391 Washington Street
Hotel Lafayette is a seven-story steel frame, concrete building designed in the French Renaissance style. It features decorative vitreous red brick and white terra cotta trim and was com- posed of several smaller rectangular building units erected between 1902 and 1926.
The original building was designed by the firm of Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs, which included the architect Louise Blanchard Bethune, and built between 1902 and 1911. In its prime, the hotel was considered one of the 15 finest hotels in the country. Besides elevators, every room featured hot and cold water and a telephone.
Bethune was the first woman known to have worked as a licensed architect in the United States. After training as an apprentice in Buffalo, she opened a collaborative firm in 1881 and began stamping drawings in her own name. Her feminist leanings can be seen from the innovations she introduced to domestic spaces, although she preferred grand civic projects as they paid better.