WILKES-BARRE – People who used to visit and work inside the Hotel Sterling during the downtown’s glory days told Newswatch 16 about their fond memories of the landmark and concerns with the demolition.
Contractors have been cleared to start tearing down the Hotel Sterling on July 25.
City officials said the current lane closures on North River Street and Market Street will remain, and additional closures will be considered on a daily basis as demolition work progresses.
John Long said he remembers the downtown staple attracting crowds during celebrations and holidays.
“When we were in college we would go through the lobby. It was a beautiful old building. With the chandeliers and marble pillars and the antiques. It’s a shame its coming down,” said Long.
Fred George told Newswatch 16 that he was hired as a dishwasher at the Sterling Hotel as a teenager, and he retired as one of the head chefs.
“To me, it’s tragic. They could have saved this,” said George. “The elegance of the chandelier; it’s a detrimental loss. A lot of people are desponded about it. Even our protesting, they wanted to help us.”
Following years of financial woes and flooding damage, George said he was heartbroken to hear that plans to overhaul the historical hotel had been abandoned.
Some items salvaged from the building will go to the Luzerne County Historical Society.