Torn-Down Tuesday: Pierce’s Palace Hotel in 1880

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Dr. Ray V. Pierce’s Palace Hotel brought taste and opulence to the West Side spot now occupied by D’Youville College.

Buffalo News archives

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.

1879. (Buffalo Stories archives)

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.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and spent 20 years working in Buffalo radio and TV, climbing his way to news director at WBEN Radio. Since then, he's been an adjunct professor, produced PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.