telling of the story of Detroit's Statler Hotel
that omits the story of E.M. Statler and his extraordinary
hotel chain would be incomplete. Here, in brief,
is the story of E.M. Statler. For much much more
I recommend the book "Statler: America's
Extraordinary Hotelman" by Floyd Miller.
Statler was born on October 26, 1863 near Gettysburg
Pennsylvania into the family of a poor pastor.
The Statler family soon moved to Bridgeport Ohio,
across the river from Wheeling West Virginia.
There the young E.M. Statler started to work at
the LaBelle Glass Factory. He was only 9.
proved a hard and determined worker. But the glassworks
was not for him. He had developed a fascination
with the McLure Hotel in Wheeling. By his 13th
year he had obtained a job as a bellboy. Thus
began a life in the hotel industry.
quickly worked his way up. By age 15 he had become
head bellboy, then night desk clerk, and finally
day desk clerk. From this experience he learned
the functions and jobs of hotels. He also began
to develop ideas to improve hotel service and
efficiency He began to test these ideas with business
first such venture was a billiard room in the
McLure Hotel. He turned an unprofitable low class
establishment into a profitable high class establishment.
He then went on to develop a bankrupt bowling
club into a profitable venture, complete with
a pie shop. These ventures gave Statler a reputation
among businessmen and lenders as hardworking and
reliable. It was clear to many that he would go
most ambitious move came in 1894 when he opened
Statler's Restaurant in the new Ellicott Square
Building in Buffalo. Buffalo had a reputation
as a poor restaurant town. Despite Statler's best
efforts to make the restaurant as efficient as
possible it lost money. But then Statler discovered
the power of advertising. A series of newspaper
ads and publicity stunts later, Statler's Restaurant
was a resounding success.
a tidy profit from his restaurant Statler returned
to the hotel business. In 1901 he opened a massive
temporary hotel for Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition.
Sadly the exposition was a failure. Statler was
lucky that he managed to gain a small profit.
Despite the less then glamorous results of the
Buffalo venture Statler built the Innside Inn
for the 1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
This time the fair and hotel were successful.
There was, however, a dreadful accident with a
coffee machine which nearly killed Statler. He
was bound in a wheel chair for many months.
the end of the St. Louis fair Statler was prepared
to build his first permanent hotel. It would be
in Buffalo and would incorporate all he had learned
from his previous ventures. This hotel, the Buffalo
Statler, quickly became famous and successful.
It would be a long, though interesting, story
to tell of the success of the Buffalo Statler
and the events which lead to the construction
of the other Statlers. But that will soon be covered
in brief bios I will add here. A list of Statlers
is as follows... Buffalo (1907), Cleveland (1912),
Detroit (1915), St. Louis (1917), New York (1919),
Buffalo (1923), Boston (1927), Pittsburgh/Hotel
William Penn (1938), Washington
D.C. (1943), Los Angeles (1952), Dallas
(1955), Hartford (1956).
the first seven hotels were built by Statler.
He died on April 16, 1928. The hotel company he
founded lasted tell 1954 when it was bought by
Hilton. However, his influence on the hotel industry
and American culture has been everlasting.