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Early Buildings of Summit Hill, Pennsylvania

Updated December 16, 2006



The Armory was built in 1854 to serve as a jail and armory. Captain J.J. Wintersteen ran the Carbon Guard from this building and they saw substancial action during the Civil War. After the Civil War, it was used by the 9th regiment of the National Guard, Company F. In 1890, the town purchased the Armory to serve as Town Hall and a firehouse was added. On March 25, 1908, the Old Armory was gutted by fire, caused by an overheated stove. Its stones were used in the foundation of the Citizen's Bank in Lansford.

This is how the Armory appeared in the 1880s, before the firehouse addition.

Above is a beautiful and rare cabinet (7"x4") photo of the Old Armory from the late 1890s when the firehouse was added.

This picture dates to the late 1890s in some unknown event.

Looks like delivery day at the Armory or possibly some renovation going on inside?

Above is an early postcard of the Armory.

This is the actual article from March 25th detailing the fire.


The station was in the middle of town aside of the Summit Inn. The orginal station was built in 1872. This picture shows the station after it was rebuilt in 1889, probably to accommodate the growing number of tourists that rode the Switch-Back. This is where you purchased tickets and souvenirs, such as coal ornaments and post cards.

The picture of the station above was taken in 1900. It comes from a small booklet of pictures called The SWITCH-BACK R.R.

The picture in the postcard on the top is from 1905, while the postcard on the bottom is from 1909.

Colorized postcards of the Station.

This is one of my favorite pictures. I'm not sure of the date on this picture, but it shows the station during a snowstorm.

The pictures above are from a pair of negatives at the museum. They show the Station on June 15, 1938 as it is being dismantled.


In 1850 Abram Harris built the hotel on the corner of Railroad (Front)and Market. There were many boarding houses in town, but many city travelers stayed at the Eagle when they stayed in town. The most extravagant event there was the annual Mule Drivers Ball. It was one of the most popular places in town holding many different events such as Boxing matches, basketball games (high school games), dances, roller skating parties, and movies. The building survived over 70 years before being razed to make room for the Mauch Chunk Silk Mill.

The pictures above were taken during Old Home Week, September 1912.


I do not have too much information on the Summit Inn, such as when it was built. I do know it was owned by Dr. T. E. Davis, the pharmacist who ran his business across the street. In later years the top floor was a factory and the building was razed in 1971 after it was refused fire insirance.

The picture above is from a postcard that dates to 1910.

This is an undated picture from the Museum. Best guess is from the 1920s after the signs were removed from the upper balcony.

Yes, you really could win a pony back 'in the day'.

The picture above was taken May 10, 1929. I tried my best to bring out the object just to the right of the rooftop of the Summit Inn. It's the Graf Zepplin Los Angeles flying over town!


This view dates to the 1910s.

This view dates to the 1930s after the Switch-Back tracks were removed and replaced by planted islands.

This blotter dates to 1925 when the Ben Hur photoplay was released. The film starred Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, Betty Bronson, Claire McDowell, Kathleen Key, and, of course, Carmel Myers. The Lyric Theater would later become the Capitol Thearter and was located across the street from the Switch-Back Station.

If you would like to view other pictures of Summit Hill click on the buttons below to visit other views of town.

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