Junction Hotel was a popular rest spot for railroad travelers

During the mid-19th century, Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania, was a widely used railroad interchange where the east-west railroad to Gettysburg met the north-south railroad which ran between Baltimore and Harrisburg (and points north). During the Gettysburg Campaign, thousands of wounded soldiers passed through there on their way to various military hospitals. In mid-November 1863, trainloads of travelers made their way through the junction on their way to and from the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg.

This three-story brick hotel building contained a barroom, full service restaurant, small general store, and a few nicely appointed upstairs guestrooms.

Matthew Brady (or one of his assistants) stopped at Hanover Junction on November 18 to photograph the people awaiting President Lincoln’s train. Citizens and a soldier stand on the somewhat sagging balcony of the Junction Hotel.

Here’s more on the old hotel, which still stands today near the restored Hanover Junction depot building.

I blew up the above photograph a bit to focus on the folks standing on the balcony. None of their identities are known, but one young lady stands out. She has a broad smile, a rarity for photographic subjects in that day (they had to sit or stand still for long periods while the photographic emulsion-coated plate glass was being exposed).

This extreme blowup of the smiling girl first appeared in 2009 on the website Shorpy. One wonders who she was — perhaps a York Countian involved with the running of the hotel? Barmaid Amanda Gladfelter was 16 years old at the time; could this perky young woman possibly be her?

Her 12-year-old brother Harry recorded visiting her back in June when Rebel cavalry sacked Hanover Junction and guzzled whiskey in the hotel. Some accounts suggest barkeeper John Scott ran the hotel; it would later go by the name John Scott Hotel. As the above photos show, in 1863 the name painted on the bricks was still the Junction Hotel.

Research by Codorus Valley historian Ray Kinard has indicated that John Scott did not purchase the hotel until a later date.

The Junction Hotel still stands, and is seen here in this winter 2009 photograph. The balcony is long gone, as are the train tracks which one led to Hanover. The tracks to York and Baltimore still exist.

On a side point, some observers believe that other photos in Brady’s series of shots at Hanover Junction shows Abraham Lincoln himself, although other historians claim the individual is Hanover Branch Railroad president Abdiel W. Eichelberger.

For more Matthew Brady photographs of Hanover Junction in November 1863, click here.

This entry was posted in Civilians, Hanover Junction, Lincoln, Railroads and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Junction Hotel was a popular rest spot for railroad travelers

  1. Patt Brunner says:

    Do you know, was any railroads in our area (Adams/York County) ever joined by a Gold Spike? My great grandfather was an train engineer that lived in Hanover, Pa. My grandmother, used to talk about him having a piece of a Gold Spike from the joining of the railroad. Just wandered if it ever happened and what happened to the pieces of Gold Spike.

    • Scott Mingus says:

      Other than the famous golden spike out in the west where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific joined, I have never heard of another golden spike, particularly here in York County.

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