Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Along the Way: The Coffee Pot

The Coffee Pot, Bedford
On a recent trip to the southern part of the state, I was treated to one of the most unique buildings I've ever visited. Though I had heard about it years ago, I honestly thought it had been demolished. I was surprised to learn I was wrong and the building had not disappeared as the years passed it by.

Standing along business route 30 in Bedford is a unique piece of Americana – resting at the edge of the county fairgrounds is a giant, two-story coffee pot.

Originally designed and built by Bert Koontz in 1927, it was erected to attract people to his gas station. The Coffee Pot was originally on the northern side of Route 30, almost directly across from the spot it now occupies. It initially served ice cream, burgers, and beverages to those exploring the Lincoln Highway and the Allegheny Mountains.

The Coffee Pot
The construction of the Route 30 bypass and the Pennsylvania Turnpike meant less traffic and fewer visitors. The gas station and the coffee pot became victims of progress. The Coffee Pot became a bar for a few years while the gas station became a drive-through beer distributor. Seventy years after its grand opening, the coffee pot was a mere shell of its former glory. After being empty for years, it was slated to be torn down.

In 2003, shortly before it was scheduled to be razed, the building was saved. The Bedford County Fairgrounds bought it for one dollar and had it moved across the street to its current location. A small fortune was spent moving and repairing the building. A year after it was moved, it was reopened as a visitor's center.

The Coffee Pot was easy to spot as I entered Bedford; after all, it definitely is an attention catcher. The metallic gray coffee pot had red framing around its windows and door. And, in case you missed it, the words "The Coffee Pot" are painted onto its side. Though it is still classified as a visitor's center, the building appeared empty the day I visited.

The information sign outside The Coffee Pot
As I investigated the Coffee Pot and its surroundings, I was surprised by the number of people who stopped and took pictures. While there, three other families stopped to take pictures. It seemed to still be a very popular place to visit. One older couple stopped and asked if I would take their picture. They were from England and were traveling from Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio. They were going to follow Route 30 as far as they possibly could before picking up the interstate into Columbus. They thanked me and continued on their journey.

I took a couple more pictures before heading homeward, glad that this unique building had been saved for other generations to visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment