The Montrose Hotel
(a/k/a "Thunderbird Boatel")
(Source: Post Card Photo Borrowed from Internet)
July 21, 2005
With Permission From The O'Hara Township (Allegheny County, PA) History
Book Committee . . .
The center of attention along River Road was the Montrose Hotel.
Located for 80 years at the docks for the ferry to Verona, a rail
center on the
opposite eastern shore of the Allegheny. There were
indications as far
back as the 1850s that there had been ferry service between the two
shores and that a tavern or hotel had been there to service the traffic.
An 1851 map shows a store operated by the JESSUP family and a
tavern/store operated by J. BOYD between the canal and what is today
River Road (at the time referred to as Freeport Road). The
known as the Montrose Hotel was constructed around 1884 and continued
the tradition of those early establishments. Ezekiel GORDON
Isabella HULINGS GORDON built the hotel. Zeke GORDON was a
captain and his wife was from the famous river family who ran the
tavern just up the river at Hulings Eddy.
Zeke and Isabella¹s son Ezekiel Jr. took over the hotel in
He also married into a well-known local family when he joined with Jane
in 1886. Ezekiel Jr. ran the hotel until 1903 when he
disposed of it
went back to running a steamboat, the "Charles Turner".
Around 1909 new owners christened it the Montrose Hotel. A
from that era exclaims, "special chicken and waffle dinners on short
notice." The picture emphasizes its proximity to boat docks and
Station. "Meet me at Montrose Hotel," was an early
advertising 'catch phrase' used on a series of postcards.
The Montrose Hotel continued
in operation through World War II when
John T. ADAMS purchased it in 1945. ADAMS sold it in October 1962 and
new owner, Thomas LUGEN, remodeled and renamed it the "Thunderbird
Boatel." Mr. LUGEN spent a quarter of a million dollars to
80-year-old building into a combination motel and dock facility for
It wasn¹t long after the remodeling that disaster struck. On
January 28, 1964, the Thunderbird burned to the ground, taking with it
neighboring home of the previous owner, John ADAMS.
Source: Copyright 2004, The O'Hara Township History
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