Loyalhanna Creek parcel preserved by conservancy
By Deborah A. Brehun
Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Described as a country-style, family-built, -owned and -operated motel in Ligonier, the ABC Motel with its rustic neon sign was a local landmark along the Lincoln Highway for decades.
Last week, the motel was demolished and cleared from the property by its new owners. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased the one-acre property in Ligonier Township with plans to permanently conserve the parcel of land along Loyalhanna Creek.
“WPC began protecting the Loyalhanna Creek in the 1970s,” said Allison Schlesinger, director of communications at the conservancy. “Acquiring this property is part of the ongoing efforts to protect and provide public access to this area.”
Schlesinger said the motel is within the 100-year flood plain of Loyalhanna Creek.
“The property will be restored to help the watershed,” Schlesinger said. “The view shed along Route 30 will also be improved.”
The previous owner, Milan Drakulic Sr., operated the motel with his wife, Patricia, since 2004. Patricia Cline-Drakulic was the motel's proprietor for 55 years prior to her death in 2010, according to her obituary.
In the late 1950s, her parents, Milton and Melverna Cline, were involved in a serious automobile accident at the road entrance to the motel. They died, and she began running the motel.
At the edge of town within walking distance of Ruthie's Diner, the motel's sign promoted 10 rooms with color TVs and air conditioning. Online advertising said the motel featured private phones, carpet and a 24-hour switchboard. The motel also offered complimentary coffee, according to the advertisement.
The conservancy donated the motel's notable roadside sign to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.
“We're grateful to have the ABC Motel sign. It will look great in our Lincoln Highway Experience museum. As funds become available, we'd like to have the neon repaired,” said Olga Herbert, executive director of the museum.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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