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The Coffee Pot

Along the Lincoln Highway right at the western boundary of the Borough of Bedford stands a curiously shaped building. It is in the shape of an old fashioned metal coffee pot.

David Berton (Bert) Koontz constructed the Coffee Pot adjacent to his gas station in 1927. He attached it to the west side of a conventional single-floor brick building that was the Koontz Garage. The structure shaped like a coffee pot was also constructed of brick with a small first floor space to serve as a sort of restaurant. Sandwiches, ice cream and coffee were the primary offerings at the restaurant, making it similar to what we today would call a fast-food outlet. A postcard from the 1930s show the van owned by the Washington Bakery outside of the Coffee Pot; pastries sold at the business was probably supplied by the Washington Bakery. A second floor provided additional space. The coffee pot structure was intended to lure travelers going east and west on the Lincoln Highway. A bus depot was located nearby, and so the restaurant became a popular stopover for bus travelers. Adding to the Coffee Potís appeal was a pet monkey that ran loose in the restaurant. The restaurant was converted into a bar in 1937 and around that time a motel was built to its rear.

The property was owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Dawson when the Coffee Pot caught fire between 2:20am and 3:00am on the morning of 29 December 1955. They lived in the hotel connected to the rear of the Coffee Pot. The fire was put out before much damage could be done and so the Coffee Pot was saved from destruction. The property changed hands over the years and the Coffee Pot continued to serve its purpose as a bar and diner.

The business was closed in the 1980s. By the end of the 1990s, the structure was deteriorating, and when Samuel Lashley and his sons purchased the property in the year 2000 the Coffee Potís future was in question. Although the Lashleys appreciated the history of the structure, they purchased the property for the land. Their intention was to tear the adjoining structure down and to build their own modern building in its place. They offered the Coffee Pot to any preservation group that could afford to restore it. An effort was made to save the structure by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. A $100,000 grant was applied through the Pioneer Historical Society (now named the Bedford County Historical Society) and the PA Department of Environmental Resources.

The structure was moved one hundred and twenty five yards to the opposite side of the road in 2004, where it was then restored to its former glory. It was claimed that the original structure had been sheathed in sheet metal to mimic an actual coffee pot; it is currently painted a metallic silver.