THE STORY BEHIND THE BEACON...
In 1912, a Russian immigrant, Thomas Krylov boarded a ship headed for America with only $5.00 in his pocket. He left behind his beloved Exupoxia to start a new life in a new world. Born in 1888, the now Thomas Krelow, traveled to a strange new land doing odd jobs and saving every penny he could for passage for his wife. Finally, one year later in 1913, he sent for her and she became Francis Krelow.
Together they embarked on a journey that would take them across this great country and back. Francis, an attractive, solid woman, bore Tom's children in Denver, Colorado, Gary, Indiana, Harmarville and Wino, Pennsylvania. Tom and Francis finally settled in Cheswick and opened a grocery store. The year was 1929 and just as Tom was getting quite comfortable with his success, the coal miner's strike took place and consequently he lost his store. Tom kept his family tucked away shielding his wife from the bleakness. Finally, he could hold on no longer. Farm land was cheap in Butler County and a trade was arranged. Tom, Francis and the children were again uprooted and relocated to Butler County in 1929.
The farm was flourishing, the children were healthy and tragedy struck again. Tom was on his way home from the market only to be met at the crossroads by his hired hand who told him that the barn had caught on fire. They lost everything - except their lives. The family pulled together, again. While the children slept in tents, Tom borrowed a sawmill and began building a small house. The year was 1933, the farm continued, but Tom had a bigger dream. The Bogan family, still bricklayers today, were contracted to build a new hotel.
The grand opening of the Hotel Beacon was in 1942. Lydia, the youngest daughter, excitedly invited several of her favorite teachers to attend. However, in 1942 teachers could not attend any festivities where liquor was served. The Hotel Beacon was open for business. Daughter Mary tended bar, orchestras played and times were grand; but success was short lived. Gas rations forced he lounge to close to the public.
A group of flyers training pilots for war rented the lounge and it was reopened as the Flyers Club for two years. In the meantime, Tom's son Nick had returned from the was in 1945 to find the lounge reopened and doing well. While attending Pitt University, Nick met and fell in love with a hometown girl, Julie Dano. The youngest of eight children, Julie married Nick in 1951. Times were better - the depression long passed and Nick was promoted to district manager of Standard Oil; however, they required him to relocate so he and his young bride moved to Chicago. The perfect family, Nick, Jr. was born in 1953; Suzette (named by her father) was born and then John. By 1957 Tom and Francis were getting older; their daughters were getting married and living their own lives and Tom wanted his only remaining son home. At his request, Nick, Julie and the children came back to Pennsylvania.
When Francis died in 1961, Nick began to assist his father Tom with running the Hotel Beacon. On January 6, 1976, Tom, also known as "Pop or Uncle Tom" died in the place he loved best - The Hotel Beacon. Julie surprised Nick with a fourth child, Gregory. The apple of his father's eye. Greg followed his father everywhere throughout the renovation of the bar and the addition of a huge kitchen. A very young man, Greg lost his father in 1986. It was a struggle farming all day and tending bar until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, he plodded on. Then, in 1991, Greg met Debra Byers, who two years later he married.
A fourth generation Krelow was born April 14, 1994 - Nicklas Thomas Krelow III. Greg then decided to fulfill his father's dream and put that huge, beautiful kitchen to use.
On Christmas Eve, 1994, renovation of the old Hotel began again. Tom's old bar was dusted off and put back into place; the booths were re-upholstered; and carpet was laid. The Grand Re-Opening of the Hotel Beacon was March 6, 1995. A new look, a new generation and hope for the future has long been the Krelow way!
And speaking of new generations...on January 28, 1997, weighing in at 8 lbs, 12 oz, Chandler Mae Frances made her much awaited debut.
Fifteen years later the Hotel Beacon, now known as The Beacon, The B or the Haunted Beacon has taken on a whole new look once again. Every October the corn field turns into a 15 acre Corn Maze loaded with ghouls and zombies and all sort of scary things. The huge basement transforms into a haunted house that will put fear in all that enter.