Black Bass Hotel

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Black Bass Hotel is still important to a pistol-packing owner still on the job!

A murder victim and his female family member try to find peace here.




The original owners of The Black Bass Hotel would be really happy, as this upscale hotel is very English in nature, and has 70% of the original furniture, and 90% of the art, that all has been restored/cleaned, made new again. Past owner Herbert Ward’s British royalty memorabilia still decorates the Tavern. It is safe to say that staying in the Black Bass Hotel is like stepping back to another era, with all the upscale amenities included.



The Delaware River and canal was a major source of commercial enterprise, bringing goods via waterways. Built by Tory loyalists, The Black Bass Hotel started out as a tavern in 1745, The Temple Bar. The owners added rooms for canal and river men to spend the night; sometimes with a charming lady; nothing fancy, as they didn’t make a lot of money. It was important because it created a positive economic climate for the tiny town of Lumberville. A small general store/post office sprang up across the street, to provide staples and necessities, not only for the local population, but the folks who made their living on the canals.

This building withstood a huge flood in the 1740s, an awful fire in 1831, and the Revolutionary War as a Tory-supporting establishment; perhaps because the town of Lumberville had supported the British crown.

Though up until 1949, the Black Bass Hotel was basically known as a drinking man’s bar, with rooms for rent, it’s fortunes changed in 1949, when Mr. Herbert Ward bought this property, put in a kitchen, and began to renovate this historic building into an upscale hotel, where dignitaries, celebrities from New York and well-known people would come and stay. As he loved anything English, many English touches and his extensive collections of British memorabilia were on display.

What made this all work was the appealing location, marvelous view, and a lot of hard work dedication and love for the building by Mr. Ward. In 1947, easy access to Bulls Island, New Jersey, and to the Black Bass Hotel as well, was made possible by the pedestrian bridge, built by John A. Roebling and Company, just before Mr. Ward bought this property. The Black Bass Hotel now could take advantage of a whole new customer base from the New Jersey side.

Life was good at the Black Bass Hotel and Lumberville, until the events of 3 major storms and floods, that cut off the economic opportunities needed to keep everyone in business. The Black Bass Hotel was closed, and put on the auction block in 2008. Mr. Thompson bid the highest for the buildings of Lumberville, and vowed to renovate and restore to historical standards both The Black Bass Hotel, and the General Store-Post Office, now historic fixer-upper opportunities. After applying and getting the buildings on the National list of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior and getting listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, Mr. Thompson moved on to the next step.

Thompson began to file the renovation and restoration plans for these buildings, to begin this true labor of love, carried out by not only the Thompson family, but the rival bidder, who became Thompson’s manager. Uh oh! The standards of the local & state authorities clashed with the standards set by the federal government, creating a mess of red tape and bureaucratic squabbling for a short while. After the federal standards were ruled as being the ones to follow, Mr. Thompson got his accomplished/dedicated team together, and after spending their multimillion budget, it was all done in a timely manner, in just 14 months.

The now very upscale Black Bass Hotel was open for business, restoring the much needed tourist trade for Lumberville!



Owners of taverns and other such establishments that catered to a tougher crowd, had to be prepared to defend their property/business, and keep a keen eye on what is going on then. Still today they feel the need to supervise and help the living to insure the protection and quality of service is up to snuff.

A man was killed in a bar fight in the main tavern, called the Lantern room in the 1830s. This unfortunate fellow was thought to be either a local canal worker, or more probably thought to be a previous owner of the Black Bass Hotel, Hans, who was killed by a drunk canal worker.

People who die suddenly at the hands of someone else, sometimes are restless, and choose to stay in the building where they met their end.



A female entity –

Described as being rather portly and seen packing a pearl-handed pistol. Thought to be a previous owner of the Black Bass Hotel.

Her apparition has been seen by the living; Patrolling around the hotel, and in her favorite suite, The Grover Cleveland Room, sitting on the bed.

Entity of the murdered man; local canal man or a former owner –

Makes his appearance in the Lantern Taproom.

He is seen as a lifeless gray man, wearing velvet knee breeches and a wide-brimmed hat, complete with a plume.

An older female entity – Also active in the Lantern Taproom.

She has been both seen and heard, wandering around the Lantern Taproom, perhaps looking for someone.

Sometimes she is seen crying. She may have been the mother or spouse of the murdered canal man or former owner.


I strongly suspect that the Black Bass Hotel has spirits there, ready to protect the property, and supervise the living as need be. The personal experiences of the living have been happening for years now, which suggests that they have unseen supervisors/helpers in running the place – all former owners, and perhaps a former patron or two!

Lots of personal experiences have been brought to light over the years. More recently, workers involved with the renovation had experiences that prompted management to provide escorts for the workers who refused to go in parts of the hotel alone. Perhaps the workers were being closely observed by the spirits there, to be sure that they did their work correctly.

As far as I can tell, no hard results of evidence from paranormal investigations have been made public, and I can understand why. They just renovated the building, and a whole town is depending on the Black Bass Hotel to once again draw in travelers and people with money to bolster the town’s economy. The owners are not ready to come out of the paranormal closet fully, though they allow stories of their spirits be published in books.



3774 River Road
Lumberville, Pennsylvania 18933
(215) 297-9260

The Black Bass Hotel can be found just 6 miles north of New Hope, along the Delaware River, just across from Bulls Island, New Jersey.



  • The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories
    by Mark Nesbitt and Patty A. Wilson – pg. 40
    Stackpole Books – 2008

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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