Sleepy Hollow Tavern fire being investigated

Cy’s matchbook
Above: A vintage Sleepy Hollow matchbook, courtesy Cyrus Hosmer.

The weekend fire at the former Sleepy Hollow Tavern along the Lincoln Highway in western Pennsylvania has left the building charred and condemned. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, after burning overnight Saturday onto Sunday, firefighters were called back at 11:30 Sunday morning when the roof reignited. The second floor, which once housed a dozen hotel rooms, has fallen into the first floor restaurant. Click the image below for the full story from the Trib:


Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Banker, who led some 20 area fire crews, said when he arrived, smoke was coming out of the building from every direction. After attempting to enter the 1939 wood-frame structure, they turned back and could only fight it from outside. There were no injuries reported, but KDKA-TV reports that state police are saying the blaze is suspicious in nature.

Sleepy Hollow was a popular stop since being built 1939-1940, but suffered after the westbound lanes of Lincoln Highway/US 30 were moved across Loyalhanna Creek. A small causeway was added, and after some success as a buffet in the 1980s, the business has had various remodelings. The Trib reports that the most recent owners tried filing for bankruptcy in November.

WPXI-TV has a short story calling it a biker bar. KDKA now has their video report online – click the images below:


The surrounding area remains visually stunning: in 2005, the county purchased 1,239 forested acres from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for $900,000 to create The Loyalhanna Gorge Greenway, stretching 3 miles along both sides of the Loyalhanna Creek from the Kingston Dam to Longbridge through Chestnut Ridge.

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12 Responses to “Sleepy Hollow Tavern fire being investigated”

  1. Denny Gibson Says:

    I recall driving by it a couple of times but never stopped. Maybe I would’ve the next time but I definitely should’ve the last time. Everytime I say that, which is much too often, it reminds me of a bunch of other road related should’ves.

  2. Kimberly Parks Says:

    What a shame – I grew up in Ligonier and my parents always went to the Sleepy Hollow Tavern for special occasions. My sister also worked at the Hollow Tavern for a bit. I am glad my children and husband had the pleasure of eating there a few years ago. Certainly will be a missed roadside attraction.

  3. Tim Roble Says:

    How sad……I play for the Raiders…….The Hollow was my favorite place to play!.such a great atmosphere!..Had hopes of it re-opening someday. Now those hopes are gone. I just drove past The Hollow Saturday afternoon, hours before the fire. So glad i got that “last look”!!!!


    WOW! my wife and i just drove out there friday night to have a drink and found out they were closed….we have not been there since mid summer to eat, we always took the kids to eat there, they loved it! i dont think it was the same since the new owners took it over but all in all it was a great place to go,,,,i went there as a kid with my parents.

  5. john kcnrts Says:

    i cerntainly hope its gets investigated

  6. Courtney Says:

    I have a lot of great memories at the Tavern from wing nights, to birthdays, and just relaxing nights out. My fiance and I had eaten there the weekend before the closed, and we had high hopes that they would re-open again one day.. unfortunately that day will not come. I certainly hope this gets investigated.. we just drove past it earlier today.. what a shame. I will miss the sweet and hot wings, to me they were the best around.

  7. Jim Says:

    It is really a shame – have been going there for years and will especially miss the White Chili – have never found a white chili recipe that equals what they served.

  8. paul harris Says:

    ITS just a shame…it was such a nice place to go saturday nites with the live bands..the crowd was mixed an never any trouble there…I took many a date there..They all loved it…it broke my heart when it burned down…I wish someone would rebuild it but i doubt it..

  9. Kristin Says:

    NEW – Ligonier man charged with arson

    By Ted Potts
    The Tribune-Democrat

    WESTMORELAND COUNTY— State police said Tuesday that Edgar Clinton Wiltrout, 55, of Ligonier, has been arrested and charged with arson and other offenses in a fire Feb. 23 that destroyed The Hollow Tavern in Unity Township, Westmoreland County.
    Damage was estimated at approximately $450,000. Nobody was hurt, police said.
    In addition to arson, Wiltrout is facing charges of burglary, causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering another person in the incident, which took place shortly after 11 p.m., police said.
    Wiltrout was arraigned before on-call District Judge Denise Thiel and then placed in Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail pending a preliminary hearing tentatively set for May 1.

    Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

  10. Muzz Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Really a drag — all of these wonderful places gone. Just finding your website now (researching the Ship Hotel for a novel I’m writing) and it’s bringing back memories!

  11. brianbutko Says:

    Yes, every year more of the old roadside places fall.

    I’m writing about the Ship too, a non-fiction history with recollections. Best of luck on yours.

  12. ThomasM Says:

    The Washington Furnace Inn reopened May 2012, and it is wondeful! The Sleepy Hollow Tavern has been rebuilt completly and it looking for a tenant.

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