|Lobby ceiling detail|
The opportunity to get inside before the renovations kick in was too much to pass by, and I managed to get our tickets just in the nick of time.
The OHA doesn't look for ghosts on tours like this - it's not a seance or anything like that. Instead, they have actors portraying people who would have been around back in the day. Today it was folks who would have worked at the Hotel, including the concierge, the hotel detective, a bell captain, and a maid. We also were thoroughly entertained by a singer who did a pretty good Al Jolson, Ole Blue Eyes and John Lennon.
|Hotel Syracuse Lobby|
If you're interested, there's a store directory from Edwards on the Department Store Museum blog, as well as some additional history from folks who remember it. It notes that 'our' Edwards dated to 1889, with expansion into other upstate cities (Rochester, Buffalo, Camillus and Dewitt!) happening later.
We learned from the entertainer ghost that the hotel was wired so that music played anywhere - in the ballrooms or the clubs - could be heard everywhere: the 1920's version of whole-house audio. The room he performed in eventually became the Library disco (one of only four in the country), the home for Wise Guys comedy club (recently closed in its third or fourth location) and then Viva Debris (comedy and magic).
The drapes and paint (a peach/pink/salmon color scheme), the crystal chandeliers and sconces, beautiful stone columns and white-veined black marble under the giant windows, the soaring ceiling, and the faded carpet, are as they were when the hotel closed for good back in 2004. So too is the obligatory parquet floor on which thousands of couples danced.
And now, it's the hint of what's to come for the Hotel Syracuse that has me excited. We've previously been made aware that the original entrance, on Onondaga Street, will become the primary entrance once again.
|Original lobby ceiling|
We learned that, underneath the paint in the Persian Terrace, there's a mural that hopefully can be restored. A small section of it is visible, including what someone said was part of an elephant's trunk.
There's so much to look back at, and so much to look forward to, as our grand Hotel Syracuse is restored. She may have a new name then and fewer rooms then she did in the 1920's, but we'll still have her history, thanks to the OHA, and hopefully there will be decades more history to be made there. I know that I'm not the only one who will be following the progress of her restoration/renovation - and that we're not the only ones already planning on spending the night there come 2016 when she opens once again.