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Greensburg Pennsylvania – Automobile Tourists Visit the Mountain Inn

The Mountain Inn was located on the Lincoln Highway, and PA Route 3o four miles east of Greensburg, which is situated in southwestern Pennsylvania. This facility was about thirty-five miles east of Pittsburgh which made it an ideal overnight stop for City residents on a weekend motoring trip to the mountains.

The automobile in the foreground of the enlargeable image (below) appears to be one of the large Willys-Knight models that were built in the 1915 to ’17 period and is fitted with accessory wire wheels. Behind it on the far-left is a Packard of the same era with the radiator being topped up by the owner or the chauffeur. The balance of the vehicles in this scene date from about 1913 up until the late teens.

Note the closed Dodge Brothers “Auto Repair Shop” in the background; the device attached at the top of the white painted section of the telephone pole behind the Overland, and the large number of individual telephone wires supported by the poles. The woman in the white dress and dark coat leaning against the Willys-Knight rear fender appears to be holding two ice cream cones.

Share with us what you find of interest in the enlargeable photographs (below) by photographer John Gates courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library.

16 responses to “Greensburg Pennsylvania – Automobile Tourists Visit the Mountain Inn

  1. The Mountain Inn was midway between Greensburg and Latrobe, in southwestern PA. It appears that the Mountain Inn must have been the predecessor of the Mountain View Inn, which was built ca. 1924 and was demolished about 10 years ago. (A newer addition remains as the Inn at Mountain View.) The original Mountain View Inn was a lovely and historic hotel; we stayed there in the early 2000s, when our son was a student at St. Vincent College, in Latrobe.

    • The Mountain View Inn and the Mountain Inn are not related. The Mountain View Inn was indeed between Greensburg and Latrobe at the junctions of Marguerite Road and New Route 30 and Frye Farm Road and Village Drive. The Mountain View Inn, where you stayed, has been greatly reduced in size and much of the original property now houses a Sheetz-like gas station. Today it is called the Inn at Mountain View, easily found on Google Earth. The Mountain Inn was well-beyond Laughlintown, to the East, and situated near the top of Route 30 between Laughintown and Jennerstown (at the time the photo, Lincoln Highway, formerly the Greensburg Pike.

  2. The device on the telephone pole you referenced could be anything but it looks like a bell. Wonder if it wasn’t used to summon bellboys to help with the luggage of arriving passengers. Sorry that I have no comment on the cars. I know nothing about cars of this era, but I enjoy learning from the David and the others who post them here.

  3. It appears everyone in town had their own phone wire. I think the round object on the pole is a phone bell, my husband says it is a dinner bell-I know what he’s thinking about. I like the “stone” wheel chock behind the right rear wheel of the Overland. Can’t see if there is one in front also. I look as if it were going to roll it would be forward not backward. I guess one of the women didn’t want her picture taken with ice cream cone in her hand so she handed it to her friend to hold. Those shoes on the woman on the running board look painful. Hope she doesn’t have to walk. The men at the Packard-the one in suit pouring the water in the radiator look like he would be the owner of the Packard. Behind him looks like a man in a dirty white outfit-I was trying to see if there are gas pumps on the other side of the Inn, but can’t tell. I do see what looks like a 250 gallon tank back there. I also see a picnic table under the apple trees. Very nice picture, which we could see more of the cars. The one in rear of the line look quit full. Thanks. Love this picture.

  4. A truly wonderful photo of a time and place that looks like the perfect place to spend forever!
    The earliest car appears to be hiding behind the Willys Knight and the telephone pole. Not enough detail to identify it beyond it is not a T model Ford. It does have oil sidelamps in the style common 1910 to ’14. The newest cars appear to be about 1920, also not quite enough detail for full identification. The touring car farther back behind the two women standing on the near running board, has rear window/lights very similar to what Dodge used during the 1910s, however the body and cowl suggest it cannot be a ’10s Dodge.
    The Packard is beautiful! It and the Willys may well be the second and third oldest cars in the photo? I am not a Packard expert, so will not guess at an exact year and model. But what I find quite interesting on it is the outside rear-view mirror. We know they had been available since about 1911 (actually a bit earlier than that in spite of the Marmon legend). And we as hobbyists that like to drive our early cars on our modern roads do like to have good rear-view mirrors on our cars. Some of us have been able to collect a few original era mirrors to use. Other hobbyists have been buying the reproduction rear-view mirrors for more than half a century now. However, the reality is, that if you look closely in original era photos? You will see very few such mirrors actually installed and used back then. So I think it is important to point one out now and then. I know they actually did exist, because I have seen hundreds of originals at swap meets and antique shops, and I have owned about ten of them myself over the years.

  5. Back then everyone had their own pair of wires all way back to the central office or that they shared if they had a party line. Note that there are equally numerous lines marching down the other side of the road as well. Good times for the copper industry.

    Given the apron she is wearing, I am going to suggest that the woman furthest left in the group of four is actually a very early car hop.

  6. The telephone pole, those on the hotel porch and the trees down the road were painted white to help motorists negotiate that curve at night. Don’t hit me. Please. Perhaps the gong on the pole was to alert staff when someone did.

  7. Surprised to see wire wheels , considering the time period you mention. And you had it right David, you correctly stated Southwestern ,Pa.

  8. Well this is interesting. I thought at first that the old Inn was built in the same close vicinity as the Mountain View Inn but apparently not. First, the topography is wrong, second the sun angles, along with foliage and other clues, tell us that the photo was taken probably late AM/early PM sometime in the June/July period and the camera was pointing roughly NNE. So the road seen going away to the right was going East, and down hill for a bit. This puts the Inn on the North side of the road on what is obviously the side of a hill. In looking at historical topo maps I have a couple of candidate spots, unless this is actually located somewhere else! Are we sure it is about 4 miles East of Greensburg?

  9. If you believe the popular story, ice cream cones were a fairly new product, having been invented at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

    Is that a white dog I see in the back seat of one of the cars?

  10. It’s possible that the woman is holding the extra, and almost fully consumed, ice cream cone was holding it for the photographer who needed both hands free to take the photograph. The idea that one of the other women didn’t want to be seen holding her cone is barely tenable, the result of our more modern conceits. The photographer was probably the husband of the woman holding the extra cone, that’s why she agreed to hold it and the man who switched his cone for a camera was demonstrably the more unbridled eater of the two.

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