Gus Genetti recalled the day when he bought the hotel in downtown Williamsport that carries his family name.
It was 1975, he told the gathering at the Genetti Hotel Friday evening, and he was just in the city with his wife, Val, to have lunch and to take a glimpse at the historic building.
"I like history," he said.
Period automobiles from the Antique Automobile Association of America are parked outside the Genetti Hotel during The 90th Anniversary of the opening of the hotel Friday.
It was not the best of times for Gus Genetti financially, who still was recovering from the devastating flooding resulting from Hurricane Agnes three years earlier that wreaked havoc on his investments.
But he saw something he liked about the building then known as the Lycoming Hotel.
"We bought it in four-and-a-half hours," he said.
Genetti made it clear to those who showed up at his hotel for its 90th anniversary celebration that he made a good decision.
"We are history," he said. "It's been a phenomenal experience."
History came alive during the gala celebration.
It was an evening that beckoned back to the Roaring 1920s, an era of flappers, gangsters and speakeasies, with many people attired in period dress to help mark the hotel's birthday.
"History," said Alison Hirsch, when asked why she attended the event. "I like history."
Brian McKean, of Williamsport, could be seen throughout the evening waddling about with his cane, in his unmistakable impersonation of silent screen star Charlie Chaplin. No one heard him utter a word all evening.
People gathered in the hotel ballroom for cocktails and to sample decadent desserts.
Downstairs, guests could enter a speakeasy if they knew the secret password - Eighteenth Amendment, which ushered in Prohibition.
Parked in front of the hotel could be seen several vintage automobiles.
"It's a big night for the family," said Gus Genetti's daughter, Cathy Genetti, who came from Chicago for the event.
Brenda Buckler, of Plains, came dressed as a flapper and flourishing a long cigarette holder. "Oh, it's great. It's wonderful," she said.
Genetti General Manager Marc Shefsky called Friday evening's bash "a rebirth of the Genetti Hotel."
Genetti said Shefsky and staff have been great for the hotel.
"People love the hotel, and it's because of the people," he said.
WRAK radio personality Ken Sawyer said the hotel has been a special part of the community.
"When people say, 'the hotel' we know they mean The Genetti," he said.
State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, read a proclamation from the state House of Representatives honoring the hotel.
"You sir," he told Genetti, "are an entrepreneur who had a vision with your wife. You made the community a better place."