Hotel Statler: 1000 rooms, 1000 baths
The Statler in photos
Statler Comes to Detroit: 1907-1915

The Buffalo StatlerIn 1907 E.M. Statler builds his first permanent hotel in Buffalo New York. The 300 room hotel will revolutionize the hotel industry. It is the first hotel with a private bath with every room. Furthermore, Statler claims that there is not an inch of wasted space in it. The building is a marvel of design and incorporates many of Statler's great innovations. The kitchens are placed near the facilities they serve. 'Statler plumbing shafts' allow for inexpensive construction. Traveling salesmen find ample facilities such as ballrooms and sample rooms. The hotel becomes a huge success and is expanded to 450 rooms in 1909. The only complaint with the Buffalo Statler is its decor.

The Cleveland StatlerImpressed with Statler's Buffalo house, in 1912 the civic and social leaders of Cleveland invite Statler to build that city's leading hotel. Taking the lessons learned from the Buffalo hotel, both operational and artistic, E.M. prepares plans for a 700 room house. Statler brings together the architect George B. Post and the interior designer Louis Rorimer to create an impressive Italian renaissance design. The result is a masterpiece which becomes the model for the industry and propels Statler to worldwide fame.

Other major U.S. cities take notice of Statler and the request for local hotels flood into the company's executive offices.

January-August 1913

E.M. Statler takes great interest in proposals from two Midwest cities. Pittsburgh offers Statler the option of renovating its William Penn Hotel, or demolishing it to build new. Detroit offers evidence of its massive growth and industry. Statler purchases tickets for a train to Pittsburgh and a boat to Detroit. He gathers newsmen around and proceeds to flip a coin. After viewing the results he announces he will be taking the boat trip. It makes a good story but no one cares to point out that Statler never stated which side of the coin meant what city.

Statler arrives in Detroit and is meet by a large man named Homer Warren. Warren had been Detroit's strongest spokesman for obtaining a Statler Hotel. From the pier the two men climb into a Model T and began a tour of the city. Throughout the tour Warren brags about Detroit's growth, and Henry Ford's assembly line. He points out lots around the center business district but Warren has saved the best for last.

The John Bagley HouseThe car pulls up to a plot of land along Grand Circus Park at the intersection of Washington Blvd. and Bagley Ave. On the site sits the old John J. Bagley house owned by Arthur Fleming, a prominent Detroiter who desires a Statler Hotel. Warren states that the area may seem out of the way but it was fast becoming the center of the downtown. Statler then spends the afternoon examining the park area before saying "Let's go talk to Fleming."

It is settled. Detroit will be the site for Statler's third hotel.

George B. Post and Louis Rorimer, the same team which designed the Cleveland Statler, are called to draft plans for an 800 room structure.

August 1913-February 1915

Under ConstructionOnce plans are completed ground is broken on August 1, 1913 by Detroit Mayor Marx. Construction proceeds rapidly and the whole structure is completed in only 18 months. The erection of steel begins on April 15, 1914. By August 15 the building is under roof. Fitting out of the interiors continues into early 1915. By February 5, 1915 everything is in place and the whole structure is cleaned and dressed up.

Detroit prepares to open its newest and grandest hotel with a social event rarely equaled and never surpassed.

February 5, 1915

Detroit is introduced to the Statler Hotel this evening. 150 newspaper men are guest of the Statler and are divided into groups. These groups are lead on tours of the building, covering everything from the public rooms to the ventilation rooms on the 2nd mezzanine.

Following the inspection tours the newspaper men, some prominent Detroiters, and Statler associates are treated to a dinner. This dinner is accompanied by a number of speeches. E.M. Statler's speech claims that the hotel will be run on "a sensible plan, not excelled by any house in the country and I think in the world."

As is the tradition with opening ceremonies in the Statler organization, a benefit for the Red Cross takes place in the ballroom.

The media is impressed by Statler's "Rosseveltian Vim" and energy. When the hotel opens the next day the front page of the Detroit News covers Statler's personality while the description of the new hotel is on the next page.

February 6, 1915

The Statler in 1915At 5:00 p.m. Statler hands over the keys of the hotel to manager Frederick B. Bergman and the hotel is officially opened to the public. The festivities include a dinner attended by 2000 Detroiters and 500 guest from other cities. The crowd is so large that they are served in the Dining Room and Grill in three settings at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00. Guest find souvenirs and entertainment. The ballroom is reserved for dancing and 2 orchestras provide music until midnight.

As the guest dance the night away a new era begins for Detroit and its hotel industry.

Copyright 2001, David Kohrman
Last updated on 11-14-01