S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 1957

Hotel that looks like a ship in Pennsylvania


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!!

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11 Responses to “S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 1957”

  1. Arleen says:

    This is one of he most beautiful places on earth. Serene peacefully and beautiful. Although the ship has been gone for years I still enjoy a rip up the mountain to take that trip down memory lane of the days when the ship stood tall and proud of the view it was a part of. On my last visit there this summer I took a stone that once foundationed a most beautiful part of history that will always remain a fond childhood memory.

  2. Jackie Chan says:

    I wenthere when i was young boy. I like hotel veewwwwyyy much. I sooo sad when i heard about it burn. I cried like little baby.

  3. Janice Mahon says:

    I am now 65 years young. My mother’s parents lived in Hooversville, PA, and every summer we would motor down from New York to Hooversville, over the mountains and we would stop at the Grand Ship Hotel.

    My Dad would put me in his arms to see the scenery. The inside was so beautiful, as I remember it. A big long bar, many tables.

    When I heard the Hotel was burned, I just got so upset, I cried. Why did you do this? Why? Just for money?

    So, I have my memories of this beautiful place. I wish it was still there.

  4. Pat says:

    We live nearby and the loss of this wonderful piece of history saddened our family.
    That same night La Cachet was also burned and another small antique depot. Plus a few other buildings. I assume an arsonist was to blame. It was too coincidental. I always wished I could have seen the inside, however.

  5. Dawn Bonsall says:

    My parents are very interested in the history of this hotel and my mother would like to see pictures of the dining room.

  6. Muzz says:

    Wish we’d hit the Lotto/Powerball; wouldn’t it be great to rebuild the Ship Hotel?!
    PS – Storybook Forest is still there, part of Idlewild Park. Opens 5-28-08.

  7. Jillbeans says:

    We always begged Daddy to stop here on the way to Gettysburg. He’d stop but we never went inside, just enjoyed the view.

  8. Steve G. says:

    When I was a small boy, my father, now deceased, would bring me to his hometown of Central City to visit his Sister, Mary, who lived on Oak Street. During the long drive from Maryland and to keep me from asking “How much longer to the ship?” he would suggest that I keep a sharp eye out for dead snakes with broken backs along the roadside. Looking for dead snakes as we ascended the mountain kept me busy enough to stop asking questions until it occurred to me to ask why their backs were broken. “Because the snakes can’t bend enough to make the sharp turns in the road.” he replied. “OK, makes sense to me”, I thought. So, with a keen eye and ‘quiet’ enthusiasm (to my father’s delight), I searched every inch of the roadside with morbid anticipation. While I don’t remember ever actually seeing any dead snakes, I don’t remember ever being disappointed, either. (…as was always the case when my Dad was close by.) Well, the ship and my Dad are both gone. But to this day, I often catch myself eyeing the roadside in a tight turn.

  9. I used to visit this place every year as a child- we used to stop and see all the states and have lunch- it was one of our favorite places, along with Storybook Forest in Idewild, which is closed, but still there.

  10. Richard Weiss says:

    I came across this place back in September 2001, the day after I took soem World Trade Center photos to be exact. I took some side roads and although having seen postcards of it for years never knew it still existed. I turned around and positioned my Firebird convertible in front of it for a photo op much as I did wih the WTC the day before. I learned later that this place was destroyed in a fire at the begining of October. I was really a neat place. THis though is the first vintage color photo I have ever seen of it.

  11. Don says:

    I’ve been there. Nothing is left except a vacant lot and a great view.

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