Hearing From You: The Breuer Hotel

March 17th, 2023

By John Marks, Curator

Historic Geneva has tens of thousands of photos in its collection. There are over 800 James G. Vail images from the 1870s. Postcards show Geneva in the 1910s and 1920s, and PB Oakley captured the city from the 1930s to the late 1960s. However, the period from 1880 to the early 1900s is hit-and-miss. We have photos but nothing close to a comprehensive collection.

Breuer Hotel seven men on sidewalk children on balcony

Breuer Hotel

Barbara Clise shared this image of the Breuer Hotel at 424 Exchange Street. Heinrich Frederich Breuer, the aproned gentleman in the middle, opened a saloon in 1879. We think it was taken between 1894 and the fall of 1900, when Fred Brewer, as he was called in the newspapers, passed away.

I used this image in the March History Happy Hour, showing Geneva photos from around 1898. We know the Exchange Street Salvation Army, which replaced the hotel, was built in 1926. A woman at the happy hour asked, “What happened to the hotel? Did it burn down or was it torn down?”

Just as we rely on folks to share photos, we rely on you to ask us questions and not let us coast along. After Mr. Breuer’s death, Dennis Sullivan was listed as hotel owner in 1901. It was the Livingston Hotel, owned by Henry Carr and Clinton Long, in the 1903 city directory. In November 1903, realtor T.H. Sweeney & Son advertised the Brewer (sic) Hotel as “a bargain if sold at once.”

1925 Exchange Street map 422 highlighted

1925 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

By June 1904 the Phelps Citizen said, “The Brewer (sic) hotel property on Exchange street, Geneva, has been purchased by the Salvation Army and will be converted into a headquarters for the army.” Sanborn fire insurance maps show that stores were in the front of the building. The one-story hall in back was used by the Salvation Army.

In 1925 a new building was proposed and a campaign was launched to raise money. The two-story building would have a meeting hall on the first floor, with rooms upstairs for Salvation Army staff and their families. The Geneva Daily Times reported, “The present Salvation Army Hall [in back] will be retained and used as a Sunday School room.” Apparently only the front hotel part of the building was demolished.

926 422 Exchange Street no windows

424 Exchange Street, 1926.



This 1926 photo shows the new building near completion but lacking windows. It was dedicated on January 23, 1927. A new citadel and community center was opened at 41 North Street in 1974. Today, Baroody’s Cigar Store is in this storefront.

2 responses to “Hearing From You: The Breuer Hotel”

  1. Charlie Bauder says:

    Enjoyed this article. Great information as to how downtown evolved.

  2. Lezs Breuer says:

    Jeff asked if this Breuer was any relation to me and the answer is “yes”. He was my Great Grandfather. I used to have a couple tokens somewhere that were used to buy beer at the hotel. Pretty cool that Barb has been getting into the geneology and coming up with a lot of neat facts about our relatives as Barb is a second cousin of mine and has been sharing some interesting pics and facts.

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