When, in 1800, the Seneca Turnpike Company was organized, with a capital of $110,000, transportation to the West was assured. Stores and inns for the accomodation of these travelers sprang up like mushrooms. Bagg's Hotel was founded in 1794 by Moses Bagg of Westfield, Massachusetts, who came to Utica March 12, 1794. The next year he built a two-story inn on the corner of John and Main Streets. He conducted this tavern until his death in 1805, when it was taken over by his son, Moses Bagg, Jr., a surveyor and merchant. In 1812, the old building was torn down and the central section of the brick hotel built. It was conducted by Mr. Bagg, Jr. until 1836, when he sold it to the Bagg's Hotel Company.
Bagg's Hotel entertained many distinguished guests. Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Generals, Kings, etc. all often stayed at the Hotel. Abraham Lincoln even stopped here on his way to Washington as President-elect.
Thomas R. Proctor became proprietor in 1869 and remained in charge for twenty years. Grover Cleveland was a frequent visitor when governor, and while president. In 1890, Mr. Proctor retired and leased Bagg's Hotel to Captain D. M. Johnson who later put the hotel in the charge of his son, William T. Johnson, in 1896.