Historic ex-hotel in Hanover hosted Union high command
In 1863, this brick building in downtown Hanover, Pennsylvania, was the Central Hotel. It served as the nerve center for Union cavalry under Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick during and after the Battle of Hanover.
Thousands of cars and trucks pass through downtown Hanover, Pennsylvania, each day, often creating a traffic jam that can back up the queue at the various signals. Patience is a must for the modern traveler visiting this historic town, as similar to the nearby town of Gettysburg, a network of roads converge in Hanover conveying traffic into downtown.
That network of roads led to the June 30, 1863, unplanned collision between Major General J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalrymen coming up from Maryland and a column of Federal troopers from H. Judson Kilpatrick’s division.
Like the modern traffic flow, the point of congestion and contention was the intersection of the roads in downtown Hanover.
This vintage photograph of the same building shows the Central Hotel during its heyday of operation. A businessman named Thomas McCausland was the proprietor during the Civil War. The light colored roofed, open structure to the left is the town’s market shed, which served as a farmer’s market in the 19th century. Image courtesy of the Hanover Area Historical Society, Pennsylvania Room, Hanover Public Library.
As he was riding northward into the Pigeon Hills region north of Hanover, General Kilpatrick heard the sounds of the growing engagement behind him in the town he had left earlier that morning. Spurring his horse to the point of mortal exhaustion, he reached the scene in mid-morning and personally took command of the situation. Kilpatrick established his headquarters in Room 24 on the second floor of the Central Hotel.
After the battle, Kilpatrick continued to use this room as his HQ until he and his men departed Hanover on July 1 to scout Stuart’s movements and screen the Union right flank during the Battle of Gettysburg.
The historic hotel ceased operations in the 20th century and is privately owned. The first floor has housed a variety of diverse business interests since the hotel closed.