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The Clifton: 1910

The Clifton: 1910

Niagara Falls, new York, circa 1910. "Clifton Hotel." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


Karl May and his stay at Clifton

Karl May, writer of "Winnetou" fame, lodged at Clifton Hotel on the Canadian side of Niagara from September 24 till October 4 1908. There is a photo of him sitting on the hotel balcony with a view of the Niagara behind. My question - is the hotel shown here the same Clifton Hotel Karl May was in?

"Egyptian Deities"

What th -- ?

Ye Gods!

***el Clifton is selling Egyptian deities! I can't make out the signs in the window say.

[Clifton's first name is Hotel. - Dave]

Ye Gods... couldn't have been more obvious!

A photo illustrative of why to love Shorpy

At a glance, it's just one more nondescript postcard shot of a long-gone building in some medium-sized city, a place that has no general interest now, and that probably had very little then.

Then you are arrested by the crystalline clarity of the shot, almost magnifying, and you find that it's a sudden window into a summer's day more than one hundred years ago ... perhaps July 15. The awnings are all lowered deep, the windows are open, the pull-down blinds flap, the sheer curtains flutter. The Clifton Hotel is distinctively modern next to the forty-year old Queen Anne boarding house, or the antebellum balloon-frames behind the storefronts. You wonder - were they all demolished in "redevelopment," or did they explode, like dessicated aged kindling, in a blaze? There are two young boys in short pants and caps, one obviously the leader, with his hands in his pockets and cap pushed back; there is the comfortable dog on the doorsill, watching the street life; there is a souvenir shop improbably "Egyptian deities." (Were they associated, somehow, with Niagara Falls, or just a la mode that year? As always, there are the trolly tracks, offering you the promise of a trip further into town or the suburbs, for a mere dime.

It gives you the sense that you can simply step into that scene just, just for a moment. You can bound up those granite steps, stroll up to the front desk, tap the bell, pick up the dip pen to register. You can breathe in the summer heat, smell the dust, hear the ceiling fan blades slowly whooshing above you - experience life that is much less noisy and rushed.

Then you wake from the reverie, and move your computer mouse.

Thanks for the vacation, Shorpy.

Deities for Sale

What is that shop next door to the right? It appears to be selling Egyptian Deities, but I can't make out the rest of the sign.

[That's the Joseph T. Simon cigar shop. Egyptian Deities was a brand of cigarette. - Dave]

Cheap Grub

I can honestly say, I've never had a 25¢ meal. I'd love to know what that included.

Table for One Please

The restaurant hostess is a real dog.

Things to Come

Sometime in the future, The Robinson, Snyder's and the Richmond House will be marketed as Boutique Hotels, possibly even charming, when being compared to The Clifton.

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