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Some not happy with plan to demolish King George Inn

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 23 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2013 06:01:57 PM CDT

While the royal family celebrates the birth of a future king of England, many in the Lehigh Valley are lamenting the loss of a local king.

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

While the royal family celebrates the birth of a future king of England, many in the Lehigh Valley are lamenting the loss of a local king.

The historic King George Inn in South Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., will more or less have a date with the wrecking ball.

"Just for the memory of it because it's getting torn down," said one man, who took pictures of the inn Wednesday.

The King George Inn, which dates back to the 1750s, is set for demolition, making way for a possible hotel, bank and drug store.

"It's sad. It's really sad," said historian Frank Whelan, adding that the inn, located at Cedar Crest Boulevard and Route 222, began as a stopping point for some of our founding fathers before becoming a supper club and restaurant for decades. "A lot of the historical distinctiveness is gone, but the fact of the matter is the site is deeply tied to the earliest history Lehigh County and Allentown."

Being on the National Register of Historic Places only makes buildings eligible for federal and state grants, not total protection from the wrecking ball.

"I'll miss it. We went there after my dad passed away. We would still go there, and looked forward to sitting in his booth," said Nikki Leuthe, who took the booth to her home in North Whitehall Township following the restaurant's closure last year.

Longtime owner, Cliff McDermott, said the King George Inn couldn't survive changing dinner traditions.

South Whitehall Township said no formal plans have been submitted, and a demolition permit was denied last October, but officials admitted that could easily change, forcing those like Ellen Flynn to get their last shots of one of the county's disappearing conduits to colonial times.

"Look around, strip malls stores everywhere. This is unique, not get it back," she said.

We were unable to get in contact with the developers. The township said once the plans are approved, demolition can start right away.