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The Lord Amherst Hotel

The Lord Amherst Hotel

5000 Main Street, Williamsville, NY

  • Date Built: 1961-62

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part One and Two of the Historic Preservation Certification Applications.

History:

The Lord Amherst is a U-shaped motor court hotel and adjoining restaurant designed by local architect Duane Lyman in 1961. It embodies the post World War II growth of Williamsville and retained a high degree of original integrity. The entryway, defined by a full-height columned portico, cupola, shutters and balustrades establish a Colonial Revival aesthetic that was popular in postwar Williamsville. The circulation and layout of the motel remained intact, along with many finishes (e.g. wood paneling and stone flooring) and fixtures (radiators, light fixtures and bathroom finishes).

Roadside motels emerged and transformed alongside Americans’ embrace of automobile travel and the Lord Amherst is a mid-twentieth century example of a Colonial Revival style hotel located on a major automotive thoroughfare. Car travel afforded the freedom of schedule that mass transit could not offer, and it quickly became the favored form of family travel. The Lord Amherst embodies the transition from informal and austere motel settings towards the incorporation of public spaces and community amenities, which became commonplace features of hotel chains. The design of the building was a continuation of Colonial Revival designed buildings in Williamsville including the High School, Library, and City Hall

When the Lord Amherst Motor Hotel opened its doors in July of 1962, it featured modern hospitality design and state of the art amenities tailored to the local identity of Williamsville. The Amherst Bee declared on July 19th, “Certain to become legend among today’s travelers is the new Lord Amherst Motor Hotel.” The article, written about the official opening of the motel, gushes about the building’s ability to offer “the nostalgic charms of the early American Inn, plus the comforts and conveniences that 20th Century travelers have come to expect.”

 

The project ultimately did not move forward with historic tax credits,


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