Filed Under Businesses

Colonial Hotel

The Colonial Hotel, now called the Residence Inn, is located on Prospect Avenue next to Cleveland’s historic East 4th Street. The hotel was built in 1898 in combination with the Colonial Arcade by designer George H. Smith, who was also the architect of “The Arcade,” Cleveland’s more famous shopping street under glass which was built in 1890. The Colonial Hotel opened on October 21, 1898, with an informal ceremony, which was attributed to the fact that it opened a day earlier than scheduled. The Colonial Arcade, however, was not fully complete until 1911, when John F. Rust hired architect Franz Warner. Warner was able to design an adjacent arcade that would link the William and Rodgers buildings on Euclid Avenue (one block to the north) with the Colonial Hotel, thus creating the Euclid Arcade. Today the interconnected Colonial and Euclid Arcades are known together as the 5th Street Arcades.

Within a year after opening, the hotel was already being improved with the addition of a 100-room wing on the Prospect Avenue side and parallel to the Colonial Arcade. Another expansion occurred in 1901, adding nearly one hundred rooms and expanding the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel during this period occupied a considerable amount of property on the Euclid side of the street, but the side facing Prospect Avenue was shallow in comparison. With this enlargement, the Colonial Hotel would be one of the largest hotels in the city. This renovation was started so the Colonial could keep up with the accommodations and luxuries that other hotels in the city were offering. In fact, it was speculated that the Colonial only decided to attempt this expansion to keep pace with the Hollenden Hotel, which, at this period, was one of the most luxurious hotels in the city.

In the 1930s, however, during the Great Depression, Cleveland’s unemployment rate rose to encompass nearly a third of its population, which impacted the hotel industry drastically. The Colonial dealt with this problem rather well, and in fact, some of their only concerns were simply competing with other hotels in Cleveland and attempting to attract more patrons with fresh new ideas and amenities.

Though the Colonial had survived the worst economic period in the nation’s history, the hotel eventually began to decline in later years as Cleveland took a turn for the worse. This occurred in the 1970s and the 1980s, a time when Cleveland lost close to twenty-five percent of its entire population. By 1975, Cleveland stood in the nation’s highest quintile among cities in terms of poverty, unemployment, poor housing, violent crime, and municipal debt. The Colonial Hotel also felt this pressure, first by changing ownership to the Milner Hotel Company, which was based in Detroit, Michigan. This transfer was all the Colonial could do to keep alive during this tough economic time. After this exchange, things seemingly got worse for the Colonial. The Colonial kept getting devastatingly bad luck, which reflected in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, most notable being two deaths that occurred within five years of each other. The first death being Dan Duffy, a popular lawyer in Cleveland and a beloved patron to the Colonial Hotel. The second death was a John B. Caduff, whom tragically died in a fire, caused by Caduff carelessly smoking. Finally, however, to finish off these hard economic times, the Colonial Hotel closed in 1978.

This was not the end of the Colonial Hotel, however. Twenty years after the hotel's closing, an idea to re-open the hotel came into the minds of businessmen as part of broader attempts to preserve and revitalize Cleveland’s historic downtown area. This project finally got underway in 1998, when investors partnered with Marriott, a thriving hotel company, and wanted to open a Residence Inn in the former Colonial Hotel. The project would not only put a new hotel in the heart of downtown, it would also revitalize the Cleveland arcades. This eventually led to a $30 million project to renovate the space into extended stay lodging with 144 rooms of a Marriott Residence Inn and nearly 60,000 square feet of shopping. This hotel would eventually open early in 2000 and would thrive until modern day, still trying to compete with other hotels in the now revitalizing city around it.

Images

Colonial Hotel Cleveland "In the heart of the Business and Shopping district. Office Lobby, Colonial Arcade, Main Dining Room, Euclid Ave., Entrance, McCreary & Furst Proprietors"--card front. This postcard captures the essence of what the Colonial truly was--an elegant and powerful structure in the heart of downtown. Note: this photo is an artist rendering and is not accurate to hotel size or shape Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection Date: ca. 1910s
Prospect Ave., showing Colonial Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio The Colonial Hotel on the Prospect side of the street, showing the dominant Colonial Hotel sign, while also featuring shops that lined the front of the hotel. Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection Creator: J. Sapirstein Date: ca. 1910s
Colonial Hotel, Cleveland, O. Colonial Hotel was located between Euclid and Prospect Avenue. The main entrance was through the Colonial Arcade. Source: Cleveland Memory Project Creator: Rotograph Co. Date: 1905
Colonial Hotel & Keith's Theater, Cleveland, O. The Colonial Hotel in Cleveland's shopping and business district in the early twentieth century. Guests of the hotel did not have to travel far to find entertainment; vaudeville shows could be viewed next door. Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection Date: ca. 1910s
Colonial Arcade Euclid Avenue street scene featuring the Colonial Arcade. Located at 520 Euclid Avenue, the arcade is a 439-foot interior passageway through to Prospect Avenue. Source: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection Date: December 5, 1952
Prospect Avenue, 1909 The north side of Prospect looking toward East 9th Street from the Colonial Arcade. Source: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection Date: 1909
Colonial Arcade, 1900 Interior view looking toward Euclid from Prospect. Designed by George Horatio Smith, the Colonial Arcade was built in 1898 at 530 Euclid Avenue and connects Euclid to Prospect. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Source: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection Creator: Louis Baus Date: 1909
Colonial Arcade, 1910 Looking south across Euclid Avenue to the Colonial Arcade, 530 Euclid Avenue, and west to the Euclid Arcade, immediately to the right. Businesses visible on the first floor are Universal dry cleansing and dyeing, a shoe store, and a fur shop. Upper floors house dentists, tailors, a Christian Science reading room, and the Citizens Detective and Police Company. Designed by George Horatio Smith, the Colonial Arcade was built in 1898 and connects Euclid to Prospect. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Source: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection Creator: Louis Baus Date: 1910

Location

527 Prospect Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44115

Metadata

Keanu Hallowell, “Colonial Hotel,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 24, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/819.