Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor Driving Tour - Bedford County
Featuring sites along Pennsylvania's Lincoln Highway in Bedford County, PA
Upon climbing the Appalachian Mountains and rounding the corner of Grand View Point, a ship stood on the side of the mountain. The S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel was the site of live bands, good food, and a place to stay the night. Since 1932, people have stopped at the ship hotel at Grandview Point to "See 3 States and 7 Counties," as the sign on the ship's hull proclaimed to all passing motorists for nearly 60 years. After closing , the Ship Hotel burned down in 2001. The ship was part of a time when people did not race to their destination, when the success of a trip was measured by the enjoyment of the journey, not just the number of miles accomplished per hour.
Nestled in the Ridge and Valley province of Western Pennsylvania, Shawnee State Park is a 4,000-acre state park that is open to the public. The park, authorized in 1947 and built in 1951, is named after the Native Americans who lived for a short time in the vicinity of the park during their westward migration. Shawnee State Park is known for its 421 acre Shawnee Lake that provides recreational opportunities as well as beautiful scenery. Along with its recreational attractions, such as fishing and hiking, Shawnee has a well-established campground and environmental education activities. Open all year for recreation, Shawnee State Park is a great way to escape into nature while being immersed in a piece of Pennsylvania history.
Between 1940 and 1945, The Lincoln Motor Court was established by Clyde Crissey Jr and carpenter Thomas Mitchell. The Motor Court was built along the Lincoln Highway in the ever-popular Bedford County, PA to provide travelers a place to stay along the roadside. The Lincoln Motor Court is the only remaining, fully-functioning motor court along the highway today. The 12 cabins have been kept as close to original as possible, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves into the rich history and culture of the Lincoln Highway.
Built in 1762, this humble tavern was originally a small fort for Indian trading and was later bought by Jean Bonnet. The tavern has played a role in historical events including the attack on Fort Duquesne, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the Civil War. Today, the Jean Bonnet Tavern
The Koontz Coffee Pot was constructed in 1927, just west of Bedford, Pennsylvania, along the Lincoln Highway. Albert Koontz was the original owner who also owned the automobile service station next door. The Koontz operated the Coffee Pot as a restaurant until 1937 when it was sold to the Neil Pebble and Lorraine Pebble, who then turned it into a bar with an attached three-story hotel. Due to its proximity to the Bedford County Fairgrounds across Route 30, the Coffee Pot had a lot of attraction from fairgoers even though traffic was shifted from the Lincoln Highway to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In 1977, Wilmer Lashley purchased the Coffee Pot and operated it as a bar until it closed in January of 1989 when it began to fall into disrepair, until 2003. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor purchased the Coffee Pot restored it and relocated it for a total of $120,000. It now resides at the Bedford County Fairgrounds.
The Espy House, named after its former owner, David Epsy is a historic building in downtown Bedford, Pennsylvania constructed in 1770. Today it is candy and gift shop. The building is significant in that President George Washington stayed here one night in October, 1794. He led a militia of 12,000 men to quell what was a serious threat to the federal government's authority: the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. The government passed excise tax laws that favored bigger farmers over smaller ones, who, not having access to currency, boiled wheat grains down to whiskey and used the liquor as a form of money. The law meant that they would have to pay the tax with their whiskey. Washington stayed at the house because it was the nicest one in Bedford. He was the only president to lead a military force into an armed conflict. The decision to quell the rebellion gave the federal government legitimacy in that it could enforce, by military means if necessary, laws it passed. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1983.
The Gateway Plaza Travel Center is a popular tourist stop-off point located along the Lincoln Highway in Breezewood, PA. It offers several restaurants for traveling guests, along with gas stations and gift shops. The implementation of the PA Turnpike in October of 1940 changed the face of Bedford County and the neighboring area of Breezewood permanently, shifting from what was once nearly completely comprised of rural farmland to becoming a place of rest for tourists traveling towards the south. “The Gateway," as it was called, was an essential resting point for military servicemen and women. Breezewood became recognized as “the town of motels”, and also became home to multiple fast-food restaurants, and several fuel and service stations, which was a tremendous shift from the dynamics of Breezewood previously. It began as a restaurant and service station, around the same time of the Turnpike’s construction, which were both owned by Merle and Marion Snyder until 1956. Throughout the years, there have been a variety of changes made to the Gateway, all of which add to its overall historical value.