Built in 1898 by Franklin Nicola as part of his vision for the area. He wanted to create a high society that Pittsburgh could be proud of- the beginning of a Civic Center where the elites could gather. The initial construction was 10 stories with 250 rooms. An 11thfloor laundry was added in 1911. It was host to presidents Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Dwight Eisenhower. The US Steel Corporation was essentially born here- J.P Morgan bought Carnegie Steel from Andrew Carnegie
for $492 million- and was celebrated at the “Meal of Millionaires” in 1901, where 89 of them assembled in a single room. It also hosted many banquets- here’s a menu from the 1900 Christmas here and here.
In 1909, Forbes Field opened down the street and the hotel became a place for ball players to stay during road games against the Pirates. The University of Pittsburgh also moved in next door, migrating from its northside location. As grand as it was, the hotel was on an island. It became surrounded by hospitals, private clubs and university facilities. Even the 1924 $7 million addition of the Schenley Apartments which adjoined the hotel could keep things afloat. Cultural centers and ideals had shifted to downtown Pittsburgh. In 1956, the hotel was sold to the University of Pittsburgh and became a dormitory and later the student Union.
Go to the Pittviewer and look at the 1903, 1910 and 1925 maps of the hotel.