In the early 20s, Williamsport, a central location between several metropolitan areas, realized there was a definate need for an upscale hotel in the area. In response to that need, the Lycoming Hotel was built in 1922 with funds raised within the community.
"At one time, Williamsport was an important hub in politics and business. A train ran through here running equal distance between New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Erie and Washington D.C. This was really a meeting place, a center for all of those cities," said Marc Schefsky, hotel general manager.
The Lycoming Hotel was the birth of the hotel that would later become commonly known as the Genetti.
One of the main goals of the hotel was to incorporate big city services and atmosphere.
A single room cost $4 in 1922. This rate made the Lycoming the most expensive hotel in the community.
From its inception, the two story ballroom catered to events such as weddings, banquets, dinners and balls.
In 1932, the Lycoming Coffee shop, located in the hotel, was the first restaurant in the area to use air conditioning.
The hotel's devotion to service also began early on.
In the aftermath of the 1936 flood, the hotel housed individuals and rescue workers - never missing a meal, even though the boilers were knocked out and the water supply was limited.
The Lycoming survived the Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War and a few major floods. However, that era came to an end in the midst of the oil crisis in the early 70s
Gus Genetti Jr. acquired the hotel in 1975 and changed the name to the Genetti Lycoming Hotel. The name was later changed to the Genetti Hotel and Convention Center in 1990.
"There were three floors in the hotel that weren't being used at all. They were completely vacant. They started a renovation project on it in the early 70s and then the oil crunch came and I believe they went into bankruptcy," Schefsky said. "He (Genetti) really brought this hotel back from the dead."
According to Schefsky, the hotel's success can be attributed to the hotel has always been centered on hospitality.
"The hotel really has been the center of hospitality for a long time. It wasn't until the Sheraton (Holiday Inn) before the hotel had any real competition," Schefsky said. "We are doing weddings now for third generations. We have great grand-daughters who are getting married here."
The hotel also engages in charitable activity.
They donate to the United Way. "The United Way is one of my favorites because the United Way supports so many other charities. When you give to the United Way, you are giving to more than just one charity," Schefsky said.
Some other organizations that receive assistance from the Genetti are Kiwanis with the 5-K run, Michael Pilato and the mural project and supplying the Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action with rooms for out of town performers during the CAPPA showcase.
"We do everything that we can for the community. I very rarely turn down requests for some kind of donation. It is not always cash, but we always try to do brunches for Sunday, complimentary give-aways or Chinese auctions as door prizes," Schefsky said.
Some celebrities that have passed through the Genetti halls were Rita Hayworth, Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Goose Gossage, Carlton Fisk, Gene Kelly, Will Durant, Ogden Nash, Carl Sandburg, Wilt Chamberlain, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Joan Osbourne, Robert Kennedy and Bob Hope, just to name a few.
"Bob Hope was a huge supporter of Little League. He stayed with us every year that he came to Little League. We actually built a suite, and it is named after Bob Hope. There is a picture of him in the suite over the bed," Schefsky said.
One advantage of the Genetti is the development of the service culture.
"When people come here from some of the other hotels because they are full, they really enjoy the personal attention they get here. They enjoy the historic aspect of the hotel. We win a lot of business that way," Schefsky said.