Historic Structures

Building Description S.S. Grand View Point Hotel, Juniata Pennsylvania

The Grand View Point Hotel, a building in the form of a ship, was located on U.S. Route 30, 17 miles west of Bedford, Pennsylvania, in Juniata Township, Bedford County. It was located in a rural area of Bedford County on the east side of Route 30 at an elevation of 2,464 feet on Bald Knob. The Grand View Point Hotel was oriented so that the bow of the ship pointed south and the stern of the ship pointed north. The main entrance to the building was on the west side, facing Route 30. The wooded site slopes very steeply down from Route 30 so that, although the west facade is two stories tall, the east facade is five stories tall with the bottom three stories being below the level of Route 30. The Ship measures approximately 125 feet by 50 feet with around 30,000 total square feet. Begun in 1927, the building took its present form as a ship in c.1930 when an expansion was undertaken. The ship-shaped building that exists today was completed by May 29, 1932. To achieve the shape of a ship, a bow (on the south side) and stern (on the north side) sections were added as was a fifth floor.

A line of double-hung windows lined the west side of the building on the fourth floor, which was level with Route 30. Two main entrances also existed at this level, one towards the south end of the building and one towards the north end. The area between the entrances was originally open as a small porch with two pillars that supported the deck above. The porch was enclosed c.1935. The fifth floor of the building was rectangular. The west facade of this floor was nine bays wide. The middle bay of the west facade contained a door and was flanked by four wide windows on each side. The windows and door were all crowned by fanlight windows.

The south facade of the fifth floor was also nine bays wide. The wall of this facade bowed outward and was topped by a low-gabled roof. The door on this facade was in the fourth bay from the western side. The other bays contained simple double-hung windows with three panes in the top sash and one pane in the bottom sash.

The east facade of the fifth floor, which overlooked the valley, had a three-part window in the middle. This window was flanked on either side by three bays, of single windows. All of the windows were simple rectangular-shaped windows.

On the roof of the fifth floor of the building, which was a low-pitched gabled roof, two smokestacks existed along with two funnels. Two flagpoles, which were 30 feet tall were located at the north and south ends of the roof and nautical flags were strung between them. The smokestacks and funnels on the roof were removed after the late 1970's.

The fourth floor of the east facade had basically a continuous band of windows. Those in the bow were paired while the others in the main section and in the stern on the north end were single windows. Frames for awnings covered the windows in the main section. The date of the original installation of the awnings is unknown.

The second and third floors on the east side of the building also had windows that lined the facade. On the third floor they were double-hung sash windows. The second floor also contained doublehung sash windows, but only in the main body of the building. The bow on the southern end contained portholes. The bottom floor of the east facade contained portholes in the bow and stern sections only. No other windows existed on this floor.

The exterior of the building was originally covered with wooden siding. It was later covered with 1/16 inch thick sheets of metal. This metal deteriorated and was replaced on the west facade by hemlock siding, possibly in the early 1970s. The building had the words "Grand View Point Hotel" painted in large capital letters over the entrance on the west facade. The words over the entrance changed through the years depending on the name of the building and they included "S. S. Grand View Hotel" in the 1930s and 40s, "Grand View Ship Hotel" in the 1950s and 60s, and "Noah's Ark, Ship of the Alleghenies" in the 1970s. On the stern facing the road the words "SEE 3 STATES AND 7 COUNTIES" were painted in large letters and the words "VISITORS WELCOME, FREE TELESCOPE" were painted in smaller letters. The stern also had those words painted on it as well as the words "post cards, souvenirs" painted in small capital letters. These words remained unchanged. The exterior was again covered with wood today consisting of dark wood planking on the west side facing Route 30. The roof of the building was originally tarpaper but was changed to metal.

The top floor consisted of observation decks, lounge, and about 3 bedrooms with baths. The floor level with the Lincoln Highway (fourth floor) contained two entries, a kitchen, dining room, lounge, and a gift shop. The two levels below the fourth floor contained several bedrooms and baths, approximately 12 bedrooms per floor. The bottom floor was storage space.

Originally, as one entered the building from the highway, the gift shop was housed in the bow on the south end of the building. The main section of the building to the left housed the main dining room, which was the largest room in the building. The west wall of the dining room had a marble soda fountain with mirrors on the wall behind it. The soda fountain was removed when the porch was enclosed c.1935. The north wall of the dining room had pictures of the Ship as well as the old building hanging on it. A mural with a nautical theme circled the room above the windows. The windows in the dining room measured roughly 3 feet by 8 feet.

The north end of the main floor in the stern housed a banquet room on the east side. It was decorated with the same decor as the dining room. Both the dining room and the banquet room had panoramic views of the valley. The west side of the stern housed a small cocktail lounge.

The top floor of the building had the two outdoor decks, one each on the north and south ends. Each deck was roughly a triangle that measured 50 feet on each side. Both decks had canvas awning frames. The two decks were connected by a five foot wide outside walkway on the west side of the building. All of the decks were surrounded by a four foot high metal pipe railing.

The fifth (top) floor housed a lounge that was 36 feet by 12 feet. A skylight, 8 feet by 12 feet, was located in the middle. The rest of the fifth floor contained thirteen sleeping rooms that were called the "1st class" rooms, including four suites that had private baths. The other rooms were connected in pairs by a tiled bathroom in the middle.

The third floor also had rooms that were referred to as the "2nd class" rooms, measuring approximately 8 feet by 12 feet. The second floor also contained rooms that were used to house employees. It was jokingly referred to as "steerage" and housed 40 employees at the peak of the Grand View Point Hotel's popularity.

The bottom floor of the building was used for storage and it also housed the furnaces. There were five coal-powered furnaces that provided steam heat for the building.

The 1927 stone wall in front of the Grand View Point Hotel was modified. What were once turrets at the ends and center of the wall were shortened to be even with the rest of the wall. Wooden octagonal lighthouses approximately 12 feet tall and four feet in diameter were constructed on either ends of the wall in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The turrets at the center of the wall were also shortened and supported the entrance pillars for the building. The stone wall extended approximately 200 feet south of the building and a shorter distance to the north of the building.