The Hotel Belvedere

The Hotel Belvedere was built in 1905 by Joseph Gianini who was born in Switzerland in 1852.  He immigrated to the United States and ended up in Apollo.  He built the hotel in 1905 and named it “Belvedere” which means “Beautiful view” in Italian. 

The Belvedere was situated across the railroad tracks from the West Apollo Railroad Station.  This was perfect because of the large number of passengers traveling on the rails. 

“The hotel’s heyday was in the early 1900s, when passenger trains stopped across from the hotel,”  according to Alan Morgan of Apollo,  secretary of the Apollo Area Historical Society. “The last train of the day, known as the “bummer,” pulled in at 12:45 a.m.  Not all on the ‘bummer’ were able — or wanted — to go home, so they stayed at the hotel,” Morgan said.

West Apollo Rail Road Station 1916
The Hotel Belvedere celebrating Apollo’s Centennial in 1916. Joseph Gianini is pictured on the left in front of the door.

The first floor of the Belvedere hotel had a candy shop and ice cream parlor.  Over the years the area became a bar.  The upper floors were used as guest rooms, but eventually became apartments.  The hotel was often called the Tin Hut because of the beautiful tin ceilings and tin on the walls.  The rooms also had large fireplaces and detailed wood baseboards and trim.

As passenger trains became obsolete, the train depot was torn down and there was no need for a large hotel there, especially when the roads were widened and there was no parking available.

The years have not been kind to the old building.  The owner, Lanna Planitzer, who bought the place in 1979, had hopes of restoring it, but it was much too expensive and needed too much work.  Ms. Planitzer lived there until July 2017 when the building was condemned and she had to leave.

THIS IS FROM THE PITTSBURGH PRESS, PAGE 133, ON SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 1986.
The hotel today.

Thank you to Alan Morgan, AAHS Secretary for his information and to the late John Gibson for his article in the Valley News Dispatch from the 1970’s.

Hotel Belvedere Comes To A Sad End Tuesday, July 23, 2019

https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/fire-destroys-historic-hotel-dep-called-to-address-asbestos/969626916

PHOTOS: Fire destroys historic Belvedere Hotel - (1/7)
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PHOTOS: Fire destroys historic Belvedere Hotel - (7/7)

Here is a link to an article about the removal of the Belvedere.

https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/plans-set-to-remove-toxic-rubble-from-belvedere-hotel-fire-scene-in-oklahoma-boro/?fbclid=IwAR0-weygbBHG1Z5gS6qgqNPr2vyRbTEwTW2Zf5zKpzn07-JSBHNP40wq0p4

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12 thoughts on “The Hotel Belvedere

  1. Carolyn o’leary July 12, 2019 — 6:59 pm

    Such a shame to have let this happen to the past for a non-caring present and future

    Like

    1. We agree. Wish someone could have saved it.

      Like

  2. Lonnie Breisch July 24, 2019 — 1:47 am

    It is now gone forever. So sad to see it end in a massive fire instead of being restored.

    Like

  3. Sherry sabatino July 24, 2019 — 10:23 am

    So sad to see it gone. I never thought coming through there half hour before the fire started that it be the last time I saw it. The history of hotel was amazing as I was intrigued by it 4 years ago when I moved here. It was Apollo’s staple landmark. When people come through there it’s the 1st thing they saw.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Was way past restoring

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was purchased in 1979 with the expectation of restoring it but there was so much needed done that it wasn’t financially feasible.
      https://www.google.com/amp/s/apollopahistory.com/2019/03/19/the-hotel-belvedere/amp/

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Claudette Wood July 24, 2019 — 9:11 pm

    Would love to read an historical book about this hotel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wish there was one. Someone suggested we publish a flyer or brochure of some sort. Maybe we will…

      Like

    2. Joe (Jim) Kerr July 27, 2019 — 8:30 am

      I doubt that a book would be much of a read. Just about the only history of any worth reading was mentioned above. Regardless, farewell to a once grand building.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are considering making Windows to Apollo’s Past book #8 about the Belvedere!!

        Like

  6. patricia foster July 25, 2019 — 8:25 am

    My family the Fosters lived there in the late 1950s. My sister and I feel like we lost a friend but she went down in glory.

    Liked by 1 person

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