Just down the creek from the breast of Bernhart’s Dam was the Spring Valley Hotel. It had been in existence more than a century. Over the many years, thousands and thousands of people spent pleasant summer days at picnics, pigeon shoots, baseball games and, during the less pleasant months of the year, attending indoor shows usually made up of local talent.
The sponsors were Sunday schools and churches, fraternal lodges, high school classes and literary societies. At the turn of 20th century, the Board of Trade had an annual outing there. If the groups did not go for a full day of pleasure, they frequently held “banquets” in the evenings. The kitchen always was a big attraction. How good the bar business was depended on who sponsored the event.
The Spring Valley Hotel, early on, was Bernhart’s Hotel, operated by Daniel, Jacob, and John Bernhart. In the 1870 census, it is shown that the hotel was being operated by P. F. Wentzel. Later, it was operated by the Jesburg family.
In 1903, William B. Lutz purchased the property, where he made a number of substantial improvements, and in the following year bought Spring Park, which was located directly across the street from the hotel, and was one of the best appointed places for Sunday-school picnics, camp meetings and family re-unions. Lutz also made a number of improvements, including the erection of a fine dancing pavilion.
Industry encroached over the ground that once yielded so much pleasure to so many people over so many years. Gone are the symbols of another age – the rail outside the tavern door where horses were tied and the watering trough that once shared Bernhart’s waters with the beast of burden.
The former hotel building – latterly used by the General Battery Corp., which removed the porch and otherwise stripped the place of what remained of its rural trappings – no longer exists.