Mailander’s Saloon – Late 1800s Wilkes-Barre, PA

I just discovered that cousins of my 3rd-great-grandfather Gottlieb Mayer also moved to Northeastern PA in the 1800s. Their last name is Mailander, and they hailed from Nattheim, Germany, the same tiny village where Grandpa Gottlieb was born in 1834.

In the late 1800s, the patriarch of the Northeast PA Mailanders, cousin Christof Mailander, owned a hotel at 1029 S. Washington Ave in Scranton. His wife Maria and son Henry took it over after his death. That hotel was in the same neighborhood where my 3rd-great-grandfather Gottlieb and his family lived. (If my calculations are right, Christof and Gottlieb were 2nd cousins).

Another son of cousin Chrisof, Johannes Martin Mailander, aka John, owned and ran a saloon and hotel on Oregon Street in South Wilkes-Barre, starting in 1880. It’s the larger building colored pink on this old Sanborn map. You can see that it’s labeled as Mailander Ho. (Hotel).

Kinda coincidentally, I lived a few blocks away from that building when I was a teenager.


Up until now, I’d thought my Pennsylvania family was Scrantonian to the core! So these WB connections were a surprise.

Also to my surprise, it looks to me like the old Mailander hotel building is still there. I haven’t confirmed 100% that it’s the same building, but I think the odds that it is are pretty good. [Update: Yes, it’s the same building!]

I believe this is the former Mailander Hotel. It has a sign on it now that says “The Oregon Inn.”

I’ve also seen this hotel/saloon referred to as Mailander’s Hall in various old news articles.

The hotel/saloon used to be a school

I found an article that said the Mailander Hotel was a school before it was transformed into a hotel/saloon. So if that is indeed the same building that still stands today, it’s even older than I thought.

Below is an excerpt from an 1895 school-dedication ceremony speech for a new school built on South Grant Street in Wilkes-Barre. This article dates the Mailander hotel building to at least as far back as 1861. In the words of Judge D.L. Rhone:

“I’ll tell you where there are still left two old fashioned school sheds I taught in 1859 to 1861. One on South Main below Dana of wood and the other on Oregon street near Hanover, now Milander’s Saloon, of brick.” – Wilkes-Barre Times, 14 Sep 1895

Clipped from Wilkes-Barre Times, 14 Sep 1895, Sat, Page 1

It looks like the Mailander Hotel was doing brisk business in 1878. John placed a few ads looking to hire a team of girls. Clearly this was prior to the establishment of the child labor laws we have today.

Help Wanted for Milander Hotel Wilkes-Barre
Record of the Times Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Tue, Aug 13, 1878 – Page 1

In June of 1880, John Mailander appeared in the “Mayor’s Court” in Wilkes-Barre, which was located in the Wilkes-Barre police station. They sure don’t write newspaper articles like they used to:

Clipped from: The Daily Union-Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Mon, Jun 14, 1880 – Page 4

Sadly, John Mailander passed away at a young age after a lengthy illness. Since as early as 1884, there were newspaper reports that John Mailander was sick and confined to his room. I’d like to find his death certificate to find out what caused his death at such a young age, but so far I haven’t had any luck.

Update: I found a burial permit notice that said the cause of death was pneumonia. A short newspaper announcement listed his cause of death as consumption. He is interred at the Hollenback Cemetery in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Clipped from Dollar Weekly News, 05 Feb 1887, Sat, Page 1

I found this quote about hotel owners in Wilkes-Barre:

“The landlord of a hotel was apt to be a man of consequence and standing in the community. As a class they were generally respected and were often called to hold public office when it was a distinction to hold public office, as marking the esteem and respect and confidence in which one was held by his fellow citizens. “(George Bedford – Early Recollections of Wilkes-Barre) – From this site about Wilkes-Barre, PA history

The Mailander family kept the hotel running for many years. Here’s a news article from 1897. It sounds like a good time!

A Venison Roast at Mailander’s Hotel – December 19, 1897 – Oregon Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA

“The Joe Rice club of the Fifteenth ward met at Milander’s hotel on Oregon Street and had a venison roast. The affair was presided over [by] Squire E.O. Kemmerer. After singing “My Country Tis of Thee,” a venison feast was enjoyed.

Songs were sung by Anthony Helfrich, Augustus Voight and John Hier, and remarks were made by H.O. Gates, Will Reed, Fred Milander and E.O. Kemmerer. William Roughsedge, Sr., who is 72 years of age, finished up the round of pleasure by dancing a hornpipe.

The following were present: E.O. Kemmerer, H.O. Gates, George Reed, William Nicholson, Anthony Helfrich [Helfrick], Edward Lewis, Henry Milander [Mailander], John Hier, William Trumpore, Frank Forbes, Fred Smith, William Roughsedge, Sr., A. Voight, William Demn, Milton Sherey, William Jones, Charles Dudenhauer, Frank Klug, Sr., Fred Schoerenhofer, William Kidney, Fred Milander [Mailander].”

Venison Roast at the Mailander Hotel Saloon Wilkes-Barre, PA
The Sunday Leader Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Sun, Dec 19, 1897 – Page 10

The section where Mr. Roughsedge danced “a hornpipe” caught my eye. Turns out a hornpipe is a traditional sailor’s dance. I would love to have seen Mr. Roughsedge’s performance.

Dancing the Hornpipe

Seventy-two year old William Roughsedge “finished up the round of pleasure” by dancing “the hornpipe,” a traditional Scottish sailor’s dance.

I don’t yet know how long the Mailander Hotel stayed open.

Here is a list of the John Martin Mailander family.

Johannes (John Martin) Mailänder (1850–1887)

Marie Karsten (1852–1906) – Married in 1870


Frederick John Mailander (1874–1953)

Clipped from The Wilkes-Barre Record, 21 May 1895, Tue, Page 8

Lena Mailander (1875–1964)

Clipped from The Wilkes-Barre News, 02 Nov 1900, Fri, Page 8

John Martin Mailander, Jr. (1879–1952)
Laura Mailander (1879–1958) – I believe her name is incorrectly listed on the 1800 Census as “Lorena”
(It looks like John and Laura were twins!)
Herman C Mailander (1881–1957) – Confirmed, although the info on Herman’s death cert appears to list the incorrect name as his father (says Herman Mailander for father’s name.)
Julia “Lulu” Mailander (1884–1974) – Confirmed via death certificate.


8 thoughts on “Mailander’s Saloon – Late 1800s Wilkes-Barre, PA

  1. Loved reading your family history. Herman Milander also owned property at 78 Church Street. It was an apartment building (5 apts) when he died in 1957. I was born and raised on Church St and played many a day in the back yard of this building with other kids from the neighborhood.


    1. Hi Joyce, Thank you for the comment! I was really surprised to learn how much Herman Mailander was involved in building local structures and owning properties throughout the area. I don’t think I knew about the Church Street property.


  2. My grandfather bought the building and was passed down to his wife, then my mom, then my brother. It was Jake’s cafe, then Mary’s cafe, then my mother named it The Oregon Inn. I grew up there.


    1. Wow thanks so much for your comment Robin! I have been wondering what happened to this building ownership-wise after the Mailanders sold it. I’ve got to ask…any ghosts??? 🙂
      (I made one comment a few minutes ago (saying the same thing) but it seems to have disappeared).


      1. Hi Allison.  That history of my home is fantastic! I remember my mom telling me about the school and then a hotel.   I will send your article on to my sisters and brother. They will love reading that. My mom was 8 years old when they moved there. That was 1926. My grandfather died in 1958 so it was transferred to my gramma, Mary P. She passed Feb. 29, 1972. My mom was then the owner. She gave the building to both my brother and me. John owns the bar and I live in Canada.   As for ghosts, yes! My sister tried to change bedrooms, but Mr. G., the ghost, didn’t want her there. Her record player needle just kept sling back and forth across the album.   Doors opened on their own and weird noises from time to time. My now ex husband, got up in the middle of the night and swore he saw an older lady and she was wagging her finger at him. We still think that time was my gramma…If I find out anything else, I will email you. It was so much fun growing up there. Hide and seek was a blast. Lol  Thanks again for the history.Robin Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


      2. Hi Robin, Thank you! I was thrilled to find that the “old Mailander saloon/inn” was still standing! I don’t think very many buildings of that age are still around in Wilkes-Barre. I love the beautiful stone front. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit more of its history. I’m sure any ghosts there are friendly! !


  3. My grandfather bought the building and was passed down to his wife, then my mom, then my brother. It was Jake’s cafe, then Mary’s cafe, then my mother named it The Oregon Inn. I grew up there.


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