Today, the Statler offers Cleveland apartment living in the heart of downtown but in its past it was the Hotel Statler with several restaurants, a speakeasy and a grand ballroom! The hotel opened in 1912 as part of what would become one of the first hotel chains in the country started by E. M. Statler. It had 700 rooms but would later expand to 1,000.
Some of the innovations in the rooms included a bathroom in every room and free stationary and pens for guests. The original lobby was two stories tall. It had several dinning options with a massive kitchen that served the restaurants and room service. The grand ballroom was home to big band style entertainment. There was a woody gentlemen’s lounge on the first floor.
The building was designed by George Post, who created the Cleveland Trust Building here and the New York Stock Exchange building in NYC. The Statler was also a known mob hangout. It did contain a speakeasy downstairs in the basement. The first American meeting of La Cosa Nostra was said to have happened in the hotel. George Burns and Gracie Allen spent their honeymoon at the Statler!
The hotel would be bought by Hilton in 1954. It would eventually become the Statler office tower in 1980 and in 2000 be converted into the apartment building it is today.
The interesting thing is all of these things – the Grand ballroom, the gentleman’s lounge, the massive kitchen and the speakeasy are all still there in the building! They are basically sealed off to the public and in some cases untouched by time. Other rooms are not in such good shape.
I got to visit these spaces earlier in the year in a behind the scenes tour by the apartment complex property management. Take a look at the pictures of these hidden spaces…
Walking Tours of Downtown
Tours of Cleveland, LLC offers walking tours of beautiful and historic downtown Cleveland. We pass this famous building on the route of all our walking tours offered. Learn more and book your tour at www.toursofcleveland.com.