The Empire Hotel in Stratford is located on the corner of State Highway 3 and Fenton Street. A nearby Heritage Trail sign states that the Empire was built in 1886, one of what was, at the time, five hotels in Stratford. 

This date is somewhat contradicted by a report of the Licensing Committee meeting in the Taranaki Herald on 12 June 1893. Stratford lawyer, Mr McDavitt appeared on behalf of Mr W.L.Tocker to apply for a licence "for a house to be known as the Empire". The Commercial Hotel also applied for a licence at the same hearing and on 24 July 1893 the Stratford correspondent reported that licences had been granted to both the Empire and the Commercial Hotel. 

The photograph of the Empire Hotel (1913) on the heritage trail sign shows a substantial building - at this stage it's not known when this building was erected and how much of this structure remains.

The linked document (Empire Hotel - Hooked on History, Jim Taylor 2008) includes the names of a number of the early owners/licensees.

The Taranaki Daily News reported on 26 June 2019 that the licence was now held by Kulwinder Kaur and Gurpreet Singh. 

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