The Americus Hotel (Endangered)
Designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm Ritter and Shay, ground was broken for this Spanish-Moorish-style hotel at the northeast corner of Sixth and Hamilton streets on July 17, 1926, with then-Mayor Malcom W. Gross and General Harry C. Trexler in attendance. Opened on September 13, 1927, and supposedly named after the sixteenth-century explorer Amerigo Vespucci, the hotel cost $2.5 million and was paid in cash on the day it opened. Built by Allentown businessman Albert “Bert” Gomery, the ornate 14-story hotel boasts Spanish-style tile insets and brick decoration, as well as graceful arched windows. On the lower levels, pedestrians can still see the American eagles that grace the building. In addition to the building’s two ballrooms, the grand ballroom located off the lobby and the smaller “Tiara” ballroom on the 11th floor, the building contains about 80 rooms and 40 apartments, many of which were occupied until the City of Allentown forced tenants to leave because the building was unfit for habitation. This once-beautiful hotel is now sitting vacant, except for several businesses that still do business in the lower level of the hotel along Sixth Street. Albert Abdouche owns the building, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been working with the city and NIZ on reconstruction but little progress has been made.