John & Martha Chambers came to Apollo in 1847. John ran a freight & passenger boat named the “Apollo Packet” on the Pennsylvania Canal between Apollo & Pittsburgh for several years. Then he opened a store and was quite successful for 18 years. He helped lay out the Apollo Cemetery in 1868 with Thomas Cochran and Sam Jackson. When the Apollo Savings Bank was organized in 1871, John Chambers was elected president and held that office until his death in 1886.
John & Martha Chambers had a son, James who was born on May 21, 1838. James served in the Civil War as a First Lieutenant in Company C, 103rd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. Upon leaving the service, he returned to Apollo. The Chambers House was constructed in 1889 by a citizens group headed by Sheriff James H. Chambers, and was opened to the public in 1890. The elegant hotel was built on the corner of First Street and Warren Avenue in the business center of town. It was considered a brick structure of “modern style and finish” and inside its arrangements were “up to the highest standard of comfort and elegance, with natural gas heating and water and electrical bells on
every floor.” The hotel was bought by the Hartman family in 1912 and the name was changed to the Hartman House.
Eugene Chambers was just out of high school when he joined the Army Air Corps, Philippine
Department on September 17, 1940. At age 22, he was a Private First Class in the 18th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, he was the first service member from Apollo killed in what became known as World War II. The Apollo American Legion, which met in the hotel, petitioned to have the hotel name changed back to the Chambers Hotel in Eugene’s honor in 1950. After his body was brought home from Pearl Harbor, he was laid to rest in the Riverview Cemetery. His grave site is just below the flagpole.
The Chambers Family did much to improve the town of Apollo. They loved their town.
These three pages were taken from “All About Oklahoma, PA” 50th Anniversary 1931-1981 Booklet
For more about the Chambers Hotel, go here.