It continued to operate as the Hotel St. Paul until the 1970’s when it was purchased by a non-profit group that converted the building into 6 apartments for subsidized housing.
That non-profit went out of business around 2008. Bill Erdos, who had already redeveloped a number of downtown Wooster properties, was asked if he would purchase the building which was next door to the SoMar Wine Cellar that he had just restored to a thriving retail space.
While talking to some people at SoMar, Bill heard of the great boutique hotel experience they had while visiting another city. That planted the idea of a boutique hotel into Bill’s mind.
David Krebs of Aodk Inc. Architecture Office created the design. Construction, all done by local craftsmen, began in May 2011 and the hotel received her first guests in November 2011. The entire building was gutted. The only two interior walls that remained in the buildings are those on either side of the stairs. Every piece of wiring, every bit of plumbing, every surface in the building is new.
With respect to the historic nature of the building, exposed brick walls remained wherever possible. During demolition, an elaborate tin ceiling was found under dry wall and layers of drop ceiling. The ceiling was carefully removed and restored and now graces the lobby. Another historical piece is the stained glass window in the lobby. The stained glass window was found in Townsend Antiques, just up the street from the hotel. With the inscription “St. Paul O.P.N.” it seemed destined to find a place in the restoration.
Other than these few items, the St. Paul is a totally contemporary hotel. The furnishings are clean, sleek, and modern. The beds, dressers, and desks were custom made by Schantz Organ Company in nearby Orrville, Ohio. The organ company has been working to expand into the custom wood working business and the St. Paul is the first large project of its type. The black walnut furniture is an elegant addition to every room.
The other striking component in each room is the luxury bath. Each bathroom is outfitted with Italian tile. The floors are heated to 85 degrees and the showers feature three water sources: a rainforest shower head, a wall mount and a hand held wand. Each shower is enclosed in tempered glass custom made by Wooster Glass Company.
There are a total of 12 rooms in the new hotel with two of them being two room suites. These suites are divided by zinc doors that were preserved and restored from the recently demolished Freedlander Department Store, a long time anchor of downtown Wooster. The rear suite has a private outdoor deck with a 4 person hot tub.
The hallways and public spaces of the hotel are decorated with black & white photos that are the work of local photographers. The hallways feature collections of photos that are tied together by a single theme (industry, agriculture, education, government). Color prints of the work of contemporary artists add a splash of color to the rooms.
From the Italian marble surrounding the linear fireplace in the lobby to the high tech features of the building, the St. Paul Hotel is an experience that is not duplicated in Wooster or likely in Northeast Ohio.