History of the U.S. Hotel
The Historic U.S. Hotel | Hollidaysburg, PA
The historic U.S. Hotel has been a part of Hollidaysburg since its initial conception in 1835. Built by John Dougherty, the building was initially used to accommodate westward travelers with lodging, food, and spirits. Strategically positioned along the western end of the Pennsylvania Canal and the Allegheny Portage Railroad, Hollidaysburg was connected with the Great American West and a vital link in the development of industrializing Johnstown and Pittsburgh. As a result of the completion of the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline through Altoona in 1854, Hollidaysburg’s status as a national transportation center was lost. Yet, the U.S. Hotel survived and continued to service the new railroad industry until it was destroyed by fire on November 29, 1871.
In 1886, German immigrant Engelbert Gromiller, a brewmaster by trade in his Bavarian homeland, rebuilt the U.S. Hotel and established a brewery in the building next door. In 1905, the cut block barroom was added to the structure and still serves as the barroom today. The hand-carved mahogany back bar, beveled silvered mirrors, hand leaded stain glass windows and a brass foot rail, under which is a fresh flow through spittoon, are original to the 1905 design of the bar. The fresh flow through spittoon is a pre-Prohibition relic that can only be found in a limited number of bars in the United States. During World War II, the Navy used the U.S. Hotel as a radio school where the very same tiled bar area was used as a shower room. When the Gromiller family sold the business in 1945, the original bar was reassembled.
The U.S. Hotel changed hands several times over the decades following WWII, falling into disrepair along the way. As a result, the neighboring brewery deteriorated to the point of being destroyed. The beginning of the 21st Century saw the addition of Liberty Hall to the U.S. Hotel. Constructed with authentic Mid-19th Century beams rescued from a barn in Smithton, PA, Liberty Hall at the U.S. Hotel Tavern maintains the historic charm of Hollidaysburg while providing a large banquet facility to serve the region.