Bedford Springs Hotel Historic District
Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa.
Award Type: Honor Award
Located in the Allegheny Mountains of south central Pa., the Bedford Springs Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America®, has beckoned visitors for more than two centuries. Established in 1798, Bedford Springs grew from a backwoods collection of simple bathhouses positioned to take advantage of seven natural springs to one of the nation's premier mid-19th century resort spas. The main hotel complex comprises an elegant collection of 11 stone and frame buildings that date from 1826, including the Classical Revival-style Pool Building, constructed to house spa treatment rooms and one of America's first indoor, spring-fed swimming pools. By the end of the 19th century, the grounds featured springhouses, pavilions and footbridges along the "Serpentine Trail" which linked the springs, and a golf course added in 1895. Civil War generals, captains of industry and six U.S. presidents were all frequent visitors, and one guest, President James Buchanan, claimed Bedford Springs as his summer White House.
Hard hit by the Depression, Bedford Springs returned to national prominence during WWII as a Naval radio training facility and a housing complex for interned Japanese diplomats. The resort then resumed guest operations, but years of deferred maintenance and poor management helped secure the hotel's fate, and it closed in 1986. After developer Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd. embarked on an ambitious and meticulous three-year, $120 million renovation project, which included the rehabilitation of the historic hotel buildings, golf course, footbridge and pavilion, and the addition of a new hotel and spa wing, the hotel re-opened in 2007. Today, stacked porches, the hotel's signature architectural feature, overlook expansive grounds that have regained their original lushness, while expertly recreated historic interiors welcome visitors, and the indoor swimming pool sparkles again.
"After two decades of tireless, monumental efforts to save it, the Bedford Springs Hotel is once again one of America's finest historic destinations, a perfect blend of past and present," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "In addition to the obvious benefits to travelers, the rehabilitation of Bedford Springs has spurred job creation, additional tax revenues and public works projects. The project is a 'win-win' for the community and for discerning travelers."
Along with Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd. , co-recipients honored for restoration of the Omni Bedford Springs Resort are: The Ferchill Group; Corgan Associates; Sandvick Architects, Inc.; 3North; Reynolds Construction Management, Inc.; Forse Design; and Frontier Construction Company.