I’m at the Eagle Hotel in Waterford. How many times have we driven past this place?  Some of us have even had a meal here. But, did we ever think about the people who traveled here before us?  

I’m taking a tour of The Eagle Hotel led by Patrick Jenks, President of the Ft. LeBoeuf Historical Society.  Patrick explained that the hotel was built by Waterford businessman Thomas King.  It opened in 1826. At that time, Waterford had many stagecoaches stopping in town.  King wanted to cater to those travelers.  So he built a hotel that was something special.

"A lot of the similar buildings were made just of wood.  This building, being made entirely of stone that was quarried locally, was different. It definitely stood out at that time as it does today,” says Patrick.  

How special was the Eagle Hotel?  The President of the United States, Zachary Taylor, stayed here overnight in 1849.  His unexpected visit was documented in a report published in a Philadelphia newspaper.  The news article said President Taylor was suffering from the effects of cholera and needed to rest.

"We know that he was not feeling well. He was on his way to up to Erie.  I think it was just he needed to stop. And this was a nice place.  It was befitting of a president at that time,” says Patrick. 

Even if you were not the president, the Eagle Hotel was a great place to eat, gamble, and rest.  12 and a half cents would get you a meal, a bed, a drink, and a breakfast.  Three cents for your horse. There were three rules at the hotel. They were similar to the rules my wife currently has at our house.  Quiet after 10 p.m.  No boots in bed.   No dogs in the kitchen.  

Visitors today can see what the accommodations were like by stepping into the “1826 Room.” How comfortable were these beds?  Well, the surface of the beds were made of rope.   Patrick says It was a nice gesture back then to tell someone to "sleep tight."  

Tours of the Eagle Hotel are conducted on selected weekends.  However, people can step inside anytime by eating at the Sugar ‘n Spice Restaurant located on the first floor.

The Ft. LeBoeuf Historical Society was formed almost 50 years go to save the Eagle Hotel from being demolished.   The campaign was obviously successful.  The historic building will celebrate its 200th year in 2026. Part of the bicentennial plans are to renovate and open the ballroom located on the third floor.