At nearly 100 years old,
"The theme of the beloved movie 'It's a Wonderful Life' permeates every
aspect of the hotel and reminds the traveler of times gone by. This gem should
not be missed by those planning a trip to upstate New York."--
Seneca County Chamber of Commerce
Hotel Clarence possesses a vivid history. Construction of the original hotel began in 1919 and the structure would be named The Gould Hotel after its main financier, Gould Manufacturing Company.
In 1920, The Syracuse Journal claimed The Gould Hotel to be “the most complete and perfectly equipped of the smaller hotels of New York State. Four stories in height, absolutely fireproof in construction and equipped in perfect taste and convenience, it is scheduled to become the Mecca for travelers and autoists between Rochester and Syracuse.”
Beyond its fantastic location, Gould Hotel featured gorgeous
Spanish style architecture, elaborate banquet facilities and a renowned restaurant.
For a complete history of The Gould Hotel, click
Unfortunately, The Gould Hotel eventually closed and the building was turned into apartments. It subsequently sat vacant for quite some time.
In 2009, The Gould Hotel regained its brilliance as Hotel Clarence. The hotel was acquired in 2007 by J&J Hospitality, whose intention was to revitalize the hotel and once again make it the centerpiece of the Finger Lakes region.
Jay Bernhardt and Jake McKenna are the principals of J&J Hospitality, both having extensive experience in historic renovation and hotel development.
Mr. Bernhardt is the founder and CEO of JGB Enterprises in Liverpool, NY and JGB Properties in Syracuse, NY. Mr. McKenna is the founder and CEO of Parsons-McKenna Construction Company, a design-build general contractor that has completed hundreds of commercial, retail, institutional and industrial projects in Central New York.
Hospitality has also restored, renovated and successfully re-launched the
former Mercer Mill property in Baldwinsville, NY as The
Red Mill Inn.