The Graystone Hotel: Then

The Graystone Hotel, originally known as the Berkley Apartments, opened in 1897 on Johnson Street in downtown Buffalo, between Elmwood and Delaware. It was one of the first large-scale buildings in the nation constructed of reinforced concrete, due in large part to the design by Buffalo architect Carlton Strong, and his English-born business partner Ernest Ransome. Charles Sherrill, the original owner, planned to create 120 luxury apartment suites, naming the building the Alabama Apartments. However, the late 19th century brought little to no interest for luxury in downtown Buffalo, causing Sherrill to lose his financial funding and turn over ownership.

The new owner proceeded with a six-story residential building designed as an “apartment hotel,” serving short-term tenants (or long-term business travelers) at a rate of $25-$50/month. The 63 apartments ranged from one-room to six-rooms in size. The building is best known for its neoclassical facade and Italian Renaissance architectural style. This is portrayed by the building’s ornate window treatments, pediments between stories and on the roofline, and its distinct, column entrance-way. The hotel hosted many distinguished visitors during the Pan-American Exposition, which brought revitalization to downtown Buffalo in 1901. In 1912, when the building was sold once again, it became known as The Graystone Hotel, as we know it today.

Throughout the 1930’s and 40’s, and advertising campaign was established for the Graystone by owner William Luigart. He advertised 150 rooms for rents with daily rates beginning at $1.50 (seems like a nice deal compared to today’s hotel rates). According to the ads, the Graystone was “convenient to everything” and offered “the best without extravagance.”

Find out what became of The Graystone Hotel by clicking here.


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