It's the grand hotel of downtown Williamsport, an historic building that has hosted both big and small events and served as temporary quarters for no shortage of visiting dignitaries to the city.
Now, a gala celebration will mark the Genetti Hotel's 90th year, a party marking a bygone era when flappers did the Charleston, bathtub gin flowed and gangsters in pinstriped suits ruled the criminal world.
Guests to the party set for Nov. 30 will arrive in period dress and vintage automobiles will be parked outside as befits a hotel which came of age in the Roaring Twenties, a time of great change and prosperity in America.
At that time, the nation was growing, and the city of Williamsport was looking to take part in the opportunities being ushered in.
But in 1920, many of the city's streets remained unpaved and the community was without a fine hotel to attract the commerce needed to stay up with the times.
Wheels set in motion
The Williamsport Board of Trade set the wheels in motion to change that.
Soon, the Williamsport Hotels Company applied for a charter and an extensive fundraising campaign was launched.
In May 1921, some 200 businessmen canvassed the city for pledges, raising $750,000 for the new hotel to be built at West Fourth and William streets, according to information from the "The Genetti Hotel 75th Anniversary Book."
The project was off to a rousing start.
As noted in the anniversary edition book: "On April 2, 1921, buildings on the former Breining Store site were razed, and excavation was followed closely in the daily newspapers by onlookers who lined the site to watch the modern steam shovel and to admire the complicated scaffolding."
Williamsport Hotels Company Directors wanted a hotel to last.
Shope process brick - granite-faced concrete that had the durability of concrete and was soil- and moisture-resistant as well - was used in the building's construction.
Every bricklayer in the area was called into service to help install the 200,000 bricks used in building the 10-story structure.
The hotel opened the following summer and reportedly offered the most modern in building materials, machinery, kitchen and laundry equipment, furnishings and services.
$4 room rates
At $4 for a single room, the Lycoming Hotel in its first year was the most expensive hotel in town.
By 1927, more than 260,000 guests had already stayed there.
In the ensuring years, the hotel became the site of many banquets and other festivities.
"More local banquets are held at the Lycoming Hotel than at any other single place," reported the Grit in 1947.
The Williamsport Sun-Gazette in 1958 stated that the hotel was a "major factor in Williamsport's economy" and offered services - barber and beauty shops, valet, laundry, telegraph, shoeshine, newspaper and tobacco counter - usually available only in large city hotels.
It was also a site of conventions, according to "The Genetti Hotel 75th Anniversary Book."
Numerous state and national conventions held at the hotel earned Williamsport the reputation as the convention city of Pennsylvania.
Gus Genetti Jr. took over ownership of the Lycoming Hotel in 1975, changing the name first to the Genetti Lycoming Hotel and in 1990 to the Genetti Hotel and Convention Center.
The dignitaries, including statesmen, politicians, authors, sports personalities, show business figures and other who have stayed in the hotel are too numerous to mention.
But among the more notable have included: Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Cosby, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Gene Kelly, Gene Autry, Rita Hayworth, James Michener, Wilt Chamberlain, Cy Young, Connie Mack, and Jim Palmer.
But the party later this month at the hotel will allow the not-so-famous - local people - to celebrate the Genetti's glorious past.
"It's really going to be an excellent event," said Genetti General Manager Marc Shefsky.
The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres served in the Garden/Terrace Ballroom. Decadent desserts will follow.
Guests will have a chance to view a documentary on the history of the Genetti Hotel and take part in the "Prince Farrington Black Jack Tournament" in the "Speakeasy."
"The real neat part of Speakeasy is, there will be a slide door," said Schefsky.
Guests, he explained, will need a password to gain access to the Speakeasy.
Gus and Val Genetti will host the event.
WRAK radio personality Ken Sawyer will serve as master of ceremonies.
Uptown Music Collective Jazz Ensemble will provide music.
The Williamsport Area High School Millionaire String Quartet is to perform ragtime music of the period.
Funds raised from ticket sales will benefit the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society. Reservations should be made by Nov. 23. More information is at www.genettihotel.com or www.tabermuseum.org.