“Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
City Hall Grand Hotel is located in the heart of Downtown Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Once the “Lumber Capital of the World,” the city is nestled between the beautiful mountains that frame the Susquehanna River. Owners, Tim and Sandra Butters, want to welcome you to Williamsport and to our beautiful Old City Hall and hope your stay here is enjoyable as well as memorable. Make your next vacation or visit to Williamsport truly historic; reserve a room online today at this newly renovated City Hall Grand Hotel!
The hotel’s location and proximity to attractions such as the Crosscutter’s home at Bowman Field, the Community Arts Center, and Little League Baseball where the International Headquarters hosts the Little League World Series every August, make it an ideal spot for traveling to a variety of historic sites and places of interest in the area. Many opportunities for recreation, such as mountain streams, game lands, and hiking paths make this beautiful region a paradise for the hunter, fisherman, and outdoor-lover. During mid-October the mountains surrounding the city are breathtakingly beautiful, displaying a complete artist’s palette of fall coloration. Nowhere in the world does a canvas of evergreens and hardwoods offer a more colorful fall foliage extravaganza.
Preserved Old City Hall is a historic city landmark with a lot of old stories to tell. Eber Culver, one of Williamsport’s foremost architects, designed the five-story building of yellow brick trimmed in stone with molded brick ornamentation and terra cotta columns. Built in 1893, it features two towers: a large rectangular tower and a smaller octagonal tower, both of which have been incorporated into the hotel’s unique design. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976.
Here at the City Hall Grand Hotel, Culver’s eclectic Late Victorian / Romanesque Revival-style meets the industrial style of Joshua Butters and Hulk Destruction, Construction, and Salvage Company. The property is also the home to our famous “Trumpeter,” who stands proudly atop the Civil War monument erected and dedicated nearly 120 years ago in front of a rain-drenched crowd of 10,000.
The building was recently renovated so that its history and incomparable architecture can be shared with both business and leisure travelers alike. We are sure visitors will be intrigued by the unusual, yet comfortable atmosphere of the guest rooms. Each displays the soul of a structure that bears the memories of many long-forgotten moments that helped form Williamsport into the proud city it is today.
Unique Features of the Hulk Rooms
Here at City Hall Grand Hotel, our furnishings are each one of a kind. Josh Butters from Hulk has created a look that is unique to our hotel. Every detail, from each bed and sliding door to the sink and lights, was made exclusively for us. No two rooms are alike, bringing our guests a different experience with each visit.
Our open showers create a space like no other. Separate toilet rooms offer a European flair, and our sliding doors create, and then recreate, a space to suit the individual’s desired look and needs. Although some rooms are perfect for the couple, we suggest a few rooms for those traveling with children: the FLOOD (Rm308) and/or LUMBER (Rm309) rooms, which are more family-friendly, offer a separate space that easily closes off to provide needed privacy.
Lovingly-restored photographs, including a few floor-to-ceiling applications, allow each visitor a chance to stroll through our city’s rich history. Whether every visit brings our guest back to a favorite room, or sparks the curiosity to see what is in the next room, we are sure that each visit will be a historical one.
Cozy Traditional Rooms
Unlike the unique, industrial style of HULK, these rooms provide an experience that will likely appeal to a different audience. Our goal is to make sure that every visitor finds the perfect fit!
These cozy rooms, with their large windows and soft colors, provide a very comfortable atmosphere. Private toilet/shower rooms are brightly lit as well, and the original charm and character of this old city hall adds to the beauty of each room. Several of our “Traditional Rooms” proudly boast the old safes with their delicate artistry, utilizing them as closets for our guests. These rooms have mini refrigerators and Keurig machines, and two of our suites have jacuzzi tubs as well. Like the HULK Rooms, the history of Williamsport is proudly on display, with some pictures dating back to the late 1800s.
IMPORTANT: HERE AT CITY HALL GRAND HOTEL, WE MAY NOT HAVE A STAFF MEMBER AT THE HOTEL UPON YOUR ARRIVAL, AS WE DO NOT HAVE A FRONT DESK. THEREFORE, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL GUESTS HAVE RECEIVED A “PAYMENT CONFIRMATION” AND A “KEY CODE” PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN ORDER TO ENTER THE BUILDING AND/OR YOUR ROOM. THANK YOU.
A Visit from Mark Twain
On New Year’s Eve in 1869, Mark Twain, not yet famous, came to Williamsport to lecture at the Ulman Opera House while on a tour promoting his new book. Some local historians believe that after visiting the run-down Pine Street Cemetery (unofficially named “Ross Park Cemetery”), the appalled Twain wrote a sketch*, entitled “Remarkable Dream,” apparently inspired by its neglect. This imaginative account, written before the adventures of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, records the ponderings of a disgruntled resident of the cemetery speaking with Twain about the deplorable condition of his once beautiful and comfortable grave.
*Mark Twain’s sketch entitled “Curious Dream” first appeared in the Buffalo Express in April of 1870. The short story subsequently appeared
in the “Daily Gazette and Bulletin” of Williamsport under the title, “Remarkable Dream.” In 1980 it was reprinted in the Williamsport
Ross Park Cemetery Remembered
A key player in the formation of Lycoming County and the establishment of Williamsport as the county seat was Michael Ross (1759 - 1819), an immigrant from Scotland. Once an indentured servant to Samuel Wallis (known as the “Land King” of the West Branch Susquehanna River Valley), Ross quickly became a successful surveyor and farmer here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Eventually Ross acquired 285 acres (1.2 km2) of land, originally called “Virginia,” in what is now the central part of Williamsport, which became a borough in 1806. Ross, along with William Hepburn, was a founding father of the city. Some suggest, in fact, that Williamsport was named after the son of Michael Ross, William.
The ground upon which the court house stands, as well as that upon which the [old] jail is erected, were donated by [Michael] Ross. He also set aside the old Pine street burying ground as a graveyard--the first in the town--with the understanding that he and his family should be buried in the centre of it and their bones remain for all time to come, without molestation. He and his wife and two sons were buried there. But years after he was gone, strangers to the founder of Williamsport desecrated the graveyard he thus set apart and to-day the City Hall stands upon the spot chosen by him for his tomb and where his bones rested sixty years before, they were removed together with those of his wife and sons, to the Williamsport cemetery, Washington street [boulevard].**
By the time construction began for the former City Hall in 1893, Michael Ross and his family’s remains, along with many others who were buried here on Pine Street, found permanent rest at the Williamsport Cemetery. Old tombstones, however, continued to be uncovered during the excavation work from time to time.
On July 2, 2016, a “tombstone” memorial with the inscription “ROSS PARK” was dedicated by Mayor Gabe Campana in front of our Old City Hall. This dedication followed a performance by Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz of the Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA across the street as well as the dedication of a plaque honoring Harry Houdini.
With this monument, we would like to remember the men and women that were once buried here, especially Michael Ross and his family, and also, to look back on the days when this property was known simply as “Ross Park.”
We want to give credit to Joshua Butters and Joey Rupert for designing and building this “tombstone” for us, and to HULK for this donation to the city of Williamsport.
**From a June 1895 article about Michael Ross; research by Bruce Huffman
The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, which “chronicles the history of our region from American Indian occupation through 20th century industry and life,” is only a mile away. Less than two miles across the bridge in South Williamsport, the “World of Little League Museum” is fun and interactive museum, divided into six segments to represent the six innings in a little league game! To learn more about the range of activities and events happening in our town, please visit our local attractions tab on this website.
City Hall Grand Hotel would like to give special thanks to the James V. Brown Library, just a few blocks east of the hotel. The library, which is a magnificent example of our city’s finest architecture, is certainly worth a visit. The Brown Library kindly lent our Hotel more than 80 photographs allowing us to bring our city’s history to our guests. Please visit them while in the area, or check out their website at www.jvbrown.edu.
City Hall Grand would also like to thank the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society for kindly providing us the only image of our co-founder, Michael Ross, known to exist. The Museum, which is less than a mile west of our hotel, chronicles the history of our region from American Indian occupation through 20th century industry and life. Visitors can enjoy many wonderful exhibits, including an American Indian gallery, a Fine and Decorative Arts gallery, 19th century period rooms, and the Shempp Model Train exhibit with over 300 toy trains. Please visit them while in the area, or check out their website at www.tabermuseum.org.
City Hall Grand Hotel would like to give a special thanks to Dorothy Dietrich & Dick Brookz, our friends at the Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA. They very kindly sent to us some wonderful memorabilia to use in the City Hall Grand Hotel, allowing us to bring a bit of “Houdini History” to our guests. Dorothy and Dick currently have the only building in the world dedicated to Harry Houdini. Please visit their museum while in the Scranton area, or check out their website at www.houdini.org.