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“How Buffalo’s Lafayette Hotel Went From Fleabag to Fabulous”

From Micah H:

[Here’s a] link to a story about Hotel@Lafayette’s history and rebirth, including some biographical info on its architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune:  “How Buffalo’s Lafayette Hotel Went From Fleabag to Fabulous” in the Wall Street Journal‘s online blog.

The story’s author, Carla Blank, is the wife of famed Buffalo poet/author Ishmael Reed.  As pointed out in the comments section, there are not a whole lot of photos of the hotel itself (just two, a historical image from Lafayette Square, and one of Blank and co-author Tania Martin standing in front of Woyshner’s florists), but it’s still a good read.

I especially like the last paragraph:

Even though the National Women’s Hall of Fame has rejected three applications to include Louise Blanchard Bethune in their ranks, if the imagination, creativity and sheer drive that it took to revive this grand lady, the Lafayette Hotel, is an example of Buffalo’s grit, will and determination, then the town can say with former resident Mark Twain that “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”


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  • OldFirstWard

    Even as this photo above illustrates, the placement of this building between the old Library and the Brisbane Building with the entrance corner facing the edge of Lafayette Square was a brilliant stroke of very late 19th century engineering.  
    What ever happened to the cannons that were placed at the four corners of the monument facing out?  When were they removed?   
    Next to the Richardson Complex, the Lafayette Hotel is the most important restoration in Buffalo of the 21st century.  Rocco Termini is a preservation icon.  Fifty years from now, history students of Buffalo will be forever grateful for the contributions to preservation and restoration that Rocco Termini and Howard Zemsky have bestowed upon our beloved city.

  • i cringe when people play up the “fleabag” stage of the hotel’s life.  for g*d’s sake, the owner kept it heated and on the tax rolls.  without him, we’d have a vacant lot today.

  • micahh64

    “i cringe when people play up the “fleabag” stage of the hotel’s life. 
    for g*d’s sake, the owner kept it heated and on the tax rolls.”
    And did little else.  As said in the article:
    ” . . . it was being managed by the family of the late Tran Dinh Truong, a
    Vietnamese businessman whose modus operandi was to buy run down hotels,
    change them into housing for welfare and homeless tenants, and cut
    operating costs by skimping on repairs and security.”
    BRO regularly excoriates other absentee landlords for allowing their properties in Buffalo to deteriorate;  the Truong family should be held to the same standard, IMO . . .

  • micahh64
    and if he hadn’t bought it?  we’d have a vacant lot today.

  • micahh64

    “and if he hadn’t bought it?”
    Someone else might have?  (Someone who didn’t turn it into an SRO)

  • deleted_19803468_MikeJarosz

    OldFirstWard The best restoration would be the Larkin Admin Bldg. If the Larkin neighborhood can come back the way it apparently is, maybe a case could be made to bring the ol’ gray lady back to anchor the ancient redevelopment! There is precedent. Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion was rebuilt from scratch, and even here in Buffalo, the mausoleum and the boat boat house by FLLW were built from scratch.