Abraham Lincoln Hotel building added to historic register

17-story Art Deco building constructed in 1930

READING, Pa. - The timing couldn't be better for what was once downtown Reading's tallest building.

With Presidents Day approaching, the Abraham Lincoln Apartments, named for the United States' 16th president, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service announced Wednesday.

The 17-story Art Deco-style building at North Fifth and Washington streets was constructed as a hotel in 1930. It was recently converted into an apartment building, and despite being closed for five years by an electrical fire in 1987, the building maintains many of its original design elements, according to the park service.

The hotel was one of the last designed by New York City architect William Lee Stoddart, who happened to be born the year Lincoln was elected president.

"Constructed at the height of the 1920s hotel building boom, the Abraham Lincoln Hotel reflected the previous 30 years of developments in the hotel industry in the United States," according to registration form filed with the park service. "It offered the latest amenities in hotel services and reflected cutting edge hotel design — with bathrooms, radio, telephone, and ceiling fans in every room."

Famous guests of the hotel included composer and conductor John Philip Sousa, who died in his 14th-floor room in 1932; Eleanor Roosevelt; and Gene Autry.

Other buildings in Reading that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places include City Hall, the Pagoda, and the former Hampden firehouse on Greenwich Street.

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