Hotel Statler: 1000 rooms, 1000 baths
Statler in photos
The E.M. Statler Era: 1915-1928

The Statler in the teensThe new Statler Hotel is warmly received by both Detroit society and the traveling public. The Statler raises the standards for Detroit hotels so much that its chief rival, the Pontchartrain, adds 4 stories of additional rooms in 1916. Still, despite a shortage of hotel rooms, the obsolete Pontchartrain is closed by 1920.

E.M. Statler returns to Buffalo, leaving the day-to-day operations of the hotel to manager Frederick B. Bergman. However, Statler will make a number of return trips for what he called 'indoor golf'. A practice where he tests his hotels by holding surprise visits and inspections. The manager rarely knows of such visits until it is too late. But Bergman doesn't need to worry much at the moment. Statler is busy preparing plans for the chain's forth hotel in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, Statler's choice of Grand Circus Park is paying off. The David Whitney and Kresge Buildings open nearby and work begins on the Adams and Madison Theatres, the first of the area's movie theatres.


Statler with additionBusiness proves so good that construction begins on a wing of an additional 200 rooms. This addition is located between the existing hotel and the Washington Theatre on Washington Blvd. The Gray Estate Company is hired to erect it.

The new wing brings the hotel's total room count to 1000, the first 1000 room hotel in the Midwest. The upper floors are designed to resemble the architecture of the original structure. However the lower floors house retail and the exterior features storefronts with large windows. The Cleveland Statler is also expanded to 1000 rooms.


The proposed hotelFollowing the example of the new Statler operated Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, a complete medical department is installed on the 18th floor. It includes a clinic for the use of guest. Hotel employees enjoy an hour of service from 1-2 p.m. There is also a complete surgery. The department is staffed by Dr. Milton Richards and nurse Minnie Dust during the day and by Dr. George J. Korby at night for on call services.

Apparently the additional 200 rooms are not enough. E.M. Statler buys land on the corner of Woodward and High St. and has George B. Post draft plans for a second 1000 room hotel. Construction is set to begin but Statler has a last minute change of heart and the hotel is never built.

October 1926
Escape artists Harry Houdini collapses on stage at the Garrick Theater He is carried to his room at the Statler before being rushed to Grace Memorial Hospital where he later dies.

The Statler in the 20'sThe Hotel Statler in Boston opens as the first hotel in the world to offer radio service in its guest rooms. This same service is installed in the chain's other hotels, including Detroit. It is a two channel system with guest able to select the channel from a receiver and listen with either 2 headsets or radio loudspeaker. The cost of this installation in Boston was $50,000 and it cost another $750,000 to install radios in the chain's six older houses.

The Boston hotel is the last hotel E.M. will build. E.M.'s empire includes hotels in Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, New York, Boston, and two in Buffalo.

April 16, 1928
E.M. Statler dies from pneumonia. The news is demoralizing to the Statler company. The company is now run by a board of directors with Statler's widow, Alice Statler, as chairperson.

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