Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Old Postcard Wednesday—Eagle Hotel, Gettysburg

From 1834 to 1960 this site was occupied by the Eagle Hotel building. It was Gettysburg's premier hostelry for most of the 19th century. The advent of automobile and cheaper motels were the source of its downfall midway in the 20th century.

It was always the soldiers favorite. When his cavalry division arrived in Gettysburg on June 30, 1863, General John Buford placed his headquarters at the Eagle Hotel until the battle opened the following morning. For years following the war it was the hotel of choice for Union veterans returning for reunions.

During the retreat of Union forces through the town to Cemetery Hill the intersection here in front of the Eagle was the scene of considerable confusion and brief fighting between pursued and pursuers. While they occupied the town the Confederates ransacked the hotel's liquor and food supply but did no harm to the building. — Inscription on the Eagle Hotel Marker

 Site of the Eagle Hotel
 The location of the hotel is now occupied by a convenience store


The following is from York Blog. If you click on the site you will be treated to an interesting blog plus two more views of the hotel, one of them being an actual image of the original hotel:
Today in the town of Gettysburg, a 7-11 convenience store and its parking lot occupies the northeast corner of the intersection of Chambersburg Street (US Route 30) and Washington Street. Back in the 19th century, however, this was the location of one of Gettysburg’s leading attractions, the Eagle Hotel.

A historical marker in the current parking lot recounts a little of the venerable hotel’s long history...

. . . Before the Battle of Gettysburg, the Eagle Hotel was the personal headquarters of Maj. Granville Owen Haller of the 7th U.S. Infantry. Haller was a native of York, Pa., who had considerable experience as an Indian fighter in the Pacific Northwest. He had commanded the headquarters guard for Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan in the Maryland Campaign and at the Battle of Antietam. He had contracted a disease while in the field and had returned to York to recuperate. When the Rebels threatened Pennsylvania in June 1863, he took the Northern Central Railway from York to Harrisburg and volunteered his services to the commander of the Department of the Susquehanna, Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch.

Couch instructed Major Haller to raise militia troops in Adams and York counties and then to defend the region against any Confederate raiding parties. Haller made his HQ in the Eagle Hotel, which had been newly renovated. From his room, he directed the movements of two volunteer cavalry companies which scouted many of the roads emanating from Gettysburg for any signs of oncoming Rebel forces.He and his officers likely stabled their horses in the Ziegler and Holtzworth Livery located behind the hotel.

On June 26th, the Confederates arrived in mass from the west on the Chambersburg-Gettysburg Pike. Haller beat a hasty retreat on his horse to Hanover, Pa., leaving the newly arrived 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, an emergency regiment with scarcely three days of training, to fend for itself. His actions would spark a war of words with the colonel commanding the militia.

During the Battle of Gettysburg a few days later, the Eagle Hotel was behind Confederate lines for the last two days of serious fighting. For decades after the battle, returning veterans often would book rooms in the hotel. In July 1893, the guests included the commissioners of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, among them generals Daniel Sickles, Henry Slocum, and Joseph Carr, all of whom fought at Gettysburg. A year later, the original hotel burned down, but was soon rebuilt.

The second hotel, which operated under various names, was razed in 1960.

The building shown in this old postcard was not the original Eagle Hotel. As noted in the text above, the  original burned in December 1894 and was reconstructed. A site titled Living Places confirms that after the hotel was reconstructed, it "operated under other names including the Adams House" (Gettysburg is in Adams County, Pennsylvania). Another source, in describing Brig. Gen. John Buford's arrival in Gettysburg, notes: "At 11a.m., on the last day of June, Buford's exhausted troopers clattered into Gettysburg, and the general established headquarters in Tate's Blue Eagle Hotel, west of the square." I searched extensively to see if the Eagle Hotel and Tate's Blue Eagle Hotel were the same hotel, or different hotels, but could not find anything.

I found an interesting piece of history at The New York Public Library website, titled What's on the Menu? The library has collected vintage menus and includes recipes, and, yes, they have one for the Eagle Hotel. It is for dinner on the evening of Monday, June 5, 1905.

The thumbnail view of the menu is below. Click HERE to go to the site where you can actually read the menu and collect recipes if you choose:

Finally, I wonder how many of you have been thinking about this ever since reading the words
Eagle Hotel......

Hotel California
The Eagles



Don't Feed The Pixies said...


Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so that's the excitement of having OPW out of the way

First thought that went through my head was Hotel California - so it's reassuring that we have that in common.

Secondly was how disappointing to see such a wonderful building now replaced with a convenience store

Thirdly, and apologies in advance for this one - that its a shame the hotel no longer has a Gettysburg Address.......

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

oh and finally - the fried egg plant sounds good. Although we call it Aubergine here as they tend to be purple in the UK, not white.

Interesting factoid is that in India it is called brinjal - which literally means the king of vegetables, because it has a crown.

I have a fantastic recipe for Beingan Bartha - basically an aubergine curry

Lydia said...

Pixies~ You, kind Sir, are wonderfully witty and wise. After reading your comment this morning I went to a dentist app't in Salem where afterward I went to an Indian lunch buffet. (hmmmmm. wonder what gave me a pang for Indian food....)

izzy said...

I do love the memories of old Hotels!
Large and stately even! thanks-
In our little town there sits a Gazebo and a bit of lawn and parking; where a large hotel once was...(I do not know if there is an online picture-I will investigate!)

Irelynkiss said...

Thank you for this cool post!
My G.G.G. Grandpa was the Holtzworth from Ziegler and Holtzworth Livery!

Lydia said...

Irelynkiss ~ Thank you for your exciting comment that links your own personal history to this post. It gave me good-kind goosebumps and made my day!



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