Who remembers the Fallsway Motor Hotel in Niagara Falls?


Published February 12, 2023 at 5:02 am

At one point, the Thunderbird Room in the long-gone Fallsway Motor Hotel was one of the city's hottest night-clubs. (Photo: Bill Hare)

Anyone hoping to check into the historic Fallsway Motor Hotel in Niagara Falls is unfortunately 14 years too late.

However, early in its history from 1956 to 1965, it was a Clifton Hills legend sitting on one side of the 109-year-old Clifton Gate Hotel while the Park Motor Hotel was the bookend on the other side.

And while the Clifton Gate Hotel got plowed under for a new building in November 1965, better known these days as the Movieland Wax Museum of the Stars, the venerable Fallsway, which was located at 4946 Clifton Hill, actually lasted until October 13, 2008 before it, too, was knocked down for new development.

The Park Motor Hotel (what motels were more commonly referred to as in the 1950s) was owned by Harry Oakes, who in 1958, bought up the Fallsway, as well.

All that’s left of The Fallsway Motor Hotel on Clifton Hill is knick-knacks available online.

However from 1956 to 2008, the Fallsway Motor Hotel had experienced many changes, as well as huge shifts in popularity.

At one time, it was considered one of the largest hotels in the area, featuring both the Fallsway Restaurant and Thunderbird Room Night Club. That Thunderbird Room hosted regular live entertainment and was a popular destination for locals as well as tourists.

In the 1980s, the Fallsway Motor Hotel became part of the Choice Hotels franchise and officially changed its name to the Quality Inn Fallsway. In the 1990’s the Fallsway Restaurant turned into the Golden Griddle and quickly became one of the busiest breakfast buffets in the city.

Then, perhaps the biggest change happened in 2005 when the Golden Griddle and the lobby of the Quality Inn were removed completely to make way for the massive Niagara SkyWheel development.

The Fallsway Motor Hotel, Clifton Gate Hotel and the Park Motor Hotel are all long gone there but these two attractions in their place will seem very familiar to most locals and tourists.

At the time of its closure on October 13, 2008, the Quality Inn Fallsway simply offered a statement, saying, “The hotel would like to thank its many loyal customers that have made the Quality Inn their choice over the years.

Since that time, a Quality Inn Fallsview opened up at 5305 Murray Street in Niagara Falls, perhaps a distant relative to the Fallsway Motor Hotel of old.

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