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Restore Lackawanna hotel so it can serve worshippers

Father Nelson Baker told my grandfather as he sat outside his restaurant and bakery that he was going to build a beautiful basilica in honor of the blessed mother. With that, my grandfather said he would build a hotel, because people would come from all over the country to tour and pray at Baker’s wonderful shrine and they would need a place to stay.

Knowing human nature and the character of Baker, my grandfather, Henry, and his brother, Fred, built the former Hoepfingers’ Hotel in Lackawanna. They were assured that the basilica would be an architectural masterpiece that showed respect to Our Lady of Victory.

A recent letter to the editor, “OLV, Botanical Gardens can reinvent Lackawanna,” referred to the old hotel as a “seedy apartment building.” The hotel could be brought back to its prominence and the City of Lackawanna could re-emerge as a city to be proud of if businessmen and women would restore the hotel to its original purpose – a hotel for those who come to worship at Our Lady of Victory and honor Baker, who may soon be canonized.

The previous writer asks, “Do our city fathers see the opportunity to change the face and image of Lackawanna?” Maybe if they knew the origin and feeling at that time, they could see.

Carl J. Hoepfinger

Buffalo