Dr. Ray V. Pierce’s Palace Hotel brought taste and opulence to the West Side spot now occupied by D’Youville College.
Opened in 1877, the place was half hotel, half hospital. Two generations of Pierces were known for the sale of patent medicines and the cutting-edge “curing” of disease. The baths and gymnasiums on the campus were known nationwide for their healing and restorative powers.
It was from the Prospect Avenue balcony of the Palace Hotel that Buffalo industrialist Frank Baird introduced Gen. James Garfield to Buffalo shortly before he was elected president in 1880. The throng of people welcoming the candidate stretched from the Central Depot at Terrace and Court (behind today’s City Hall) all the way to the hotel. President Ulysses S. Grant was also a guest at the Palace.
Pierce’s Palace Hotel was open only four years before it burned down in 1881. After that, Pierce opened his Invalids Hotel and Surgical Institute on the 600 block of Main Street; that survived until 1941.