The December 29th issue of the Alden Advertiser covered a story on the burning of the Empire State Motel. Below is a brief history of the building.
The Empire State Hotel was another one of the Black Water Bath Hotels that helped to make Alden famous. The Empire State Hotel was built in 1851, located on the west side of Exchange Street, north of the Erie Depot.
The Hotel was owned by Henry and Christian Bernhardt and their sister, Marion, all of Buffalo, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ellers were the managers for many years.
Through the years the other Managers were Mr. Shepard, Mr. Gaus, Mr. and Mrs. John Healy, and Mrs. Leo Winegar.
Edward Kenngot, nephew of the owners, was overseer of the finances.
The Empire State Hotel had 32 guest rooms and 15 to 20 guests were accommodated each day.
People were registered from every state in the United States and usually took 21 baths in a course. Many guests came with crutches and walked away without them.
Rates were: bath alone – $1.50; bath, hotel and food – $31.50 per week per person.
Empire State Hotel had approximately 15 persons employed. The persons who lived in Alden that were employed there were – Leo Winegar, who was a masseur for 44 years; Frances Gowinski, Chef; George Klicker, Janitor; Mr. Goldhardt, Janitor; Mrs. Goldhardt, Assistant in Kitchen; Mark Elison, Masseur of Men; Mae Elison, Masseur of Women; Hattie Eastland and Vernon Winegar. (Mark Elison was also employed at Alden Inn at one time).
After many years, the Bernhardts sold to Charles Bruno and Mr. Lorenzo, and they had the business for a very short time. On Christmas Eve of 1949 the Empire State Hotel burned, never to be rebuilt.