After standing vacant for a quarter-decade, the Sternberg house, a four-story Second Empire structure, was redeveloped into Buffalo’s first restored historic hotel/banquet facility. The Mansion on Delaware Avenue has served WNY as the first of its kind, drawing national and international acclaim to both the hotel and city of Buffalo. The Mansion on Delaware Avenue stands among Buffalo’s historic landmarks as a celebrated architectural masterpiece, devotedly restored and maintained to emanate the inherent grandeur of years past.
Architect George M. Allison (about whom little is known) designed several costly dwellings on Delaware Avenue in the 1860s and 1870s, but only the Sternberg house remains. The house was built between 1869-1870 by Charles F. Sternberg, an Ohio Street grain elevator operator, for his bride, Mary Blackmar, for $200,000 ($3,486,000 in 1997 dollars, but he died before his mansion was finished. The house contains more than 20,000 square feet, has 18-foot ceilings, and has 200 windows, including several 12-foot tall bay windows which flood the interior with light.
Samuel Curtis Trubee purchased the house in the 1880s, built an annex and turned the estate into a 100-room hotel in time for the Pan-American Exposition. Some exposition visitors were forced to sleep outdoors in then-costly cardboard boxes. But the new hotel commanded the highest price in the city - three dollars a night. The annex to the hotel was built on what is now the Buffalo Club parking lot.
During the great Depression, the hotel was rumored to be a bordello, allegedly frequented by some club members. After World war II, restaurateur Hugo DiGiulio bought the establishment, turning it into the celebrated Victor Hugo Wine Cellar. The restaurant closed in the 1970s and remained abandoned until "The Mansion on Delaware Avenue”, a 28-room luxury hotel, opened for business in April 2001, after a $2.7 million renovation. It is the only butler-serviced hotel in the Buffalo area. Two ballrooms are rented for weddings, conferences, etc.