Cornelius Connor built the White Swan Hotel to accommodate the thousands of Mauch Chunk’s visitors to the town during its era as a booming coal transportation hub. The White Swan was one of several large, rambling, grand hotels in the town.
Connor rebuilt the hotel after it burned to the ground during the great fire, which consumed many of the town’s buildings in 1849. The new structure was renamed the New American Hotel.
The New American Hotel was the architectural gem and social center of the town during the 19th century and into the 20th century. Many dignitaries including General Ulysses S. Grant, President William H. Taft, Buffalo Bill, Thomas Edison and John D. Rockefeller chose to spend the night under its roof.
Meanwhile, during the later half of the 19th-century, Mauch Chunk basked in its fame as a major tourist attraction, whose visitors descended upon the town for a ride on its famous Switchback Gravity Railroad or a visit to Glen Onoko Falls. At that time, more people visited Mauch Chunk than any other tourist attraction in America, except for Niagara Falls. New York City’s Penn Station even had a train platform dedicated to service to Mauch Chunk.
The Inn fell into disrepair during the Depression, as Mauch Chunk, along with many of the region’s coal towns, suffered from the economic downturn.
The hotel’s owner, John Drury, whose past restoration projects include the Chestnut Hill Hotel near Philadelphia and Glenside’s Keswick Theater, bought the Inn in 1988 and restored it to its original splendor.
His son David is the Inn’s General Manager and a partner in the company, which also includes his brother Dale.
The Inn’s restoration served as one of the major catalysts in Jim Thorpe’s exciting revitalization during the 1980’s. The Broadway Grille dining room and pub were restored and re-opened two decades later.
The building stands proudly today as the landmark gem of Broadway.
Is the Inn haunted? Well, it appears so — at least according to several guests who have reported unexplained activity in some of our guest rooms.
Past reports include chairs being turned upside-down while guests slept. TVs have mysteriously turned on and off, objects have moved around, strange orbs and shadows have appeared in photographs, and small children have said they’ve seen ghosts in their bed. Is it true? One never knows, does one?