In 1846 Louis Rueger established the first hotel at the corner of 9th and Bank Streets. This was a bustling location, directly across the street from the Virginia State Capitol building, and only one block from the financial epicenter of the city. The hotel was primarily a bootlegging saloon, selling rooms to intoxicated clientele of Mr. Rueger's restaurant and bar. On the gallery walls of our restaurant you will find historic black and white photographs from this era, which serve as a vivid reminder of humbler days, when the Hotel Rueger stood only three stories tall.
As the confederate capitol during the Civil War, Richmond became a battlefield. In 1865 when the city fell to the Union Army, warehouses along the James River were set ablaze to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Winds swept the flames up Ninth Street, and while the State Capitol building was unharmed, the original Hotel Rueger burned to the ground.
The hotel did not reopen its doors for nearly 50 years. In 1912, William Rueger, Louis' grandson, broke ground for the new 10 story Hotel Rueger. In the July 7, 1912 Richmond Times-Dispatch article announcing the hotel, the writer boasted, one of the finest hotels in the South will within the next ten months adorn the corner of Ninth and Bank Streets. At that time the hotel featured 136 rooms, of which 80% had private baths. There was a café, a grill for businessmen, a ladies dining room, eight private dining rooms, and modern elevators.
The property remained the Hotel Rueger until the 1950's. Ownership changes brought new names (Hotel Raleigh, Mark Raleigh Hotel), and in 1956 an 11th floor of guestrooms was added.
In 1982, Fredericksburg developer Larry Silver saw the potential of this historic building. After purchasing the property, he gutted what was then a 123 room hotel to create 59 very spacious one and two room suites. Only the modern elevators from 1912 were left intact (with some equipment upgrades) to maintain the atmosphere of a small European Hotel. Mr. Silver christened the property the Commonwealth Park Suites Hotel.
In 2004, an affiliate of SMI Hotel Group purchased the hotel, and with our recent renovations are proud to reintroduce The Commonwealth to our guests.