OK! What’s in a name? When the new hotel (replacing the earlier Larkin Hotel) was built at Latta and North Greece Roads it was simply called The North Greece Hotel. That was in 1909; but not long after it opened, it be came the Moerlbach Hotel named for a new local brewery that supplied its beer to the hotel bar. Just prior to World War One the name again reverted to North Greece. The start of the 1920s saw the 13-year run of Prohibition, a change of ownership, and the new name, The Domino Inn. Newspapers of the period often mention the federal agents raiding the hotel and seizing illegal beer and liquor or the running of a still. Because of the numer ous saloons along Latta Road, certain local clergy of the time called Latta Road, “The Road to Hell”. This did not stop the popular spot from hosting political functions and local fire company events with good food featured in the enlarged dining room at the rear. Dancing to live music was featured at least four nights a week.
For a very short period in the early 1930s, the name was again changed, this time to Cosmo Inn. Nineteen thirty-eight saw new owners now calling it the Corner House Hotel. Their annual Valentine, St. Patrick, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving events continued until the beginning of World War Two. Partially because of rationing and scarcity of goods, the Hotel closed for a few years after 1941.
The end of the war saw the final and most memorable years ahead for the hotel. Raymond and Irene DeMay bought the closed building in late 1945. A thorough refurbishing, updated restrooms and kitchen greeted the eager clientele at its reopening. More popular than ever, the celebration of holidays, banquets, and parties continued. The usual Fish Fry on Friday night was followed by a Teen-Hop from 8 to midnight.
The husband and wife partnership continued until Ray’s passing on June 23, 1974. “Ma or Mother DeMay”, as Irene became known, continued the business. She celebrated the 40th anniversary of the DeMay Hotel on April 4, 1985, with a special Genesee Beer Night. With each passing year, it became harder to continue as it once was, but it did go on until Irene’s death, at age 83 on March 10, 2000.
Now, thirteen years after the Demay Hotel was shuttered, a malaise of melancholy and decay has overtaken all the happy times and memories the tired walls shelter. Unless a buyer is found soon, “father time” will claim one more historic building in Greece.
Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office.
More on the Hotel of Many Names is featured in the following Bicentennial Snapshots: