Hotel Oliver, located on the grounds of Lincoln High School, was the first major building project in Ellwood City. Planned to be among the best hotels of western Pennsylvania, Simon Harold of Beaver Falls built the hotel with all the most modern conveniences that were available. When Hotel Oliver opened May 2nd of 1891 it marked the “official opening” of Ellwood City. The hotel itself had electric lights and bells, steam heat, and top of the line sanitary arrangements and fire escapes.
The hotel, named in honor of Henry W. Oliver a Pittsburgh capitalist and steel manufacturer, was an important part of the early life of Ellwood City. The town was able to secure a reputation as a resort town thanks in part to picturesque Glenn Park, Rock Point Park, and Hotel Oliver being built as a summer resort.
Hotel Oliver Grove was located directly behind Hotel Oliver on Crescent Avenue. The park extended from Fourth Street to Sixth Street and all the way to Oak Avenue on the south. The popular picnic area was the site of first murder of Ellwood City, an apparent robbery.
The south side of Oliver Ave at Sixth Street behind Oliver Park was a building shaped in the form of a letter “T”. The building housed Hotel Oliver’s billiard room and bowling alley. The hotel’s bar-room was also located in a separate building to the rear and west of the main building connected to the main building by a small hallway.