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Authors say, “There’s something about local history”

By Staff | Dec 14, 2016

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary CAPTION - Matt Stackhouse (seated) greets Pauline Kolletzki, a neighbor to the site of the former Hotel Essick. On Nov. 16, a program and book signing occurred during a gathering of the Tivoli Christian Women.

TIVOLI – The sanctuary of the United Methodist Church at Tivoli was filled with men and women interested in hearing from two writers who are also area natives.

Co-authors Matthew Stackhouse and David Richards had compiled the history of the former Hotel Essick in a book titled “Ghost on the Allegheny.’

As a guide of many years at Gettysburg National Park, Picture Rocks native David Richards is well known and has written several books. This most recent edition is a first for Matthew Stackhouse, his younger counterpart.

Credited to happenstance, the two men met after a visit to Gettysburg by Matt’s mom, Debra Stackhouse and friend Debra Steranski. The mother suggested that Richards meet her son as both have a huge interest in history. The chance remark led to a long and tedious research to document the existence of an opulent hotel formerly located north of Picture Rocks.

From his youth, Stackhouse has been interested in history. He has garnered an enormous post card collection. This caused Richards to say, “Matt has a larger collection than I do. It’s good we got together; we were probably bidding against each other on e-bay.”

Stackhouse, who grew up only two miles from the former hotel site, was born in Shrewsbury Township and graduated from Hughesville High School in 1974 before attending Lycoming College. He currently resides in Chambersburg, PA.

Although much research had been done and information collected, the authors were disappointed that much remains unknown. It was suggested that as ‘Brownie’ cameras were available at the time, there should be snapshots of hotel guests playing tennis or golf.

“Though we never located a list, it is likely locals made up the hotel’s workforce,” Stackhouse said. The authors’ plea to the public was to let them know if anyone should be aware of an ancestor or relative employed at the resort.

The self-published book may not be the last as the twosome hinted there could be more to come. Before coming to Tivoli, a second printing was ordered. The overwhelming interest somewhat surprised the authors who agreed “There’s something about local history.”

Their book “Ghost on the Allegheny:The Hotel Essick” can be purchased at the East Lycoming Historical Society, the Thomas Taber Museum and Amazon.