Monday, July 2, 2012

Hotel Antlers Then & Now

Early postcard (note no roof sign).
The former Hotel Antlers is another one of those icons of Lorain, along with the Lighthouse and the Easter Basket in Lakeview Park, that everyone is familiar with.

It was built in 1922 by the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks No. 1301. In its heyday, it was a fine hotel with 100 modern rooms, and facilities for conventions, private parties and weddings. It hosted the Victory Celebration luncheon featuring Admiral Ernest J. King in September 1945.

The hotel went into decline in the 1960s before finally being abandoned in the early 1970s. It was purchased by Jon Veard in the mid-1980s and beautifully renovated. Today, it houses 39 luxury apartments along with some commercial tenants.

It's currently for sale (which you can read about here.)

The Hotel Antlers was a popular subject for postcards and it is fairly easy to find several on Ebay at any time. Here are a few recent ones (below).

Vintage postcard postmarked 1931. Note second roof sign facing west.
Undated vintage postcard. Note new location of roof sign.
Vintage postcard postmarked 1937.
Photo dated 1948.
Vintage postcard postmarked 1952.
Although it's easy to find vintage postcards of the Hotel Antlers, what isn't easy is trying to take a "now" photo of the building. I was literally scrambling for my life while trying to grab a shot of the building while standing in the center of West Erie this past Saturday morning. I was amazed that there was so much traffic. I guess that's a good thing!

I have a few memories of the Hotel Antlers through the years.

I remember the hotel when it was creepy and run-down in the 1960s, thanks to our weekly Saturday morning visits to Downtown Lorain for trumpet lessons. The building was a depressing symbol of Lorain's reversal of fortune that was beginning to take place at that time.

At the other end of the spectrum, I was lucky to be a member of the big band that performed for the open house that was held to celebrate the Hotel Antler's renovation in the mid-1980s. We were able to tour the building and it was impressive. The band performed there a few more times for various events in subsequent years.


Randall Chet said...

as a teenager in the late 70's I remember "touring" the Antlers - then I remember the big open house after the renovation. I probably saw you there. What a grand building.

Drew Penfield said...

What I've always wondered is how much it costs to live in one of those luxury apartments.

Col. Matt Nahorn said...

I have a skeleton key for one of the rooms at the Hotel and also the original building's architectural drawings here at my Museum.

MR said...

I heard that during renovations, dead bodies kept being found in the walls.