HOTELS. For nearly 200 years, the inns and hotels of Cleveland, from the oldest roadside taverns to early mercantile hotels, and from the modern convention hotels to the motels of the automobile age, have followed the developments characteristic of most cities of Cleveland's size and age. Cleveland's Hotel Statler (see STATLER OFFICE TOWER) was considered to be the first complete expression of the modern 20th-century hotel. The earliest inns in the region were typical 18th-century taverns, i.e., 2- or sometimes 3-story frame houses with public parlors and a kitchen on the ground floor and several bedrooms above. These appeared very early at places such as DOAN'S CORNERS (1799) and NEWBURGH (1811). The earliest in the village of Cleveland was LORENZO CARTER's tavern on Superior St. near the first settlement site (1802). Throughout the pre-canal era, Superior St. was the center of the retail business district, and the Cleveland House, Mansion House, and Franklin House were all erected in the 1820s on Superior west of PUBLIC SQUARE. Legislation creating state roads in the 1830s encouraged stage lines, and inns were built on the Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Columbus, and Detroit roads to accommodate the increased passenger traffic. Rufus Dunham built one on the Buffalo Rd. (Euclid Ave.) which survives in 1996 as a museum (see DUNHAM TAVERN).
With the rapid growth of Cleveland business after the opening of the Ohio Canal in 1827, a number of large brick hotels with up to 200 rooms were built, such as the American House in 1837, followed by the WEDDELL HOUSE (1847), the Forest City House (1852), and the Kennard House (1855), all located in the vicinity of Superior and the Public Square. Each was 5 stories high with plumbing, bathrooms, and water closets located in common areas instead of in every room. The buildings generally had retail stores and office space on the street level, and several had balconies on the upper floors overlooking the street. The changes in name and management of these early 19th-century hotels were frequent--the notable exception being the Weddell House, which retained the same name from 1847-1961.
By the end of the Civil War, a large number of small 3- and 4-story hotels continued to be built in downtown Cleveland to provide accommodations in the growing industrial and commercial city. Two hotels completed in 1884-85 marked a significant change in hotel construction--both were 8 stories tall with fireproof construction, built of iron, steel, tile, and cement, and faced with brick. The Stillman (1884), located at Euclid Ave. and Erie St., was the first residential hotel east of E. 9th St., and the luxurious HOLLENDEN (1885), located at the southeast corner of Superior and E. 6th, with its 100 private baths, was the first large commercial hotel east of Public Square, reflecting the eastward shift in Cleveland's business district from the W. 6th St.-FLATS area. The next stage was the large modern downtown hotel in the early 1900s, featuring a bath in each guest room and a monumental suite of public rooms, all arranged to bring maximum income through the leasing of shops and concessions. Cleveland's Statler Hotel (1912), the Winton (later the Carter, 1012 Prospect Ave. in 1917), and the 1,000-room Hotel Cleveland in 1918 (later STOUFFERS TOWER CITY PLAZA), built on the corner of Superior and Public Square in 1918 were typical examples. In the decade of the 1920s, Cleveland's hotels grew from 76, with a total capacity of 5,000 rooms, to 125. The expanded facilities available to guests was best illustrated by the Hotel Allerton of 1926 (later the Manger), a 16-story building that featured extensive sports rooms, with a swimming pool and squash, handball, and tennis courts. All of these hotels made it possible for Cleveland to become a leading convention center in the 1930s and 1940s. Another important phenomenon of the 1920s was the construction of many luxury residential hotels. At UNIV. CIRCLE, 3 were constructed in 1923 alone: Wade Park Manor (E. 107 St. & Park Lane), Fenway Hall (1986 E. 107 St.), and Park Lane Villa (Park Lane at E. 105 St.). The same year the ALCAZAR (located at the intersection of Surrey and Derbyshire roads) was built in CLEVELAND HTS., and on the west side, the Westlake (1925), located on old Detroit Rd., was built in ROCKY RIVER, and the Lake Shore (1929), 19000 Lake Rd., in LAKEWOOD. These apartment hotels were fairly consistent in size, with a capacity of 400-450 rooms with public rooms providing an atmosphere of exclusiveness. In more recent years, many of the residential hotels of the 1920s have become retirement and nursing homes or were converted to condominiums.
Virtually no new hotels were built until after World War II, when the automobile became the most important factor in the future of the hotel business, and it was no longer necessary to build them in the center of the city near railroad and bus terminals. Motels and auto courts sprang up along the nation's expanding highway system, with each room accessible from an outdoor parking space. National chains gradually entered the suburbs, building large motels and adding commercial amenities, such as meeting and banquet facilities. As a result, less and less distinction could be made between them and the older downtown hotels. In 1960 there were still only 18 motels listed in the Greater Cleveland area, but in the mid-1960s, national hotel chains such as Howard Johnson, Holiday Inn, and Sheraton constructed large suburban motels situated on the area's main highways. In 1962 the Airport Holiday Inn opened, demonstrating another change in transportation habits. With competition from the newer establishments, some of Cleveland's downtown commercial hotels closed or converted to office buildings. Moreover, other cities were now competing for the lucrative convention business, building newer, larger, and more spectacular facilities, and the major meetings that formerly had come to Cleveland went elsewhere. In the late 1960s, Cleveland had the lowest hotel occupancy among the 10 principal U.S. cities, and few new downtown hotels appeared in the 1970s. The Bond Court Hotel at E. 9th St. and St. Clair Ave. (later the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre), replaced the Auditorium Hotel in 1970, and the Holiday Inn Lakeside was built at the foot of E. 12th St. in 1974. However, by the early 1990s downtown Cleveland had acquired 850 new hotel rooms with the construction of the Radisson Plaza at 12th St. and Chester Ave., the Ritz Carlton-Cleveland at TOWER CITY CENTER, and the Marriott Society Center just north of Public Square. Downtown Cleveland had 6 modern, full-service hotels operated by national chains, with a total of 2,194 rooms in 1992.
By 1993, occupancy of Cleveland's hotels was again on the rise due in part to the city's growing reputation as a cultural center. As of 1995, with the popularity of the CLEVELAND INDIANS and the opening of the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, hotels in downtown and around Greater Cleveland anticipated increased occupancy revenues.