We stop one more time before we get to our appointment at the Lincoln Motor Court. Along Route 30 in Pennsylvania, there are just too many things to see and do as you motor along.
We pull off the right side of the road at the area where the official blue sign now says LOOKOUT POINT MT. ARARAT. There’s an amazing view from here. A low stone wall and a guard rail let you know that it’s surely safer to stay in the gravel, but if you step over both barriers, you can peer over the edge of the hill and see some of the ruins of the amazing Ship Hotel that was here from the early 1930s till 2001 when it burned to the ground. Bob and Glenn had to get a shot of the concrete and crumbly remains of its foundation about 15 or 20 feet down.
The Grand View Ship Hotel was a landmark work of roadside architecture, a big ship-shaped building that was built on the side of this mountain. You had to stop and take a look, although for many years you could also spend the night here because it was a hotel. On the prow of the ship there was lettering that let you know you could see 3 States and 7 Counties!
Bob and I had stopped here last fall when we drove out this way to get some shots of the Lincoln Highway with beautiful foliage. And we have to stop again today. It’s such a glorious summer day. The view is still wonderful, although it’s sliced by several tall thin burnt trees.
Back in 1992 when I was shooting stuff for our program called The Pennsylvania Road Show, I asked Brian Butko to come out here with us and talk a bit about the Ship Hotel because I had read an article he wrote about it for PITTSBURGH magazine. That’s when I met Brian (back when he had a blue Camaro convertible) and that’s the day I first learned about the Lincoln Highway.
When we stopped that day, the ship had a brown wooden exterior, a sort of shell over the old white ship structure, and the Ship Hotel was called Noah’s Ark at that time. I guess that’s why it still says Mount Ararat on the blue sign. I’ll have to ask Brian.
Back then Brian was working on his first book, a guide to the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania, and now, some 16 years later, he tells me that his next book will be about the history of the Grand View Ship Hotel.