Central Hotel

The Central Hotel, also called the New Central Hotel was probably built by Frank and Eva Hill prior to 1880.  It was located near the railroad depot on the south side of Main Street directly across from the site of the Showerman Hotel which burned to the ground in the 1878 fire that destroyed both sides of Main Street.

The Central Hotel was rescued from the fire with only a little scorching and some broken windows thanks to the efforts of a few who used the pumps and hoses that were ineffective on the other buildings to keep the roof and sides wet. One report indicated that free libations were being offered to those who helped.

The first mention of the hotel being open is in an article from June of 1880, praising the hotel and Mrs. Rouse, the proprietor.

June, 1880

Additional articles in 1880 and 1885 show that the hotel continues to be an important business in town.  They provided not only housing for travelers and visiting businessmen, but also dinners and refreshments for activities in town.

1880:9:22Spied Out in Sparta
September, 1880
December, 1885-includes a reference to catering for a party.

Over the years, the hotel changed owners, managers and proprietors several times.  A partial list and approximate dates and events at the hotel during those dates is as follows:  ( In some cases the people listed may have been managers for other owners whose names were not available)

Mary Rouse and later her husband- 188o
HS Brockway-Director-1886
***First recorded liquor license issued
JC McGaughey and JG Healy- 1899
***Recorded liquor license issued
***In 1903, the hotel was hit by shrewd robbers


***Mr. Healy brought in various entertainments during his term as host, including:

an electrical piano on display in the office of the New Central Hotel. It is a great attraction and furnishes some very pleasing music

JW Howarth-1908
***The hotel often served as a location for visiting physicians and other traveling merchants.  This ad appeared in 1908.

This article in a book published in 1912 indicates that mechano-therapy was often questioned as a viable treatment

Frank Henratty purchases in 1909

Frank Henratty-May 1909

Mel Shreve-1916
****After purchasing the hotel, Mr. Shreve made updates to the hotel and ran it with portions unavailable until the updates were completed.
**** The lake and dam in town provided refrigeration for the businesses in Spartansburg and each winter there was an ice harvest.  This report describes the process and some of the harvest recipients:

Is of Excellent Quality, Clear and Solid and Over a Foot in Thickness.

The harvesting of the ice crop commenced in earnest last week. Weather conditions permitting (and it looked as if they will) there will be about 12,000 tons taken from Clear Lake.
The Supplee Milk Plant expects to store 6,000 tons in their ice house and 200 tons in the open. They have four teams and twenty four men at work with the ice. C. L. Rexford will put up about 150 tons of ice for his use in the ice cream parlor. Donald Kinney, about 100 tons for use in the meat market, and the Central Hotel has a large-sized ice house to fill, besides those who put it up for their individual use.
The ice is of a fine quality from 15 to 18 inches thick. A sort of peculiar streak was found when the first ice was cut. About seven or eight inches down, there was an air chamber of an inch and a half to two inches, and then another layer of ice about seven inches in thickness, but as the water has flowed in, this space has frozen solid uniting the two layers.

This place in common with many other others, suffered an ice famine last season and many tons were shipped in from Chautauqua Lake and other places.

Joseph Weidner, 1922

Joseph Weidner-1922

TE Bradley 1923 Manager

TE Bradley- 1923- changed name to Spartansburg Hotel
Floyd Davis (son of Bradley) 1924

*** In 1924, 2 of the town’s ladies opened a restaurant at the hotel according to this advertisement


**** Another ice harvest was described in 1925

The ice harvest is in full swing and many loads are taken from Clear Lake every day. While the milk plant cuts and packs the largest quantity of any one plant or firm, yet C. L. Rexford at the drug store, Spinks & Lorenz at the meat market, Theodore Bradley at the Spartansburg Hotel and other business places and private homes store it for summer use. 

 **** Two rather unique happenings were reported in 1925.   A teenaged boy, supposedly riding a bike from Pittsfield to Pittsburgh because his parents were moving and there was no room in the car for him, stopped in town and was treated quite well by some of the townsfolk.  Also, an airplane was forced to land outside of town to make repairs.  They spent the night at the Spartansburg Hotel.

Teen on a Bike gets help from townsfolk in 1925
Airmen make a hasty landing outside of Spartansburg and spend the night in 1925
Fullers own Hotel, 1927

Bert Fuller- 1927-  The Fullers had operated an eating establishment called the “Sip and Bite” across the street from the hotel
ClaraBelle Fuller (after death of Bert)
Leased to Mamie Lawson by Clara Belle Fuller-1936- Lawson lease was only 3 months
October 1936-closed by Fuller

Hotel was purchased and re-opened by Cleve Still-April 1937
AW Lord-August 1939
****A report of $4000 being “flashed around” was denied by hotel personnel in 1939

Paul Allen-1947- May
WE Dunlap- 1947-July
**** In 1947 and 1948, the first ads for dancing and dinner music appeared


The hotel survived the 1898 and 1905 fires.  Then, in 1952, another fire scare was answered by fast-thinking fire responders and the hotel was saved


Paul Allen- Feb 1953
***Incorporated as Sparta Hotel- June 1953


****Another robbery was reported at the hotel-this time $800 in cash was stolen from an unlocked room upstairs


Rune Nordstrom and Louise Anderson 1960
*****Nordstrom and Anderson were 50/50 owners of the Sparta Hotel.  They shared the duties, including serving drinks behind the bar.  However, a law passed in 1878, called the “Barmaid’s Act” did not allow women to serve drinks behind the bar, only as a wiatress, unless they were married to the owner, or were the 100% owner.  A PLCB representative found Louise serving drinks and suspended the liquor license.  What followed that suspension was a series of appeals that ended up in the PA Supreme Court.

Spartansburg Barmaid license suspension and appeals

Neil Stranahan-1964 (sheriff sale purchase)


Wallace Mick and Dave Carlson


Rolland (Bub) Carlson (Judy)


Ben Byler (Spartansburg Grille Inc-Ficticious Name Application for Ashley’s Pub- September, 2004