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of Freeland, Pa.
The Central Hotel was built in the late 1870s and was still in use in the 1930s. Being right in the center of town and the business district was advantageous, and its porch, fountain and shade tree gave the hotel a comfortable air of distinction. The view at left shows unpaved streets with trees on both sides of the street. A sign on the tree in front of the hotel says "Central Hotel." On this early picture of the hotel, there are two sets of stairs going up to the porch. By the time of the next picture, below, the left set of stairs has been replaced by what looks like a small storefront or office. The entrance to the small alley along the south side of the hotel building is visible at lower left of the photo. Looking up the street, you see where the northeast corner of Centre and Front streets juts further into the street than the blocks to the south of it do. Across Centre Street at that corner is Amandus Oswald's general store - it has a roof over its entrance held up by poles, barely visible on this card.
I'm not sure of the date
of this second postcard view, although the handwriting suggests that
the photo was taken not later than 1909. The bank building that would
be built just on the other
side of the alley was not yet there. This is a fabulous front view of
the entire hotel building (a cropped view is at the top left of this
page). There is someone sitting on the porch,
child in white clothes on the sidewalk in front at right, and it looks
like three boys
in front at left, possibly standing around the fountain. That might be
a porch swing visible at
the right end of
the porch. Look between the buildings where the alley is and I *think*
see the older St. Mary's Church - at least to my eye it looks like one
of the steeples on the middle
church in this photo
that was made before the school was there.
This third postcard
shows how the view changed as time progressed. The Citizens Bank is now
in place, and there are automobiles parked on the street. A sign
hanging on the hotel porch indicates that they have telephone service.
Although today the hotel building is long gone, a number of the other
buildings shown in this photo are still standing and are recognizable.
Note the trolley
1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the block where the Central Hotel was located
This might be roughly the same time as the first postcard shown above was made. Milton H. Hunsicker was listed as the hotel proprietor in the 1895 Barry's city directory. Thomas Hunsicker, a veterinary surgeon, had a livery stable in the building behind the hotel. Both men lived at the hotel. Michael Rondinelli had a barbarshop on the hotel premises. Alfred A. Bachman had a wall paper store next door on the site where the bank would later be built; the Citizens Bank at this time was on Front Street. Looking south, next to the wall paper shop was William Keiper, jeweler and watchmaker; next to that, John B. Laubach, confectioner and baker. George Wise, harnessmaker was next to the bakery, and then there was the large building at Centre and Main streets known as the Birkbeck Block. Besides William Birkbeck's hardware store it contained several other businesses as well as the Mining and Mechancal Institute, relocated here after a fire destroyed the original building in Drifton. Meanwhile, looking up the street from the hotel was Joseph Neuburger's dry goods store, a meat market, the Freeland Hall, and a restaurant (possibly DePierro Bros., listed as being on that corner in 1897) at the location where another the First National Bank would later be built.
1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the block where the Central Hotel was located
Looking at this map you can see some of the change that came to this block in the 17 years since 1895. Behind the hotel, in addition to the livery, there is a blacksmith shop, and in a new building behind that there is a wagon house. On the hotel premises there are a barber, a tailor, and two bars. Across the small alley now stands the new Citizens Bank. Next to that, in place of the little jewelry and watch shop there is now a larger building containing a tobacco shop in front and a billiards hall and bowling alley behind. There's still a bakery and confectionery next to that, then the Wise harness shop as before. On the corner stands the Birkbeck Block containing a grocery and confectionery and the hardware store, plus some other offices and club rooms. The Mining and Mechanical Institute has been relocated to a new building at their current location south of Carbon Street. And meanwhile, looking up the street from the hotel you now see a meat shop, another candy shop, the Freeland Hall (expanded by a 2-story addition at the back) and another new bank building, the First National Bank.
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