The Gettysburg Hotel, Est.1797
The Gettysburg Hotel, a hotel of the people, by the people, for the people started off as a tavern on what is now known as Lincoln Square, Gettysburg's historic town center. Scott's Tavern was built in 1797 by James Scott and in 1809 it was acquired by William McClellan, a former York County sheriff who renamed the tavern, the Indian Queen. After 1846, it was called the McClellan House for its owners, the McClellan brothers.
During the summer of 1863, the building played witness to one of the most pivotal events in the American Civil War - The Battle of Gettysburg. Confederate troops swarmed the town of Gettysburg during a bloody three-day battle where 160,000 Americans lost their lives.
Right across the street at the Wills House, President Abraham Lincoln is said to have completed the famous Gettysburg Address.
The 1890s brought about an imposing revamp of the old building that the new owner christened The Gettysburg Hotel. It remained as such throughout the majority of the 20th century. By the time the 1900s rolled around, the Gettysburg Hotel boasted electric lights, steam heat, hot and cold baths, and a fine restaurant.
In 1955, it became a temporary White House while President Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack at Gettysburg. President Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, were the Gettysburg Hotel's last guests in 1964 before the owner closed its doors. The old building was ravaged in an unfortunate fire in 1983. It had long since been abandoned as a victim of postwar America and changes in traveling habits.
Through an initiative of Gettysburg College, the Gettysburg Hotel was carefully restored in cooperation with the Historic Architechtural Review Board. Opened in 1991 as The Gettysburg Hotel, the grand new building faithfully recaptures its historic past.
Want to learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg? Visit the Civil War Trust’s Gettysburg page for history articles, maps, photos, and more.
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