On September 14, 1908 a new 300 room hotel with ballroom, several dining rooms and meeting rooms opened its doors – right smack on the same spot where Windstream (Paetec) is constructing its new building today.
The following article was published in the New York Times on Monday September 14, 1908…
Modern Hostelry, Opens To-day.
By the early 1920s a 10-story addition would be added to the Seneca (shown below), making it Rochester’s largest hotel with over 500 rooms. By comparison, today’s largest hotel—Riverside Radisson—is only 460 rooms.
According to a menu from the hotel’s Crystal Dining Room, one could enjoy a filet mignon for $1.89. Holy inflation!
An out-of-towner looking for stuff to do while staying at the Seneca would find no shortage of shopping and entertainment in this neighborhood. They had Sibley’s, B. Foreman Co., and McCurdy’s department stores. There was the Century, Temple and Lyceum Theatres. There was even a Wegmans. All within one square block! Or jump on a streetcar and the entire city was at your fingertips.
Compare all that there was to do in 1935 (above) with the giant office complexes that are here now…
And we wonder why no one comes downtown anymore?
This was the meeting place of choice for New York’s power brokers. Shown above, delegates to the 1924 New York State Republican convention gather in the lobby of the Seneca Hotel. Posters show support for various candidates for nomination. Some of the more visible posters read, “We can win with Judge Tompkins for Governor”, “Guy B. Moore for Governor”, “For Secretary of State, Charles W. Taft”, “Bill Hayward’s Headquarters”.
Many of the photographs on RochesterSubway.com were taken by this man (above). Albert Stone, photographer for the Rochester Herald newspaper, sits on a plank as Hotel Seneca is being constructed. He’s 130 feet above the intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Main Street looking through a camera at the street below.
In 1957, the Seneca became the Manger Hotel. The image above is the Manger Hotel’s “Hearth and Embers” restaurant taken shortly before the hotel closed for good. In 1969 it was razed to make way for Midtown Plaza.
Tags: Albert R. Stone, B. Foreman Co. Department Store, Century Theatre, Clinton Ave, Clinton Avenue, Hearth and Embers Restaurant, Hotel Seneca, Lyceum Theatre, Main & Clinton, Manger Hotel, McCurdy's Department Store, Midtown Plaza, old photos, old photos of Rochester, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Sibley's Department Store, South Clinton Avenue, Temple Theatre, this date in Rochester history, Wegman's
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The Seneca Hotel was built on the former site of the Universalist Church, which was completed in 1847 and razed in 1907 (for the hotel).