September 26, 2021

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Travel Finishes First

The former Eagle Hotel/Resort Weimer was after a image of luxury in Lebanon

7 min read

In 1821, the Eagle Hotel was crafted at the southeast corner of 9th and Cumberland streets in downtown Lebanon. It was the first community resort to be up-to-date with electric powered and other modernized facilities, and it earned a high-quality name domestically and close to the point out of Pennsylvania as a high-class lodging institution.

In 1904, the Eagle Lodge was bought and renamed Lodge Weimer.

Just after getting a symbol of luxurious and a social centre in Lebanon for nicely about 100 a long time, the landmark was razed in 1963.

A quick history of accommodations

Lodging travelers in intent-built structures became a enterprise starting around the eighth century BC in ancient Greece and Rome. Lodgings that delivered lodging, meals, and other companies were constructed in vacation resort towns, next to thermal baths and together travel routes connecting populated settlements. Most guests had been traders, wealthy citizens, politicians and governmental officers. 

Traveler desire for lodging in Europe and the Center East exploded with the spread of Christianity as common citizens undertook spiritual pilgrimages, making a need for lodging that monasteries and abbeys dealt with as perfectly. The Middle Ages also observed the increase of Inns in the course of Europe that presented lodging, foods, drink and stabling and fodder for horses. They have been comparable to a modern day-working day mattress and breakfast institution and typically incorporated a group dining home and delivered space for conferences.

By the 1600s, so-referred to as Coaching Inns experienced grow to be well-liked all through Europe and in the European colonies in the course of the Americas. Coaching Inns offered a layover, foods and consume for folks touring by personal horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches. Coaching Inns were being typically staffed with hostlers who tended to the horses and exchanged tired horse teams with rested kinds.

In 1794, the 1st operating hotel in the U.S., the Town Resort, opened in New York Town. The 5-tale framework involved 137 rooms, a barroom, coffeehouse, outlets and a eating room. It was also a social center that hosted meetings, dances, unique events and concerts.

In 1829, the to start with modern day resort in the U.S., the Tremont House, a high-class 4-story, granite-confronted, neoclassical-type developing opened in Boston. It furnished lavish merchandise to visitors for the situations including bellboy service, free cleaning soap, locks on all visitor rooms and a reception place. Most importantly, it was the first resort in the U.S. to supply indoor toilets, baths and operating water. The Tremont Dwelling established the regular for luxury and consolation which other major resorts in the U.S. before long followed.

The Eagle Hotel (1821-1904)

The Eagle Lodge in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with a horse-drawn supply wagon to the still left and a horse-drawn carriage on the appropriate, in a postcard circa 1900. (Randy Jaye collection)

The Eagle Lodge was built in 1821. Its title, that of an animal, was prevalent in the 18th and 19th generations as lots of shoppers were being illiterate and could only identify photos on signals. Resorts used names these kinds of as bear, horse and fox and shown photographs of these animals on their signs, which determined them as a location of lodging. Equally, an previously investing put up and resort created in Lebanon all-around 1760 was initially identified as the Swan Hotel, which survives currently as the George Washington Tavern at 1000-1002 Cumberland St.

In its early years, lots of horse-drawn freight wagons, carriages and stagecoaches stopped by as it was also a hectic delivery stage and transportation hub serving the central Pennsylvania place. Its good area and state-extensive notoriety was its very best marketing approach as numerous travelers and salesmen ended up lured to it by word-of-mouth interaction.

With the advent of passenger railroad services in Lebanon, numerous resorts were developed on the north facet of the city together with the Lebanon Valley Dwelling and the United States Lodge. By the 1880s, there ended up all around 20 neighborhood accommodations competing with the Eagle Lodge.

In 1886, the Eagle Hotel, possible prompted by potent level of competition, was renovated and expanded into a single of the “handsomest in the state.” A 165-foot part was additional on the South Ninth Street facet of the setting up, which increased the 4-story brick hotel’s sleeping rooms to 125, accommodating 250 to 300 attendees.

It was the initially resort in Lebanon with electrical lighting and steam warmth, and it provided electric bells and warm and chilly working drinking water. Its livery steady, in the again section of the building, was enhanced and advertised as a “First Class Livery – well prepared at all moments to furnish groups for weddings, funerals and excursions,” and operated 24 hours a day.

The lodge proven bus services to transportation visitors back again and forth to the train station and other locations within just the metropolis. These early buses were double-hitch horse-drawn wagons that could seat about eight passengers.

The Eagle Hotel’s restaurant and eating place was expanded to 54 by 55 ft and seated 225 friends. It was elaborately furnished, including phone bells, expensive linen, and extravagant engraved sterling silver flatware. Upscale menu things this kind of as snapper soup and spring rooster dishes had been served.

The dining room also served as a ballroom and assembly area as the lodge grew to become the center for social lifetime in the Lebanon region. Quite a few clubs, civic, fraternal and expert corporations together with the Lebanon County Historical Culture, Inter-State Baseball League, Daughters of the American Revolution, Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North The usa, Lebanon County Media Culture and the Berks & Dauphin Turnpike Organization held their meetings, banquets and social situations at the resort.

It was also the headquarters for the Lebanon County Democratic Celebration for a lot of a long time.

Most of the area’s conventions had been held right here for the reason that of its spot, services and transportation obtain.

The Eagle Lodge also showcased a next-ground parlor, and exhibit locations in the basement for touring salesmen to display screen and demonstrate their merchandise to hotel friends and community retailers.

The Resort Weimer in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with automobiles parked diagonally on 9th Avenue, shown in a postcard circa 1945. (Randy Jaye assortment)

Hotel Weimer (1904-1963)

In 1904, the Eagle Resort was offered to the Weimer family, noted nearby industrialists, and its name was transformed to Lodge Weimer. Below new ownership, the resort managed a lavish overall look and strove to update its services to additional fashionable standards. Lodge Weimer’s foyer was furnished with leather-based upholstered chairs, elaborately carved pillars, tiled flooring, wonderful wooden tables, a substantial extravagant fireplace, brass floor lamps and high-conclusion drapery panels.

The lodge taken care of its standing as a local transportation hub when motorized vehicles such as trolley automobiles, buses and vehicles became the principal mode of highway transportation.

The Palm Space at Hotel Weimer, from a postcard circa 1938. (Randy Jaye collection)

During the Prohibition period (1920-1933), when the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages was banned, the lodge relied on its espresso shop to provide drinks, albeit the non-intoxicating assortment, to its attendees. Following Prohibition was repealed in December 1933, the hotel’s espresso store was repurposed into a trendy bar and cocktail lounge.

Through the 1940s and ’50s, the resort marketed by itself as the Civic Middle of the Neighborhood, Civic Club Headquarters and the assembly heart of Lebanon for excellent foodstuff. Businesses this sort of as the Lebanon Lions Club, Lebanon Kiwanis Club, the Izaak Walton League of America, and the Gamma Omicron chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority commonly held activities at Resort Weimer.

In 1957, the lodge was marketed for about $250,000 to a person of the world’s major lodge chains, Milner Lodges Administration Inc., “in what was termed the finest assets transfer in local heritage.” That very same 12 months it was leased to the Bon Ton Department store, which was subsequent doorway, as ideas ended up staying talked about to expand into the hotel’s property.

Office environment and foyer of the Resort Weimer, demonstrated in a postcard circa 1915. (Randy Jaye assortment)

By the early 1960s, obsolescence was catching up to the structure as newer location resorts grew to become extra alluring for most travelers. Moreover, the newly modernized Pomeroy’s Section Keep (previously the Bon Ton) was lobbying to have the lodge creating demolished to make way for a parking lot.

In early 1963, Lodge Weimer was deemed a hearth hazard and a general public eyesore and padlocked immediately after all of its contents were being bought at a community auction. Greiner Construction Co. was hired to demolish the developing.

By August 1963, the developing was totally knocked down and all of its rubble hauled away to a dump internet site.

Legacy of the Eagle Hotel/Resort Weimer

A lot of artifacts which includes pictures, postcards and newspaper article content survive from the Eagle Resort and Resort Weimer, which document the structure’s once luxurious design and style and significance to the enhancement and heritage of the Lebanon location. The making stood for 142 years and survived the American Civil War, Planet War I, Prohibition, the Good Depression and Entire world War II, but time and put on finally caught up to it.

A Lebanon Day-to-day Information write-up on Could 17, 1963, summed up the destiny of Hotel Weimer when it stated, “During its existence the lodge experienced introduced considerable fame and honor to the town, but it had outlived its usefulness.”

Though the landmark structure has been gone for quite a few many years it stays aspect of the folklore of Lebanon County.

Currently, the internet site of this previous magnificent resort is a metropolis parking ton.


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