Loyalhanna Creek parcel preserved by conservancy
By Deborah A. Brehun
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Described as a country style, family built, owned and operated motel located in Ligonier, the ABC Motel and its rustic neon sign was a local landmark along the Lincoln Highway for decades.
This 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 located within the 100-year flood plain of Loyalhanna Creek. The conservancy removed two old storage tanks, one of which was leaking.
“The property will be restored to help the watershed,” said Schlesinger. “The viewshed 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. After the accident, her parents died and she began running the motel.
Located at the edge of town within walking distance of the Ruthie's Diner, the motel's sign promoted 10 rooms with color TVs and air conditioning. Online advertising promoted 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 Ligonier Highway Experience Museum.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or email@example.com.
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