The Hotel Sturgis (1867, 45 Main Street)

(Originally the site of the Glotz House built in 1765. The Glotz house was sawed in half and the two sections moved to separate sites.)

The number one eye-sore of Lititz is now but a memory and the old Hotel Sturgis, now the Sturgis House, is one of the most attractive buildings in town. It needs only the Sturgis Alley project to give it a perfect setting.

The historical background of this house cannot be ignored. It was Edward Samuel Sturgis (1862-1889) who built the hotel in 1867 after finishing his hitch in the Civil War with Nevin’s Independent Battery I. Edward had a cousin Edwin who also was a war veteran. The fact that Edward was thirty-four years old and the father of eight children did not exempt him from the service. He was a member of the local militia at the time and this may account for his call.

Edward had married Rosanna Oehme in 1831 who was the great-aunt of Bill Oehme and it is through him that most of the Sturgis history has come to light. Rosanna was known to be the best cook in Lititz.

Uncle Edward, according to Bill, came home in the same financial condition of most war veterans – dead broke. His father Samuel had the thriving pottery business on the south side of the street and decided to set him up in the hotel business which was then booming here. Probably the reason the pottery business was so successful was the fact that his father had seven sons and seven daughters.

The original hotel was two-story and it was not until twenty-eight years later that his successor added the third story. Since then it had quite a checkered career with probably more downs than ups, but its future is definitely now assured.

When the hotel was built the popular Lititz Springs Hotel (Sutter) was catering to the well-to-do who came here to partake of the famous spring water that would restore their health. What else they drank was of little consequence. The prices than were considered high – six dollars a week for boarding and lodging, but then the cold baths were free. Just what this cured we have never learned. Since there was need for another commercial hotel in addition to Warwick and Rome, the Sturgis was built.

Going back another mere century we find that the hotel replaced the old log Glotz Tobacco Shop built in 1765. This business also had its troubles. Glotz was accused of not making snuff up to standard and, against his objections, was ordered to take Congressional money which was very unpopular in 1781. He complained bitterly of the sparks that dropped on his house from Rauch’s foundry (Spacht’s) where the auger bits were being made, but seemed to get little sympathy. It was in 1843 that the beautiful Kreider house next door was built.

Just what became of the old tobacco house is fairly well known. Part of the building was moved to 500 Main Street where, quite appropriately, it adjoins the monument to the Revolutionary soldiers. Patronizing this tobacco shop was one of the few pleasures the wounded soldiers enjoyed.

Lititz is indeed indebted to the group of public spirited citizens who had enough foresight to restore the old Hotel Sturgis and thus insure the future of our down-town business section.
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