Buck’s Hotel and Tavern

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Buck’s Hotel and Tavern is home to three resident spirits
who amuse themselves in different ways.

DESCRIPTION

Mission Statement: “To provide a welcoming atmosphere for a good meal and socialization!” Vivian Walker, owner in 1998. (The Dailey News, Friday June 12th, 1998).

The Buck’s Hotel and Tavern was done in the 1804 western Colonial style, and had a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere that was appreciated by its loyal patrons since it opened so long ago.

It is a two and a half story commercial brick building with siding on the exterior, covering the bricks. The common rooms and kitchen are on the first floor. There are hallways connecting the rooms. The tavern, restaurant and event space were popular with the locals for many years.

The rooms on the second floor and its wing, which extend from the back, were rented to extended stay tenants and local residents as well.

The half-story attic also has rooms, perhaps for offices or storage, or for staff, caretaker, or even an owner’s residence.

The front porch extends half the width of the building, with a short brick wall in front.

 

HISTORY

The Buck’s Hotel and Tavern is an important historical landmark for Jonestown. When it was built in 1804, the town was growing, with a need for an event center/ town meeting venue and a place to have a brew or a meal.

The towns folk enthusiastically embraced it.

According to Jonestown resident and historian Evelyn Isele, in a 1998 article published by the Dailey News, “The whole town gathered there for entertainment. Coon roasts were held there and people would gather around the piano to sing. Sleigh ride parties used the hotel as a point of departure.”

There were water pumps located outside the hotel where townspeople could get their water for personal use.

Bucks covered all the bases that modern hotels offer today to bring in funds: Food and drink, events, and hospitality. The first floor tavern and restaurant took care of thirsty and hungry patrons. Town meetings and political events were also held here. Travelers spent the night in the second floor rooms.

As the eras flew by, the hotel rooms became long-term stay and residential units, with tenants paying monthly rent. They were updated with modern conveniences expected by renters, and they were never empty.

The first floor still had its 1804 charm, but was also updated as the years rolled past.
It was continuously open for business, with many owners from 1804-2017, until disaster came at the hands of a deranged arsonist, totaling 90,000 dollars in fire, smoke and water damage.

The fire was started in the first floor hallway, but didn’t spread to other parts of the building, due to sprinklers and fast response from the fire department. Water and smoke damage made both floors unusable. No damage can be seen from the street.

Smoke forced some tenants in the apartments on the second floor to jump to safety.

Buck’s Hotel and Tavern has been closed since the fire. Perhaps they are slowly working on fixing it now that COVID restrictions have been lifted. Insurance could pay for some of it, and the arsonist has to pay restitution, but these two sources may not cover it. The current owners still have to pay Pennsylvania property tax, unless they have simply abandoned the building.

What it needs is The Jonestown Historical Society to take an interest in it, or some dedicated souls form the Friends of the Buck Hotel and Tavern to raise the money to cover the rest of the cost.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

When some spirits were alive, electricity and inside running water were unheard of amenities. Spirits find these modern conveniences too tempting, and love to play with them.

Wayside Inn, NY (After hours, the electrical lights apparently become fun toys for spirits).

General Wayne’s Inn, PA (The spirits of Hessian soldiers knew how to entertain themselves. They loved to play with anything electrical).

Pine Bush Inn, NY (Spirits of children love to play with the lights).

Buck’s Hotel and Tavern, PA (The marvels of inside plumbing and the electrical lights have proven to be too much of a temptation for one spirit).

 

Children who die in a place where they felt love, sometimes choose to stay there. They sometimes wander the halls, looking for their mom or dad.

The Salem Inn, MA (The spirit of a young four or five year old girl has been seen playing on the staircase and steps of the inn. She giggles as she drops tiny stones on the reception desk. She is looking for her mommy).

Bee Bennett Mansion, CA (The spirits of two young boys who died here still have fun playing pranks on the living while looking for their parents).

Wayside Irish Pub, NY (A small girl child died on the third floor, probably from a disease that was sweeping through town at the time. Her spirit plays in the hallway of the third floor, while looking for her mom and dad).

Buck’s Hotel and Tavern, PA (The spirit of a young girl plays in the hallways in the hotel/tenant section, while looking for her mommy).

 

Owners of an establishment who are ready to let go of their beloved business sometimes stay in their favorite place, trying to continue their lives there as spirits. Sometimes, members of their families stay to keep them company.

Eldridge Hotel, KS (The spirit of Col. Shalor Eldridge has decided to stay here and keep a friendly, supportive eye on the staff. Spirits of his family come to visit him).

The Bair Bistro, WA (The spirit of the first owner, Warren L. Bair, who opened his Drug and Hardware store so long ago, is back and tries to help the staff. One of his spectral family members stays by his side).

The Bullock Hotel, SD (The feisty spirit of Seth Bullock who built and ran the hotel during his life time, is back as an active spectral owner, after the living owners allowed gambling machines in the lobby area. In his mind, the owners were dolts and his services were needed).

Buck’s Hotel and Tavern, PA (Two adult spirits who were probably past owners moved in and have found things to do. My theory is that they could be the spirits of Harrison Shartle and Titus Flank, two owners of the building in 1888. Or owners from the early 19th century, during the water pump era).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

There are three benign spirits that have made themselves known to staff, guests and owners for many years.

The Spirit of a Young Girl

She has made personal appearances in the hallways of the second floor hotel, perhaps where her family lived.

She likes to skip and play like any living girl.

People have probably heard her disembodied voice calling for her mommy.

The Spectral Couple

There are two adult spirits who reside here as well, as they love this special place in their lives.

Like many couples, they have decided the chores between themselves. One is the fixer, and one is the reorganizer.

The Fixer

He is an older male spirit who likes to tinker with items.

He has made physical appearances in front of the living as he tests the water faucets and probably the showers, throughout the property, probably out of a fascination for indoor plumbing.

He also loves to test the lights to see if the bulbs are working, which feeds his interest in how they work.

Guests and tenants have awakened in the early hours to hear the faucets in the bathroom running.

The living may also catch a glimpse of the spirit of this dedicated elderly man.

The Reorganizer

While alive, he or she kept order and loved to organize various areas of heavy use by staff.

This spirit still loves to move items around to suit his or her ideas of how to organize items.

This spirit doesn’t make personal appearances, but makes its presence known through doing what he or she does best.

He or she derives great fulfillment by putting items in the order he or she thinks is best.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

For years, these three prominent spirits have made themselves at home, doing what they loved to do best here while alive. Many owners, staff members, guests and tenants have experienced all the the reported activity but no one ran out of the building screaming, because of the spirits’ benign and friendly behavior.

I could not find any hard evidence captured by the living that proves their existence.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Most probably so, though they must be unhappy at all the damage done to the building. They may have taken a holiday, and are waiting for it to be renovated and renewed.

However, as spirits see what they want to see, they may see what it looked like when they were alive, and ignore all the damage.

 

LOCATION

32 W Market St
Jonestown, PA 17038

Buck’s Hotel and Tavern is located at the corner of W Market Street and S Strawberry Street.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ZvK1GSiT7KU
    Where in the world is Harrison Shartle’s leg? On location in Jonestown Pennsylvania.
  • https://lebtown.com/2019/10/31/heres-what-you-missed-at-the-first-ever-spirits-of-jonestown-cemetery-tour/, by Penelope LitzOctober 31, 2019 4 min read
  • https://www.newspapers.com/image/519022386/?clipping_id=28017936&fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjUxOTAyMjM4NiwiaWF0IjoxNzE3NTM4NjcwLCJleHAiOjE3MTc2MjUwNzB9.3QS7E1EKsddrvwdZ0OmmPEj9D1D5v2sAGlJ4LpHPxkc
  • https://www.facebook.com/ldnews/posts/a-fire-at-the-buck-hotel-tavern-in-jonestown-was-intentionally-set-state-police-/10155120589927798/
  • https://www.ldnews.com/story/news/2019/04/16/jonestown-sentenced-years-buck-hotel-tavern-arson-lebanon-county-pa/3476964002/
  • https://www.pahauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/buck-hotel-tavern.html
    Feb 28, 2017
  • https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-daily-news/28017936/
  • https://visitlebanonvalley.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Jonestown_HeritageTrail_Map.pdf

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos by Tom Carr unless otherwise credited in sources

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