Americus Hotel: An Overview
It’s no mystery that Allentown is experiencing an enormous revival: but there is one historic gem that is trailing behind. The Americus Hotel. Once a centerpiece to Allentown’s bustling city-life, now sits empty and needs a major rehaul. While it is within the borders of the NIZ, plans are being discussed on how to successfully restore the hotel for modern purposes.
Last night, owner, Albert Abdouche, invited the public to an open house at the hotel to show them the potential that the Americus still has. With so much construction going on around the hotel, he hopes for it to be one of the next sites that sees a change. With our passion for historic preservation, we wanted to touch on it as well and share some of it’s rich history as we too, hope to see this gem shine again.
- Before it was the Americus Hotel, the site at 6th and Hamilton Streets, was still used as a hotel, but on a much smaller scale. It was more of a tavern and went through various expansions including one at the end of the first World War where the building grew to five stories. The tavern was demolished upon the conception of The Americus.
- After advising the landowner, Aaron Potruch, to discontinue constructing an office building at the site, local businessman Bert Gomery suggested a hotel instead. It was then Gomery who took lead on and managed the construction of the hotel.
- The Hotel, which was designed by the Philadelphia architecture firm, Ritter and Shay, was built in a Spanish-Moorish style and reflects the Coolidge-era passion for Spanish romanticism which was displayed by the tile insets, arched exterior and interior murals and decor. In fact, the hotel was allegedly named after the Spanish explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
- When the Americus officially opened on September 13, 1927, their opening reception garnered a crowd of 700 men and women who were welcomed by a 28-piece orchestra in the hotel’s dining room. The opening actually attracted more guests who unfortunately had to be turned away due to the overwhelming turnout.
- In August of 1984, the Americus Hotel was placed on the National Register Historic Places and it’s currently identified as an endangered property through the Allentown Preservation League.