Picturing History recalls York, Pa.’s ‘second banana’ Hotel Penn

052206-cdg-Hotel-Penn.jpg‘My interest in the Hotel Penn,’ Jim Hubley wrote in the York, Pa., Daily Record on Jan. 26, 1985, ‘goes back to when, as a tot, I was impressed with the long, long porch which fronted the building in the early 1920s. In summer the porch was filled with guests rocking away or nestled comfortably with with their feet resting atop the porch railing. To me, it represented the height of affluence.’ This Picturing History photo provides a before and after look. Check out the neat slider that allows you to shift the scene between then and now. (See more photos below.) Also of interest:  Babe Ruth, indeed, played in York in 1928 and stayed at the Hotel Penn.

052206-cdg-Hotel-Penn.jpgThe Hotel Penn, Jim Hubley explained, housed many performers at the nearby Strand and Valencia. ‘Rarely,’ he wrote, ‘did the very big stars room at the Penn. That was the Penn’s fate during hits entire history. It was York’s second banana hotel, at first to the old Colonial, then to the new Yorktowne.’
hpWhen Jim Hubley was writing about the Penn in 1985, the hotel had become a ‘dreary, York eyesore.’ A recent report indicated that no one was interested in buying the hotel to convert it into a business venture. As time passed, it was demolished and its site remained a parking lot throughout the 1990s. Then it was selected as the site of the York County Judicial Center – which opened in 2004 – and the old place is largely forgotten. Forgotten, that is, until the YDR’s Christine Loman and Paul Kuehnel made it a topic for ‘Picturing History.’

Also of interest
Jim Hubley was a night clerk at the Hotel Penn. This qualified him to write in his book “Off the Record”: “Want to see life? Get a night clerk job in a small hotel in a city like York. What memories! Particularly of so many then-prominent York citizens who rented rooms for themselves and their ‘nieces’ who didn’t call them “uncle.”

<strong>Also of interest</strong>
Other York Town Square posts drawing from Jim Hubley or his work:
Also of interest
Other York Town Square posts drawing from Jim Hubley or his work:
‘We would ‘hex’ them if they ignored us’
Giving news, sports junkies their fix
Bury’s burgers: ‘That was it — no slaw, no relish, no pickles’.
‘That’s a stupid question;’ Brooksie played second base.
Butch Wynegar ranks bright among York’s sports stars.
York County, Pa.’s Cameron Mitchell agonized over career choice
Playland plays nostalgic note for York countians

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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One Response to Picturing History recalls York, Pa.’s ‘second banana’ Hotel Penn

  1. Jack R. Truett, Sr. says:

    The Hotel Penn and the Pennsylvania Garage were both owned by the Wogan family. In later years Frank Wogan (the race car driver) operated the Pennsylvania Garage. I worked there in 1944. Fireside Terrace was built on the Wogan farm and one road is named Wogan Road..
    Louie Appel bought the Hotel Penn for a speculation investment and the land where the Hotel Penn and the Pennsylvania garage stood became the “New Court House.”
    Across Philadelphia street was the home of the “York Dispatch” and it too became history as new owners moved it west and located on Loucks Road.The “Direct Hat Shop” went with history and Louie Appel’s Strand and Capitol was closed. There were lots of changes in the last 50 plus years.

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