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Packard House in Canton Borough, Bradford County PA

The person who sent this to my grandmother a hundred years back was kind enough to label the Packard House for us. 
Hotel : Packard House, Canton
Township: Canton Borough, Bradford County PA
Year: estimate written 1946. 
Postcard from Joyce's Collection
Article by Eleanor Keagle submitted by Don Stanton
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By Eleanor P. Keagle

For the first time since the present Packard House opened in 1904, the hotel’s doors are closed to the public and prospects for reopening seem rather dim. If the liquor license is not renewed by June 1, the building will have to be extensively remodeled before a license would be reissued. Renovation would include a number of new bathrooms.

There has been a hotel on this site for about 108 years. In 1838 C. S. Sellard built a house there and many years later his daughter, Mrs. Emmaline Leavitt wrote this description of her home. "It was built for a farmhouse and considered a fine structure for the place and time. There were six fireplaces, and hickory logs with pitch pine for kindling were plenty in those days. We lived there until the Northern Central Railroad was built through here in 1854. When my father sold out, the home was used for a hotel for many years, but was finally taken down and the more commodious Packard House built on the site."

Mrs. Leavitt gives this account of the house-warming in 1838 when she was four years old: "The house warming was to be a ball, beginning in the afternoon and lasting until daylight the next morning. People came from Lacey(ville) and Towanda on horseback and in wagons and the immediate neighborhood on foot. They brought a keg of whiskey, as no doings in those days was complete without it. This was put in a small room near the dining room and the next morning we children paddled with bare feet in the whiskey and water that had been spilled. My father told me, no one was drunk as they are nowadays as the liquor was purer from poison then."

Little more is known of this hotel. The 1869 Bradford County Altas of Beers, Ellis and Soule shows a hotel, called Central Hotel, operated by George Mettler, on this site. Two other hotels were shown in Canton, the American Hotel and Restaurant, H. Tuttle, Prop. On the opposite side of the street, and the Keystone House, E. D. Chase, Prop. On Troy Street, near where the Krise Garage is located.

In 1876, the wooden three story hotel, the first to be called the Packard House was built and in operation. Ottis Williams, one of Canton’s older citizens whose memory in excellent, told of his father taking him to see General Tom Thumb, the famous midget who was a guest there. Ottis was between two and three years old and well remembered his father holding him on one knee and the General on the other, with Ottis the taller of the two. T. H. Kennedy operated the Packard Hotel in 1902.

In 1903 this building was razed and the present brick structure erected by C. B. and S. F. Williams, contractors. It was completed in the spring of 1904, when a formal opening was held so all could see its splendor. Bricks from the second Minnequa Hotel which had burned in May 1903, were salvaged and used as the inner or "backing up" walls of the new Packard House. E. B. Loop, who had operated the Canton House on Troy Street, was the first proprietor of the new hotel. When he later took over management of the Updegraff Hotel in Williamsport, Homer Drake succeeded him. Next came Byron Norton, the George Snyder, George Behan and Mrs. Mary V. Ballard who became Mrs. Mary Ballard Craig.

During her regime the hotel prospered; excellent meals were served and the Pioneer Room added. This cocktail lounge with its lovely murals, painted by Scott Griswold, depicting early events in Canton’s history, was very popular. After Mrs. Craig’s death, her son, Lynn R. Ballard continued to operate the hotel until he sold to Walter G. (Skinny) Zellers. Due to Mrs. Zeller’s serious illness, the business was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William Ray of Jersey Shore, PA. The Ray’s had no previous experience in hotel management and decided to return to their former home.

Postcard Above
1911 Directory Ad at Right

 Subj:  Canton Hotel
Date:  9/19/2001 10:34:23 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Creig B Crippen)

Thanks for the article on the Packard Hotel. I remember the watering trough that is in the picture. That stood in the middle of the square in 1923, when I first saw the town. My paternal grandparents were married in the Packard Hotel in December 1879. That would have been the wooden building that was on the site before the brick hotel was erected. The thing I remember about the Packard is, in about 1924-25 a man who billed himself as "The Human Fly" arrived in town and climbed up the front of the hotel. Dad's store (Grand Union) was across Main St. and just out of the picture to the right.
  Thanks Joyce, I enjoyed reading it.
   Creig B. Crippen

 Death of Kileon Packard.
      Kileon Packard who died on Saturday night of kidney trouble at his  home near Alba, was born in Canton township,  October 7, 1826, and was the son of Silas and Sally Ayres Packard, natives  of Pelham, Mass., and Lackawanna county, N.  Y., respectively.  Mr. Packard received a common school education.  He was  one of the most successful farmers in the  country, amassing a comfortable fortune.  He was married in Burlington in  1855 to Matilda, daughter of Dr. Henry Riley.  Two  children were born to them, Arvilla (Mrs. C. L. Chesley) and Laura, both of  whom, with the wife, are dead.
      Mr.  Packard purchased the Central Hotel in this place a number of  years ago, and remained in the Packard House.  He  had completed arrangements for replacing it with a modern brick structure  this spring, and his death will not interfere with the  carrying out of his plans.  He was also for many years a director of the  First National Bank of this place.
      The funeral will be held this morning. –Canton Sentinel, March 17.[1903]
The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933