The Americus Hotel was built during the height of the Jazz Age in 1927. The hotel was largely the brainchild of local businessman and real estate developer, Albert Gomery. Gomery envisioned a grand hotel that could host business travelers and lavish parties with equal alacrity. The 13-story hotel, with a Spanish Moor design was the focal point of Allentown’s business district for over 40 years. However, as Allentown suffered through economic troubles in the 1970s and 80s, so too did the Americus. It was condemned in 2007. The Americus was recently purchased by another developer and renovations are currently underway. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
that now hosts the Americus has been the location of a hotel since 1810. In that year, Abraham Gangewere built a small
wood-frame tavern and inn. It was later enlarged by Charles Seagraves, named
the Northampton Inn and visited by President Martin Van Buren in 1837. By World War I it had expanded to five stories
and was re-christened the American Hotel.
However, by the early 1920s it had fallen into a state of disrepair and
was purchased by Aaron Potruch in 1924.
Potruch then had the hotel razed with plans of constructing an office
building on the site.
It’s at this
point that Albert Gomery enters the story.
Gomery, president of Allentown’s Chamber of Commerce, convinced other
local business leaders to fund the construction of another hotel on the site of
the former American Hotel. The result
was the 13-story, yellow brick Americus with arched windows and balconies on
the upper floors. It was designed by the
Philadelphia architectural firm of Ritter and Shay with a Spanish Moor
design. It featured over 300 rooms, two
ballrooms and a lavish lobby. Construction
began in 1926 and the grand opening took place on September 13, 1927.
was utilized by business travelers and revelers alike. Its grand ballroom hosted “grand balls,”
receptions, and numerous parties through out the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, with the decline of the steel
industry in the 1970s and 80s, the Americus suffered as well and fell into
arrears. In 1985 it was sold to Mark
Mendelson and the Americus Center Inc., renovations were undertaken and it
joined the Radisson chain in 1988. By
1994, it lost its Radisson affiliation and went up for sale at sheriff’s auction. There were no bids offered due to the hotel’s
large amount of debt. It was part of the
Clarion Hotel chain from 1995-1998 and its occupation permit was revoked in
2002. Utilities were cut in 2005 and its
last tenants were forced to leave in 2007.
In 2009, the
Americus was purchased at sheriff’s sale by developer Albert Abdouche. It was then included in the city’s
Neighborhood Improvement Zone and became eligible for tax revenues after
Abdouche secured a $9 million loan in 2017.
There are now plans to convert the hotel into a multi-use facility to
include hotel rooms, apartments, retail storefronts, office space and
eateries. As of this writing, renovations
continue on the historic hotel and its banquet rooms are available for