Midnight Romp Around the Hotel Lenox

Text and photos by George Cassidy Payne

In a city known for its share of historical hotels — most destroyed by now — the Lenox stands out as a surviving relic of a more glamorous age. Dating back to 1896, it is the longest continuously run hotel in the city.

According to the hotel’s handsome website: “The operation began as a luxury-suite hotel for men and women of wealth, social refinement and prominence. They expected comfort and aristocratic accommodations while visiting the Pan American Exposition.”  Indeed, aristocrats and celebrities alike found what they were looking for at the Lenox. Among its most famous guests include a young F. Scott Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington in his prime, Harry Belafonte, and Henry Fonda.

Today, the hotel caters to less notables such as myself and my little family of three. Nevertheless, the building and everything associated with it (the Lenox Grill has 550 bottled varieties of beer) still oozes with charm, elegance, and mystique.

Situated on 140 North Street in the Allentown neighborhood, the Hotel Lenox was originally built as an apartment building. It was converted into a hotel in 1900. It offered an electric carriage service exclusively for its guests
Mansions surrounded the hotel back then and still do today. Across the street from the hotel stood the Metcalfe House (destroyed in 1980), which was designed by the prestigious architectural firm, McKim, Mead and White.


Our view from room 828. The elevator is slow, a bit jumpy, and drenched in the scent of yesteryear. Trust me, the ride up is worth it, as you can tell from this spectacular view of Buffalo’s skyline
When in Buffalo…after my wife and son tucked in for the night, I decided to take my camera and go for a little romp around the neighborhood.
Just around the corner stands the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. After McKinley was shot and killed in Buffalo, Roosevelt became one of only three president’s to be sworn in outside Washington, D.C.
Teddy looms large. Just as he did in life, this statue of Teddy Roosevelt captures the muscular, confident, always optimistic vitality of the 26th President of the United States. Over the years, Buffalo would continue to hold a special place in his heart.
“Teddy’s Roosevelt’s kin, FDR said, “When I come to Buffalo, I think that this city and your sister city of Detroit probably can be held up as examples of just what this country is striving for…in relations between all the nations of the world.”


Even if you don’t eat chicken wings, a stop at the Anchor Bar (home of the iconic food) is a must see cultural destination for any visitor to Buffalo. Less than a football throw away from the Lenox, the Anchor Bar has been serving up bar grub and solid jazz for decades.