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.

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.

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