Previous to the construction of the Edison Hotel, in 1845, there stood a tavern named the Buck at the corner of Shamokin and Fawn streets in the burgeoning town of Sunbury. This area was home to natural resources such as lumber, gas, and coal which helped to build wealthy individuals out of the entrepreneurs who saw the possibilities. The wealth they created drew more people, and created a transportation hub at the confluence of the East and West branches of the Susquehanna River. It was in Sunbury where the lives of political leaders and business leaders intersected.
In 1870, E. T. Drumheller proposed to build his third hotel in Sunbury named the City Hotel. At the time of the Hotel’s construction, it was a magnificent brick structure in a town at the center of industry and resources. Other than Drumheller’s hotels, notable hotels such as the Fairmont and the Neff, with its Garden Terrace, graced these streets. Imagine Sunbury then, a town which needed more than five hotels to house the travelers who passed. The town’s population was over 13,000 then, greater than it is today.
For these reasons, Thomas Edison chose this location to demonstrate the miracle of incandescent electric lighting. On July 4, 1883, the City Hotel became the first building in the world to be lighted by Edison’s three-wire electric system.
After a fire in 1914 and significant renovations, the hotel was rededicated and renamed in 1922, after Mr. Edison, who returned for Sunbury’s 150th anniversary celebration. More recently, the Hotel Edison has undergone significant renovations to the dining room, hallways, rooms, and other facilities in order to restore the building’s classic charm and accuracy. Visit us for dinner, or stay overnight in one of our cozy rooms!
With centuries of history to explore here in Sunbury, PA, there is always plenty to do and discover! Here are a few resources where you can learn more about the town and the hotel, as well as check out other locations nearby. We truly hope to see you soon! Please contact us if you would like to visit or find out more.