What it Looked Like Wednesday: The Mansion as Victor Hugo’s

By Steve Cichon

Victor Hugo’s was a mainstay restaurant at Delaware Avenue and Edward Street for a generation, from 1945 to 1977.

Outdoor seating at Victor Hugo’s, 1946. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The family of owner Hugo DiGiulio was involved the management of many of Buffalo’s night spots and hotels, including the attached Victor Hugo Hotel, DiGiulio’s Club 31 on Johnson Park and the Hotel Buffalo – which stood at the corner of Washington and Swan streets, now filled by Coca-Cola Field.

In addition to a restaurant and hotel, the property was also home to a furrier in 1942.

Victor Hugo’s was in the middle of the swank Delaware Avenue shopping district. Aside from a hotel, the property was also home to a furrier in 1942. (Buffalo Stories archives)

When the home was built for grain elevator owner Charles Sternberg in 1869, the Second Empire style with mansard roof lines and tall bay windows was popular in Buffalo and around the country.

The Trubee family bought the property in the 1880s, building an annex in what is now the Buffalo Club’s parking lot. It was a mixed-use space with offices, apartments and hotel rooms. The hotel service was widely advertised during the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, which was a quick streetcar ride up Delaware Avenue away.

The Hotel Trubee was advertised in 1901 as “a luxurious family hotel.” (Buffalo Stories archives)

When Victor Hugo’s closed and the building became vacant after more than a century in the service of the Trubee and DiGiulio families, the building spent the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s either up for sale or in the midst of lengthy renovation projects.

The Mansion boarded up in the early ‘80s. (Buffalo Stories archives)

In 2001, after $2.7 million in further renovations, The Mansion on Delaware Avenue opened in the space. Known for its butler service and Land Rover transportation, the consistently nationally rated hotel’s website says “The Mansion on Delaware Avenue is a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning historic boutique luxury hotel that combines Second Empire architecture with modern elegance and comforts.”

Providing very discreet lodging, The Mansion has become the Buffalo address for movie stars and billionaires visiting Buffalo.

A 1945 ad for Victor Hugo’s, now The Mansion, Delaware at Edward. (Buffalo Stories archives)


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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 is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of 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.