Historic Buffalo
Phoenix Hotel Historic Buffalo NY

Fig. 1: Phoenix Hotel, G. Metzger’s Livery, and Timothy Crowley, undertaker and coffin maker (picture taken before 1865), Buffalo, NY.

Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel building was built in 18161 by Oziel Smith2 on the east side of Main Street, between Broadway and Mohawk. It was located at 361 to 365 Main Street, on the former site of the house belonging to Mrs. Lovejoy,3 who died during the burning of Buffalo in 1813, and directly opposite from 437 Main Street, the site of the St. John House (the only house to survive the burning of Buffalo), which was demolished in 1871.4

The Phoenix Hotel was opened around 1816 by Raphael Cook and operated by him until his death on April 15, 1821.5 When Millard Fillmore moved to Buffalo in 1821, his first residence was at the Phoenix Hotel.6

The Phoenix Hotel building was owned by Phebe Smith (Oziel Smith’s wife) “and her heirs” in March 1850, and was being rented by Erastus T. Cross, who was then the proprietor of the Phoenix Hotel. An early morning fire on March 10, 1850 burned down the nearby American Hotel on Main Street, between Eagle and Court. Sparks from the fire were carried by the wind and set fire to neighbor George Metzger’s stables as well as the stables of the Phoenix Hotel. The Phoenix Hotel was saved by tearing down the stables, although some property inside the hotel was damaged during removal.7

American Hotel Fire - Main St between Eagle and Court St

Fig. 2: The ruins of the American Hotel on Main Street, between Eagle and Court Street (March 11, 1850). Courtesy Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

The Phoenix Hotel was demolished in 1865 for the construction of the Tifft House.8

Tifft House Historic Buffalo NY

Fig. 3: Tifft House (1865-1903), Buffalo, NY.

Tifft House Historic Buffalo NY

Fig. 4: Tifft House (c.1870), Buffalo, NY.

NE Corner of Main and Broadway

Fig. 5: Northeast corner of Main and Broadway (c.1870s), Buffalo, NY, the buildings were demolished in 1876.

NE Corner of Main and Broadway after 1876

Fig. 6: Northeast corner of Main and Broadway (after 1876), Buffalo, NY. German Insurance Company Building, erected 1876. At right, Lafayette Presbyterian Church until May 10, 1896; afterwards, a theater.