At this point in history, 1835, the U.S. Hotel was conceived.
John Dougherty built the Hotel to accommodate westward travelers
with convenient food, lodging, spirits and as gaudily painted
signs of the era denoted; entertainment for man and beast.
The U.S. Hotel and the town of Hollidaysburg were now
in their heyday with the economic boom that directly related
to the town being chosen as the terminal for transfer from
the canal to the railroad that carried passengers and freight,
via Foot-of-Ten, over the Allegheny Mountain summit. The iron
industry boomed and cheap canal transportation kept business
flowing with the waters.
In 1837, Hollidaysburg had 14 daily canal boat lines,
and the Juniata Street basin was the center of warehouses for
shippers and traders. This activity kept the tavern trade bustling
and the hotel rooms full.
Hollidaysburg status as a national transportation
center lasted only 20 years. With the completion of the Pennsylvania
Railroad mainline in 1854, Altoona became the new hub of
The original U.S. Hotel survived the "Canal Era" and remained
intact, servicing the new railroad industry until the building
was destroyed by fire on November 29, 1871.
In 1886, German immigrant Engelbert Gromiller, rebuilt
the U.S. Hotel. A brewmaster by trade in his Bavarian homeland,
Engelbert established a brewery in the building next door where
the mules were previously housed. The Hotel was noted in a
newspaper account of the day as having the best $1.50 a day
house in the borough.
In 1905 the cut block barroom was added to the brick
structure. This section is still the barroom today and boasts
such original relics as a hand-carved mahogany back bar, beveled
silvered mirrors, hand leaded stain glass windows and a brass
foot rail, under which flows a still active water trough spittoon.
This barroom operated continuously until prohibition.
During World War II, the Navy set up a radio school
on the site, billeted men in the Hotel and used the tiled bar
area as a shower room. When the Gromiller family sold the business
in 1945, the bar was reassembled.
The Hotel changed hands several times in the next half
century and began falling into disrepair. The deteriorating
brewery had to be destroyed.
Since 1987 the Hotel has gone through some monumental
changes and its original grandeur is being restored for your
entertainment. This landmark's history is being recognized
and appreciated by not only Hollidaysburg's people but once
again by the hungry gourmet willing to travel to experience
the "best fine dining in the borough"!
Karen and Jason Yoder, the U.S. Hotel proprietors
and your hosts, wish you the most enjoyable dining experience
and thank you for your pleasant company.