Buffalo’s Hotel Iroquois

By Steve Cichon


Today, it’s the spot where downtown office workers pour out onto Main Street in the summer to watch the free lunchtime concerts that have been sponsored by M&T Bank for decades now.

In 1880, the block that is now the plaza in front of the M&T headquarters building was one of Buffalo’s early gathering spots.

he burned-out shell of the Hotel Richmond, 1887

St. James Hall was also the building where Abraham Lincoln’s coffin laid in state in 1865. It was destroyed by a massive fire in 1887 that started in the Hotel Richmond. One of the worst fires in the city’s history, the blaze killed 22 people.

The Iroquois was Buffalo’s most popular society hotel, so when Ellsworth Statler decided to build what was the world’s largest hotel on Niagara Square, he took out the competition by purchasing the Iroqouis and turning it into an office building.

Later known as the Gerrans Building, was razed in 1940. In its place went up a much smaller building, known primarily as the home of Bond’s Menswear was built. In 1966, the Minoru Yamasaki-designed One M&T Plaza opened, replacing all the buildings on that block.

[What It Looked Like Wednesday: The ‘absolutely fireproof’ Iroquois Hotel]

Hotel Iroquois from Shelton Square
the Bond store building replaced the Iroquois

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.