Lou's Place in Cyberspace
HOTEL EVOLUTION 1
Photo circa 1885-Earliest known photo of original Sterner Inn, the “corner hotel” mentioned in the 1858 Deed to Jonas Snyder from John Singmaster. This small building was to later evolve into the Snyder Hotel and a new larger building. Sterner offered food and rooms for stagecoach travelers thru this area of the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains.
Note the timber poles holding a bell at the top. This bell was used as a fire warning and to summon the local population when needed.
It appears the original small building had an extension put on the right side. This addition may have served as a bar and available room for travelers. A kitchen with a large bake oven, dating to the 1700’s is out of view to the right.
The left end of the building is elevated above ground level by approximately 3 ft. Parts of the left end of the porch are missing and the widows in the second floor are in poor condition. The roof is also in poor condition and is of wood shakes or slate. The roof on the newer extension is in much better condition and so may have been added several years prior to this photo. These conditions may date the original structure to 1820-1850.
In this photo the boy on the left holding the horses is John Snyder, and the boy in center his brother Charles Snyder, both sons of Jonas Snyder. These brothers operated the “New” hotel that was later built in 1901.
This photo C-1890 of Sterners Inn, appears to have been taken at a later date than above photo. The windows are repaired and the far end of the porch roof has been repaired. The roof on the extension is in need of replacement. The ground under the porch is level with the wood frame
This view shows the Sterner building at a later date. Note left porch end is repaired and a stone retaining wall is visible on right edge. This indicates the land to the right of this view was being raised, likely for the new Hotel Jonas Snyder was planning to construct. Also note only the left end of the building is still above ground level, showing that the area around the building has been graded. The bell tower is in its original location. There is a woman in a small wagon above the wall on the right.
This undated hand drawn map indicates “Sterners” at the end of the "Stage Road" which is also marked "Merwinsburg Road". Presently the road which runs in front of the Hotel is called Jonas Road with the Merwinsburg Road name being used for the part of the road closer to the village of Merwinsburg. The route marked “Willkes-Barre and Easton Turnpike” is what is now Rte. 115, which ran thru Brodheadsville . Route 209 in Brodheadsville was also part of the original Wilkes-Barre Turnpike.
1875 Beer’s Map shows the Hotel called the “New Mechanicsville Hotel” with the name “J. Snyder” above it.
This map, showing the “Snyder Estate in red” (map date unknown) indicates this property of 462 acres was once owned by a Wm Henry. This plot map likely predates the purchase of this land by Samuel Sterner (Starner), who then sold it to Jacob Starner in 1835, it was later sold at auction to John Singmaster, who then sold it to Jonas Snyder in 1858. The name “Shitz” also appears on the above 1875 map as “J. Sheets” at the same location indicated by the bend in the road.
This photo shows the new Hotel as it was being finished, with the porch being completed. Notice too the original Sterner Inn still has a slate roof, but the extension on right has been removed. Parts of the stonework of the extension foundation are still visible in this photo. There are no trees planted around the Hotel that appear in later images, and the windows do not have shutters which are also visible in later photos. The front attic window has glass in it at this time. It appears people were still occupying in the old building. The extension would have been removed when they began building the new Hotel in 1898-99. The Horse watering trough in front of the old building is later moved to the front corner of the new building. Bell tower is still located in front of the original building.
In this image, the original Sterner Hotel on the left edge of the photo still has the original slate roof. Notice horse watering trough which was in front of the old building is now at left corner of porch. Saplings are now planted along the front of the Hotel. C-1905
Photo circa-1905. Note there appears to be flowers in white vases in the second floor left window, indicating it may have been occupied, perhaps by a female. Notice too that the slate roof has been replaced with a metal or “Tin” roof. The sign reads “Sterner's Post Office” indicating that the area was being called “Sterners”.
A later view in Winter-note “Sterner” sign is missing; trees have been planted along side of Hotel, not visible in this view. New Hotel Ice house can be seen on right edge of photo. Bell tower is still in original location. In the background is the Carpentry Shop behind the Mill pond.
Photo C-1905. Both the original old Sterner’s Inn stands along with the new Hotel built by Jonas Snyder in 1901. Note the bell tower is still in the original location, and the ground level is now even under the old building. It can be seen from this view that the extension that was originally on the right of the old building would have been in the middle of the road if it had not been removed. In this photo you can see the land in front of and to the right of the old building has been elevated and graded.
The old structure is still being utilized at that time. Two women and a child stand outside the door, and cloths are strung across the road on a line. The horse watering trough that was located in front of the old structure is now located at the front corner of the new building. The new Hotel originally had three chimneys, one on the east and west ends, and one at the rear of the building, as the years passed the Hotel was modified with the East and rear chimneys being eliminated and new rooms and a kitchen added to the rear of the structure.
Directly behind the Hotel in this view is the separate kitchen and bake oven, the chimney of the bake oven can be seen in this view. The original Bake Oven in the rear of the kitchen was moved to the Gilbert Fairgrounds in 2010.The front attic peak window remains open till this day (2011).
Hear is a rare view of the Mill pond soon after the original old Sterner’s Inn building was demolished. Note drive shaft from the Gristmill running across the Mill Pond. A wagon is on the road next to the pond going north. C-1910
C-1915 Note this postcard shows the Hotel being located in what was then known as Sterner’s. Notice the Bell Tower that was originally located in front of the original Sterner building is now located on the west side of the Hotel. (Left edge) Also note horse watering trough at front corner.
C-1915 Note the first images of early “Machines” as the automobile was called at the time. Clearly the hotel is called “Snyder’s Hotel”. Note too the Bell Tower on the side of the Hotel. This post card gives the location as “Jonas PA”.
C-1920 “A Sunday at Snyder’s”. This postcard view shows the west side of the Hotel and the Bell tower. Note also a flat roofed extension has been added to the rear of the Hotel behind the bell tower, this was a new kitchen area replacing the small pitched roof structure that was there originally. The structure with the Bake Oven is still visible.
C-1925 Washing their “Machines”, Hotel in background. Note Barn on left edge of photo which was later demolished. This barn can be seen in other photos to follow.
C-1950 This view shows the southwest corner of the Hotel. The trees are much larger at this date. A Texaco gas pump is located near the rear of the porch, left side. The horse watering trough from earlier years is still positioned at the front corner of the building. The signs read “Jonas Post Office, and “Snyder’s Hotel”.
View looking south from above the Mill pond. Hotel is on left, Ice House before it, large barn in center was later demolished when the new route 534 was re-aligned. Bell Tower is visible on side of Hotel. Old Sterner’s Inn building is no longer standing.
Another view from edge of the Mill Pond. Flat roofed extension is visible as is the chimney from the Bake Oven.
View from further down road, beyond where road curved. Note road bends between Mill Pond (top right center) and supply pond. When Rt.534 was re-aligned holding pond was reduced in size and the supply to the mill pond remained a culvert under the new road. Wooded structure in center is the sluice which controlled the water flow into the Pond.
View looking south towards Kresgeville along Rt. 534. Barn on right was demolished when road was re-aligned. Barn on the right is the corner of the large barn in the above view, and shown below.
The name on the roof was for aircraft identity of the area, this was an artifact from the early days of aviation. C-1930
The photo of this boy shows in the background the Hay barn on right and chicken house in center. Both building were on the east side of the Hotel.
Young Arlington Snyder, son of John Snyder, on tricycle is photographed on the wooden cover for the drive shaft which ran from the Saw and Gristmill turbine, crossing under the road, and directed into the basement of the Hotel. This driveshaft was used to power a DC Generator in the Hotel basement to provide power for the early lighting system used in the hotel. This shaft exited the Hotel basement, and ran above ground, unprotected into a barn. There is on record a report of a child who was caught on the rotating shaft, but was not injured. In the background are the Mill Pond and the Carpentry shop.
View looking east on what is now Jonas Road. Barn on left was on property of Hotel and was used for horses and Hay storage. It no longer exists; it was struck by lightning and burned down in 1944. Jonas Road was lined with Apple trees as far as the present Camp Trexler Scout Reservation entrance. Note top of concrete hitching post in left foreground and newly planted Red Maple trees.
By 1930 this was the general area of the Hotel Jonas with its various buildings. A Carpentry Shop, Blacksmith, Sawmill, and Grist Mill. The Mills were fed by the mill pond along the road, in front of the Carpentry Shop.
Guests viewing the Hotel reservoir upstream from the Picnic Grove C-1920. Group with Grist mill in rear. C-1930
In August 1950, Paul & Lucille Held purchased the Hotel from the Snyder family. In this photo Mr. and Mrs. Held inspect the property with their attorney. In the background is the Grist Mill and connected “Finish”Sawmill. The carpentry shop can be seen behind the group in the road.
Mr. & Mrs. Held standing in front of the barn at the intersection of old Rte. 534 and Dotter’s Corner Road. This view is looking south.
Paul Held, his Attorney, Charles Snyder, Lucille Held, and Ralph Snyder inspecting the property before final purchase. Aug., 1950
Hotel property layout C-1910