Posts Tagged ‘historic hotel’

Fire, death at old Lincoln Highway hotel in PA

January 28, 2009

One person died Tuesday in a fire that destroyed a 200-year-old inn along the Lincoln Highway in Fort Loudon, Pennsylvania. The victim was a 19-month-old child. A dozen people were left homeless and four firefighters were injured.

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From the York Daily Record

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland ran these photos and a slideshow:



Before I knew about the fire, I was at first glad to hear from Debby Heishman, community news editor for the Public Opinion in Chambersburg, who said she would be running my request for Ship Hotel information. But sadly, she told me a companion story would be about the Fort Loudon Inn, which burned Tuesday morning. That story mentions other Lincoln Highway landmarks that burned in recent memory including Sleepy Hollow Tavern near Ligonier, Swiss Chalet (former Lincoln Lodge) atop Laurel Summit, and of course the Grand View Ship Hotel. All this on the heels of the Mountain View Inn closing Sunday, and a rash of arsons in Coatesville PA, makes for a sad winter along the LH.

pa_fortloudonoutThe Fort Loudon Hotel was not at a mountaintop but rather at the base of Tuscarora Mountain in the ittle town of Fort Loudon. Its website , filled with historical information, still shows cheery pictures of the place with tales of its recent restoration by Dawn and Richard Gogin and ambitious plans for the future. The c. 1790 house has also been known as the Laurel Hotel or Vance’s Inn to LH travelers, named by Rosie Vance who ran the inn from 1900 to 1946. The common areas (living room, sun porch, etc) had been available to rent plus the inn had 11 efficiency units for long- and short-term occupancy.

PA Lincoln Highway-era business to close

January 22, 2009

The Mountain View Hotel & Conference Center, a historic hotel and restaurant founded 1924, is expected to close on Sunday, saddening not only fans of roadside rests and historic hotels, but shocking brides and others who have receptions planned.

Located between old and new routings of the Lincoln Highway east of Greensburg, the popular local landmark was one of the last old-style county hotels along the LH in Pennsylvania. Situated atop a small ridge, it also was part of the tradition in the state of roadhouses that located on mountaintops to serve the boiling radiators of early autos. The P-G and Trib both carried the news. Updates ran here and here.


The Trib noted that owner Vance Booher III blamed the recession as the most recent factor hurting business, and that his bank “has refused to extend a line of credit that would keep the hotel open. Unless he can obtain an emergency loan by the weekend, he will have ‘no feasible alternative but to cease all major operations.'” That does leave a slim window of hope for continued operation.

The inn’s 89 guest rooms are each uniquely decorated, from elegant 18th century to early American country. The original part of the inn survives along with its knotty pine paneling and great stone fireplace

Vance Booher purchased the inn in 1940 when only one of the original 40 upstairs rooms had running water. Private baths were added by knocking out walls and reducing the number of original rooms to 26.

Vance III took over in 1983 along with his wife Vicki. He has been recognized as an Advanced Certified Wine Professional by the Culinary Institute of America, one of only 16 such individuals in America and the first to be so recognized on the East Coast. Their sons were making it a fourth generation enterprise.

The Mountain View and its original 1925 outdoor pool (removed in 1973) served as a retreat for the wealthy of Pittsburgh until WWII, when it also  served as the social headquarters for Army Air Corps cadets training at the nearby airport in Latrobe, now Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (which lays atop the Lincoln Highway).

The website is still operational, with upcoming events listed. Let’s hope financing comes through to keep it going. It’s also a good reminder to patronize locally owned businesses when you can.