S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 1957
“SEE 3 STATES and 7 COUNTIES – SOUVENIRS – POST CARDS- VISITORS WELCOME- FREE TELEPHONE”
When I first glanced at this slide I thought I was looking at an old docked river boat. But no! After a closer look I discovered that the Lincoln Highway’s most famous landmark is a fake. It looks so real; those smoke stacks so convincing. There’s even a lighthouse.
The charming novelty hotel was built in 1932 on a picture-perfect spot where motorists stopped and enjoyed the view of the beautiful Allegheny Mountains. During the ship’s heyday there were many notable guests including Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford. The ship thrived through the 1930s; after the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940 business drastically declined.
After years of sinking business the hotel was sold in 1978. The new owners thought they would take the theme to the extreme and rename the ship Noah’s Ark – so they did. Sadly they couldn’t make a go of it either and the hotel closed again just a few years later. As it fell into even further disrepair “Save Our Ship” efforts were organized by Lincoln Highway history buffs and local preservationists. After years of hard work and dedication their dreams of having the hotel re-open went up in smoke. On October 26th, 2001 at 2:30 AM, the once grand Ship burned to the ground. Cause of the blaze unknown.
Today, there’s not much to see there except “3 states and 7 counties.”
Here’s to you and The S.S. GRAND VIEW SHIP HOTEL!!