The Gunter Hotel has a long and rich history beginning with a gala opening on New Year’s Day 1897. Built by William R. Percy, one of Frostburg’s wealthiest citizens at the time. Unfortunately, Mr. Percy died only five months after the hotel opened and it was taken over by a group headed by his son-in-law, W. E. Gladstone Hitchins and became the Hotel Gladstone. The hotel had a café, a barbershop and a petting zoo, complete with a tame deer. In its early years, the hotel attracted senators, congressmen and prominent businessmen and their families who wanted to enjoy a vacation in the mountains of Western Maryland. Dignitaries were not the only people that stayed at the hotel. Prisoners being transported down Route 40 would enjoy a night’s stay in the jail built in the basement of the hotel while the accompanying federal marshals enjoyed a good night’s rest upstairs in one of the hotel rooms.
Shortly after 1900, Hotel Gladstone was put up for sale and purchased by William R. Gunter, the town treasurer for a grand total of $35,000. Now named the Hotel Gunter, Mr. Gunter and his wife, spent the next twenty years remodeling the hotel. The remodel included electrical lighting, a 175-seat dining room, a pressed tin ceiling and a mahogany bar. The Gunters created, by one account, “one of the finest hotels and restaurants between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.”
During Prohibition, the hotel cellar held a speakeasy where those patrons who were “in the know” were able to enjoy some illegal libations, as well as, cockfighting events.
In the middle of the 20thcentury, the hotel was closed, in disrepair and home to 200 pigeons that had made the once stately hotel their home. Purchased in the 1980s by Jake Failinger, the once grand hotel was renovated. The jail and speakeasy were kept intact and displays highlighting the community’s history, including the coal industry were added. Many of the hotel rooms were converted into apartments.
Purchased in 2019 by Donny and Kristan Carter, the magnificent hotel is not only home to 12 hotel rooms, but also includes Toasted Goat Winery Tasting Room and Restaurant, the Gladstone Mercantile, a ballroom for weddings and other large events, as well as, apartments for local residents. It has, once again, become the pride of Frostburg. History, comfort and style are all part of the Hotel Gunter charm.