Posts Tagged ‘hotel’

Driving the Lincoln in 1919 ~ part 4, Bedford PA

June 4, 2018

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Beatrice Larned Massey, her husband, and their two friends had stopped in Harrisburg, Pa., then headed to Chambersburg, where they joined the Lincoln Highway. Now they pointed their new Packard twin-six touring car towards Bedford:

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Unidentified tourists along the Juniata River east of Bedford, Pa. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library, lhc2371.]

“Our third day was still a drizzle; we would no sooner have the top down than we would have to put it up again, and often the side curtains as well. Our objective point was the charmingly quaint town of Bedford, and the Bedford Arms. This part of Pennsylvania was more beautiful than what we had been through, and every mile of the day’s run was a pleasure.

“I have not spoken of our lunches, a most important item by one o’clock. We had brought a small English hamper, fitted with the usual porcelain dishes, cutlery, tin boxes, etc., for four people, and unless we were positive that a good place to eat was midway on the road, we prepared a lunch, or had the hotel put one up for us. This latter plan proved both expensive and unsatisfactory. Usually Toodles was sent foraging to the delicatessen shops for fresh rolls, cold meats and sandwiches, eggs, fruit, tomatoes, and bakery dainties, and the hotel filled our thermos bottles with hot coffee. We carried salt and pepper, mustard, sweet and sour pickles, or a relish, orange marmalade, or a fruit jam, in the hamper, and beyond that we took no staple supplies on the whole trip. We met so many people who carried with them a whole grocery-store, even to sacks of flour, that you would imagine there was not a place to get food from the Atlantic to the Pacific….

“We have been told so often that one has to develop an ‘open-air’ spirit to really enjoy a long motor trip! Quite true! I can’t imagine what the fun can be of touring in a closed limousine, and yet we have met that particularly exclusive party more than once. On the whole, an absence of flies, ants, mosquitoes, and sand and dust in one’s bed and food does not detract from the pleasure of the trip. It may be all right to endure such annoyances for a few days in the woods, to fish or hunt but weeks and more weeks of it….!

“But I have digressed, and left you at the Bedford Arms, one of the most artistic, attractive inns that we found. The little touches showed a woman’s hand. Flowers everywhere, dainty cretonnes, willow furniture, and pretty, fine china; in appearance, courtesy, and efficiency, the maids in the dining room might have come from a private dwelling.

“Will someone tell me why there are not more such charming places to stop at on our much-traveled main highways. Why must hotel men buy all the heavy, hideous furniture, the everlasting red or green carpets and impossible wall-paper, to make night hideous for their guests—to say nothing of the pictures on their walls? It is a wonder one can sleep.

“There is much of interest to see in Bedford—really old, artistic houses, not spoiled by modern gewgaws, set in lovely gardens of old-fashioned flowers, neatly trimmed hedges, and red brick walks. There were few early Victorian eyesores to mar the general beauty of the town. As we were walking down the main street about sunset, we heard a great chattering and chirping, as if a thousand birds were holding a jubilee. Looking up, we found, on a projecting balcony running along the front of all the buildings for two blocks, hundreds of martins discussing the League of Nations and Peace Treaty quite as vigorously as were their senatorial friends in Washington. They were fluttering about and making a very pretty picture. It sounded like the bird market in Paris on a Sunday morning, which, in passing, is an interesting sight that few tourists ever see.”

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Follow-up on Mountain View cites cash flow

January 26, 2009

An article in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Mountain View Inn near Greensburg, Pa., had not gotten the loan it needed and was closing.

“First Commonwealth Bank on Friday refused to renew a revolving line of credit the innkeepers said they needed to see the hotel through the four slowest months for the hospitality industry,” according to the article.

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Despite 60 weddings booked this year (a 50% increase), the owners of the Lincoln Highway landmark said they needed the funds to “see the hotel through the four slowest months for the hospitality industry.” They also cited competition from numerous national hotel chains that have opened nearby. In recent decades, the Boohers invested $4 million in building two new wings, doubling the inn’s capacity to 90 rooms.

Famous guests included Harrison Ford, the Dalai Lama, Fred Rogers, Arnold Palmer, Bernadette Peters, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Guy Lombardo.

Lincoln Highway Companion extra photo 2

January 19, 2008

NV_Hotel NevadaEly’s Hotel Nevada offers 63 rooms, a casino, and a 24-hour restaurant. When the 6-story hotel opened in 1929, it was the tallest building in the state. Rooms today start at just $35.

Pgh Automobile Row dealership to be demolished

January 15, 2008

Don Allen Auto City, a well-known car dealership on Pittsburgh’s East End, is set to be replaced by a $230 million development. The c. 1920 showoom and related areas cover seven acres where Baum Boulevard intersects Liberty Avenue, and at the confluence of three communities: Shadyside, Bloomfield and East Liberty. All buildings will be demolished and over the next four years, the site will fill with townhouses, condominiums, a 9-story hotel, 1,200 parking spaces, and 700,000 square feet of office and related space. A triangular park bordered by Liberty, Baum and South Aiken Avenue will also be built. Numerous publications and sites are covering the story including Hotels, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Don Allen opened 52 years ago and has been owned by the Voelker family for 50 years. The building long had a 1960s metallic facade, but it was removed in recent years, exposing the brick underneath. A mural from that period remains in the parts department, its fate unknown. The business stretches a few blocks along Baum Boulevard, once the city’s Automobile Row. It was a main road into Pittsburgh’s wealthy eastern suburbs, and so became a leading retail, repair, and manufacturing center for bicycles, and then for cars by the 1910s. Scattered remnants survive, including a former Ford assembly plant a couple block west, a 1933 Modernist Chrysler showroom designed by Albert Kahn a few blocks east, and a showroom turned drug store across from that. A few blocks farther eastward is a marker for the first drive-in filling station, which is more correctly the first architect designed drive-in station, built by Gulf in 1913

This video report below includes a woman who says “they need something that’s more affordable…. It’s just outrageous trying to find a place that people can afford.” Another questions whether more housing and hotels are needed. Click on the image to open the video’s web page:

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Inventory liquidation is ongoing, and site preparation should start this summer, pending city approval and funding; according to the Post-Gazette, “The project partners acknowledge that they hope to secure public financing to assist with the project, although they were not willing today to specify what type or how much.”

Hammer Motel, a Kearney landmark no more

January 3, 2008

The Hammer Motel on the Lincoln Highway in Kearney, Nebraska, was famous for its sign topped by a giant hammer and three supporting poles made to look like big nails. Named for the Hammer family, it served travelers for decades before being demolished in 1995 for parking.

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Postcards from Flickr friend Allen/Roadsidepictures.

Piecing together the story from various sources, John and Nina Hammer were married in 1935, then moved from Omaha to Kearney in 1938. John served in WWII and in 1947 they built the motel along Watson Blvd/24th St/US 30 West. A 1952 listing in the city’s Polk’s Directory also lists Fred and Belle Hammer as owners. Signs show it was a Best Western member, and matchbooks advertise that it was part of the Friendship Inn chain.

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The family sold the motel in 1962 and it closed in 1987. The adjacent University of Nebraska at Kearney then acquired it for student housing known as Hammer Hall or Hammer Apartments or just “The Hammer.” School literature described it as “a unique living opportunity for the approximately 50 upperclass residents of this remodeled hotel facility. Each convenience-style apartment has a private entrance, living room and bathroom. A variety of room sizes, laundry and kitchen facilities, front desk services, and ‘front-door’ parking are some of the significant advantages of the facility.” But in 1995, it was razed to create additional campus parking – see blue box below for what I believe is the site.

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A 2003 newsletter article explained that the Hammers were longtime supporters of the university, and that a $27,000 gift from son Fred E. Hammer to the University of Nebraska Foundation would landscape the lot. His donation also provided for “benches, tables and columns reminiscent of the columns that marked the entrance to the old Hammer Motel” to make the parking lot “a place for students to gather.” There was also to be a plaque mounted on one of the columns commemorating the motel as a historic Kearney site. “The parking lot will still be functional,” Hammer said, “but now it will be pretty as well.”

Nothing remains of the motel except the basic shape of the site, some postcards, and the parking area now known as Lot 27.

Fire at Mountain View Inn, Greenburg, PA

December 20, 2007

A fire broke out around noon today at the Mountain View Inn, a landmark along the Lincoln Highway 4 miles east of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The fire was near a central tower, which was damaged, but no one was injured and the inn was set to reopen later today. Brief reports were in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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The hotel, opened in 1924 (as pictured above), sits between the Lincoln Highway and its bypass, US 30. The tower, now used for the logo of the inn, is a more recent addition.

Film of S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel, 1972

December 2, 2007

The S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel was perhaps the best-known, most-visited landmark along the 3,300+ miles of Lincoln Highway. The famous roadside attraction was 17 miles west of Bedford, Pennsylvania, but unfortunately burned in 2001. With my Lincoln Highway Companion book ready for the editors, I’m starting on my next book, a fun look at the Ship. I first wrote about the Ship in 1989 and have been gathering information, recollections, and photos since then.

People took lots of snapshots there, and though they probably took movies, few of those surface, so it’s exciting to see this rare film from 1972! (Total time 3:32) Roger Shaulis shoots out the back window as they speed east on the Lincoln Highway through the Seven Mile Stretch, passing coal trucks. About 45 seconds in, they arrive at the Ship and go to the deck for the view and some goofing. The family jumps on the Turnpike for the final minute, passing through three tunnels on their way to New Jersey.

PC 2: Weeden Motor Hotel, Marshalltown, Iowa

December 1, 2007

The folks who sent this card in 1951 from the Weeden Motor Hotel wrote, “Not many motels along this route so far. Lucky we stopped when we did, got the last one and the next one is 25 miles…. When we got to Dwight [Illinois, on Route 66] Randy wanted to know if we were in Calif.”

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The original Lincoln Highway went through downtown; this was on a US 30 bypass (itself now bypassed). The card says the motel was 3 miles south and 1/2 mile west of town. I think it later became the Weeden Holiday Motel with a bigger c. 1970 sign at 2569 240th Street/Iowa Avenue. Any readers know its history? Or about Lloyd’s next door, which claimed to be Iowa’s most beautiful restaurant?