We attended a very good lecture yesterday at the Onondaga Historical Association given by the County Historian, Dennis Connor. He discussed the history of hotels in Syracuse, going back to 1805, when the first hotel was built along the Seneca Turnpike in what was then the tiny village of Syracuse.
Hotels were connected to transportation, so the next series of hotels were built to service passengers on the Erie Canal after 1825. By the 1850s, the railroads were becoming more popular; since several railroad lines criss-crossed the city, various hotels were built close to different lines in downtown Syracuse.
The two most important hotels of the 20th century in Syracuse were the Onondaga Hotel and the Hotel Syracuse (picture). These were full-service hotels, with restaurants, shops, hair salons and ballrooms.
The Hotel Syracuse is currently being renovated, and it was inspiring to learn that Ed Riley, the developer, appreciates history and is keen on historical preservation. So much history has already been lost to the forces of neglect and urban renewal already!