Former hotel in Niagara Falls had 7 different names in 125-year history


Published July 31, 2023 at 4:29 pm

The final version of the property was the Klondike Hotel with a style that mimicked the old hotels from the west.

Every time a bus pulls out of the downtown Niagara Falls Bus Terminal, the passengers are driven over the top of a piece of the city’s hotel history.

While the bus terminal’s address is 4555 Erie Ave., it’s actually located on the southwest corner of Erie Ave. and Bridge St., the latter of which is the hotel hook.

Back in 1853, Frederick Graham built the modest 27-room Suspension Bridge Hotel at 356 Bridge St. It ended up being so popular that it was often simply called “Graham’s Hotel.”

That same hotel would eventually have six more names and many different looks over the next 125 years until it finally closed in 1978.

After Graham’s death, the hotel was sold and renamed the Waverly, a name that stuck throughout the 1880s and 1890s.

In the late 1890s, it was purchased by William Henry Jr., a son of the former operator of the Stamford Spring Brewery in the St. Davids part of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Henry renamed it the Arlington, renovated the hotel and beautifully landscaped the grounds.

In its earlier incarnations, the hotel had this spectacular second floor wrap-around veranda.

In the mid-1930s, the two-storey open verandas were removed when the hotel was partially renovated and renamed the New Arlington until the name switched to Erie Hotel in the 1950s.

In 1960, Mrs. Lillian Salci acquired the hotel and renamed it the Avon House, giving it a neon sign out front for the first time ever.

In the mid 1960s, Salci put wat was then called a Klondike-style front on the hotel, covering the brick and mortar with large pieces of wood to mimic the old west appearance and renamed it the Klondike Hotel.

That would be its final name before a bomb in the rear of the hotel exploded on May 16, 1978 and the resultant damage forced the hotel to shut down for good.

After it was demolished in 1980, it became part of the present-day Niagara Falls Bus Terminal.

When Lillian Salci renamed it the Avon House, it got a neon sign out front. When it became the
Klondike Hotel, you can see the food price from the 1970s.

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