Posts Tagged ‘Lancaster PA’

Fire destroys Lancaster-area restaurant

December 20, 2010

A fire Saturday night destroyed a restaurant in Paradise Township near Lancaster, Pa., that had closed after a  fire in 2008. The Garden Gate Diner at 3105 Lincoln Highway East, formerly the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and the Route 30 Family Restaurant, was the scene of the two-alarm blaze, as seen in the photo from Lancaster Online.

Another article reported that a rooftop cooling unit crashed through the ceiling into the dining room. More than a dozen fire companies responded to the scene. The older section of the building, which includes the kitchen and counter area, is standing but sustained smoke and water damage; the newer section to the west, which includes the main dining room, collapsed in the fire and was cleared by fire crews.

1934 news tells of Lincoln Highway expansion

November 30, 2009

Lancaster Online posted their regular Flashback column, which often has news of the Lincoln Highway. This story from December 1934 explains how the highway was to be widened east of Lancaster through Soudersburg. It’s interesting to see that this always-crowded stretch was already straining under its traffic 75 years ago.

State and local officials announced that an eight-mile-long project to widen the Lincoln Highway, from the east end of Lancaster City to Leaman Place, was beginning in a few weeks. Plans called for a four-lane highway from the city to Mellinger’s Church, and a three-lane road from the church to Leaman Place. The project was made possible by the decision to abandon trolley service from Broad and East King streets to Leaman Place. That move made available the land needed to widen the road, which was considered one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the area.

PA Lincoln Highway Gateway Enhancement Plan

July 29, 2009

Anyone who has driven the Lincoln Highway near Lancaster, Pa. — especially east of the city on US 30 — knows that traffic congestion makes it near impossible to enjoy the road’s heritage. Now the Lancaster County Planning Commission has released an enhancement plan to address traffic, signage, and accessibility. You can view the PDF HERE.

PA_Lancaster plan

The report states:

This project is the first step in implementing the Lancaster County Strategic Tourism Development Plan, adopted by the County Commissioners in 2005….

The Lincoln Highway is a high priority because:
• It’s a highly visible gateway into the city and surrounding countryside
• It’s an important part of the county’s economy
• It plays a key role in the county’s tourism “mix”

The publication lists the many problems and potential solutions. One challenge is that the area is known for rural and Amish attractions, but the crush of tourists and modern businesses has pushed out many farms and even the mid-century fabricated attractions.

In the 1990s, local officials cited tourist complaints that there was nothing to do after dark, when Amish-themed attractions closed. The response led to outlet malls, which have spawed more chain stores and wide highways, resulting in the disappearance of almost all vintage businesses and buildings. Accessing any of it is frustrating for tourists and commuters, not to mention horse-drawn buggies. It will be interesting to see if such growth can now be reined in.

Lancaster vintage inn may be demolished

March 3, 2009

The recession has not slowed development east of Lancaster PA, on a strip that has not stopped reinventing itself for a half-century. Lancaster Online reports that among the projects being considered is redevelopment at 2331 Lincoln Highway East, site of a Rodeway Inn. It would mean the demolition of the former Italian Villa East Restaurant whose motto on old postcards was “A touch of Italy in Dutchland.”


According to a follow-up today, the owners plan to demolish the restaurant and build an 83-room hotel to connect to the existing 39-room Rodeway Inn. The 122 rooms would be operated Rodeway Inn and another chain owned by the same company, sharing a breakfast area between them.

The township engineer expressed concerns regarding an access drive, curbing, excess lot coverage, and that the old building might have historic value.

But the developer “said after a search on the Internet and talking with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, he couldn’t come up with any records that the dwelling would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The supervisors, however, still recommended the owners look into somehow reusing materials from the dwelling in the new structure to give it a local flavor.”

The site is across from and very close to the former Congress Inn, a vintage motel that’s set to be demolished and replaced by newer accommodations as I reported a half-year ago.

Lincoln Highway theme of church program/dinner

October 7, 2008

Bridge of Hope Lancaster and Chester Counties celebrates its 20th year helping homeless families with “Exploring the Lincoln Highway: Driving for Hope” on Saturday, November 1, 2008, 5–8 p.m., at Ridgeview Mennonite Church, 3723 Ridge Rd, Gordonville, Pennsylvania. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-11.

Regional Lincoln Highway food favorites from their “farmer’s market” will include:

Carmel Popcorn (Times Square – vendor style)
Philly Cheese Steaks (an eastern PA favorite)
Potato Pirogues (Coatesville, birthplace of Bridge of Hope)
Chicken Corn Soup (Can we say Lancaster?)
Apple Salad (Adams County famous!)
Root Beer and Lemonade (Favorites at roadsides across the country)

Premier Desserts and Gourmet Coffees will be available from a replica of the famous Coffee Pot in Bedford, Pa. Festivities will include a mime and barbershop quartet; for kids there will be storytelling, games, crafts, free treats, and a simulated road rally with activities and clues pertaining to the Lincoln Highway.

For more information, visit Bridge of Hope (which promotes “ending and preventing homelessness — one church and one family at a time with the help of trained mentoring groups within congregations”) or download the event brochure here.

Future dim for 1950s motel east of Lancaster PA

September 30, 2008

Updating my post of July 14, the former Congress Inn east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is set to be demolished and replaced by a larger hotel. According to the Lancaster New Era, the 96-room motel on tourist-filled Lincoln Highway East could be razed in the coming months to make way for a six-story Four Points by Sheraton hotel pending plan approval by East Lampeter Township. A special exception for the hotel’s six-story height was granted this summer. Construction of the $12 million, 125-room hotel on the 4.5-acre site could start next summer and be ready by Spring 2010.

At right is a vintage postcard view, and below is the motel today.

The Congress Inn, renamed Passport Inn a few years ago, is next to the Lancaster Host and across from Dutch Wonderland, but looks to be declining. Willow Valley Associates, which owns and operates the county’s largest resort, the Willow Valley Resort & Conference Center, has been hired to manage the new hotel.