Buffalo
|The second Buffalo Statler was gradually converted to offices starting in 1948 (when WBEN-TV began using the building as their first studios) because it had more hotel rooms than the city could support. In 1984 the last hotel rooms were closed and the building was renamed Statler Towers, although its ballrooms remained in use for catered events and banquets. After a failed renovation attempt into a combination of hotel and condos in the late 2000s, the building went into bankruptcy, and was auctioned in August 2010. On March 15, 2011, the property was acquired by developer Mark D. Croce, who is currently refurbishing the building as Statler City. The public rooms on the lower floors reopened on Dec 31, 2011 with the upper floors set to reopen later.|
|Boston||1927||Hotel Statler Boston
The Statler Hilton Boston
Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers
|The Boston Statler is still a hotel, now called the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers.|
|Pittsburgh||1940||William Penn Hotel
Westin William Penn
Omni William Penn Hotel
|Statler managed this hotel from 1940 to 1951, though they did not own it and it never used the Statler name.|
|Washington||1943||Hotel Statler Washington D.C.
The Statler Hilton Washington D.C.
|The only hotel bought by and still operated by Hilton Hotels is the Washington, D.C. Statler, now called The Capital Hilton.|
|Los Angeles||1952||Hotel Statler Los Angeles
The Statler Hilton Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Hilton
Omni Los Angeles Hotel
The Wilshire Grand Hotel
|The Los Angeles Statler operated for many years as the Statler Hilton, then the Omni Los Angeles, and finally The Wilshire Grand Hotel. Korean Airlines purchased the hotel in 1989. The hotel closed on January 19, 2011. It was demolished in 2013 and is to be replaced with the tallest building in the Western US, a 73-story tower combining a hotel and offices known as the Wilshire Grand Tower.|
|Hartford||1954||Hotel Statler Hartford
The Statler Hilton Hartford
The Parkview Hilton
|The Hartford Statler, later known as the Parkview Hilton, was closed and demolished in 1990. The site is now a parking lot.|
|Dallas||1956||The Statler Hilton Dallas
Dallas Grand Hotel
|The Dallas Statler property was still under construction when the company was sold and opened as the The Statler Hilton Dallas in 1956. It closed in 2001, having operated in its last years as the Dallas Grand Hotel. In May 2008, The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the building on their list of America's Most Endangered Places. It is currently being restored and will reopen in 2016.|
|Ithaca||1986||Cornell School of Hotel Administration||The Statler Hotel On Cornell University's Campus was built in 1986, long after Ellsworth M Statler had passed. Provisions from Statler's will allowed this unique hotel to be operated by The Cornell School of Hotel Administration.|
Statler City, Buffalo, New York.
- Mentzer, Marc S. (August 2010). "Scientific Management and the American Hotel". Management and Organizational History. 5 (3-4): 428–446. doi:10.1177/1744935910361557.
- Glynn, Matt (March 15, 2011). "Croce to take ownership of Statler: Public ceremony planned in lobby of building". The Buffalo News. Buffalo, New York. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Martín, Hugo (December 22, 2011). "Wilshire Grand Hotel bids farewell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- Threats to history seen in budget cuts, bulldozers - Yahoo! News
- Miller, Floyd Statler: America's Extraordinary Hotelman 1968
- Jarman, Rufus A Bed for the Night 1952