Discovering abandoned places in Pennsylvania is a rare treat, and the Monongahela Hotel, featured in this article, stands out with its intriguing history. Built in 1911, this once-vibrant establishment provided affordable lodging at $4 per night, attracting weary travelers seeking respite. Beyond a mere hotel, it offered a complete shopping experience.
Captured through the lens of Cleveland-based photographer Johnny Joo, the Vacant Series explores abandoned locations across America, showcasing man-made structures slowly reclaimed by nature.
Editor’s Note: Due to the inherent risks associated with abandoned sites, many featured in this series are inaccessible or no longer exist. We discourage illegal activities and instead encourage readers to appreciate these destinations from a distance.
While now eerily silent, the Monongahela Hotel was once a bustling hub. The ground floor housed a men’s furnishing store and a bar, with the lobby at the center welcoming guests. Brownsville, a bustling town, saw a constant influx of people for various reasons.
In 1923, the property was sold to the Monongahela National Bank, leading to the construction of a new 110-room hotel with shopping facilities. Despite efforts to boost income, the hotel faced bankruptcy in 1931, changing hands multiple times.
Under Earle Milner Hotels, rooms were leased for a mere four dollars, but the venture proved short-lived. By the 1990s, the hotel closed its doors, mirroring Brownsville’s decline. Today, it stands abandoned in downtown Brownsville, a poignant reminder of bygone days.
Exploration is strictly prohibited due to safety concerns, emphasizing the allure and peril of these abandoned structures. Cleveland-based photographer Johnny Joo’s evocative images in this article provide a glimpse into the haunting beauty of forgotten places, inviting us to listen to the stories these crumbling buildings silently tell.