Krieger House register from 1870s on display at historical museum

The register of the Krieger House hotel on Main Street during the 1870s included a number of America’s historical figures such as Buffalo Bill and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

SALAMANCA — In 1865, Andrew H. Krieger and his wife, Louise, operated a hotel in the settlement of West Salamanca, then called Hemlock, at the junction point between the then NY, PA, & OH Railroad and the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad.

Later that same year, when the A G & W (Erie) Railroad moved its station to north Main Street, the Krieger’s also moved and built Salamanca’s first hotel near the new station. The Krieger House was located south of the tracks on the west side of Main Street, and about where the Yellow Cab building would later be located.

As the early passenger cars offered no amenities, arriving travelers were in desperate need of food, a room and a bath. At first, the hotel accommodated mostly railroad workers, but as Salamanca became a railroad hub, the hotel soon catered to travelers from all over the country, and the world.

Thanks to a most gracious donation made by Phil Viviano, husband of the late Jane Morris Viviano — native of Salamanca and great-granddaughter of Andrew H. Krieger — the original Krieger House register dating to 1873-1878 is now housed at the Salamanca Area Historical Society Museum.

Within its pages are the signatures of a number of America’s historical figures who patronized the Krieger House during this era. According to various sources, guests at the Krieger House included Buffalo Bill, Brigham Young Jr., John Dustin Archbald (partner to John D. Rockefeller Standard Oil Company), Horacio Alger Jr., Horace Greely and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Salamanca Area Historical Society Museum is pleased to note that this historic treasure has now been digitized with a bound paper copy available for public perusal.

Built in 1865, the Krieger House survived the destructive fire of 1880, a fire that destroyed every building on Main Street as far south as the First National Bank, the only brick building on Main Street.

Shortly thereafter, a portion of the hotel was moved to Maple Street where it served as the Krieger’s family residence. By 1882, Andrew and Louise Krieger retired from the hotel business.

The building would later function as a clubhouse for various fraternal organizations, a vocational school, a speakeasy during the prohibition era and an annex to the Maple Street School.

In 1932, the property was purchased by Fitzgerald brothers, and by 1939, the aged Krieger House was slated for demolition.

The Salamanca Area Historical Society Museum reopened to the public on Tuesday, April 8 and will resume its regular schedule of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. At this point, face masks will still be required.

For more information, contact the museum at 945-2946.