Home History

More Than a Century of Allentown History

Looking out over one of the higher points in the City of Allentown, The Columbian Home is a living landmark of Victorian era elegance and hometown hospitality. Its history spans more than 110 years. 

The original estate was owned by George Seagraves, an Allentown business leader who started as a telegraph operator for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad and built his fortune as a real estate investor and owner of Allentown’s premier hospitality hub of the era, the American Hotel at 6th and Hamilton Streets, where the Americus Hotel now stands. He was also elected to serve as Allentown City Treasurer. 

Given his experience with land speculation in the rapidly-growing Allentown of the early 1900s, and the needs of his growing family, Mr. Seagraves acquired a prime hilltop property at 15th and Greenleaf Streets which he later named “The Orchard”. The centerpiece of this verdant estate was the gracious Victorian mansion which we know today as The Columbian Home, which was built circa 1908. Mr. Seagraves passed away in 1924 and the property was held by the family estate for more than three decades. 

New Life As The Columbian Home 

In 1959, the Seagraves property – comprised of the mansion and an entire city block of land – was purchased by The Columbian Home of Allentown, Incorporated. Shortly thereafter, bar and restaurant operations began after purchasing the PA liquor license from the San Marco Italian Club of Allentown. 

The Columbian Home was founded to provide a cultural, social and recreational center for members, families and friends of the Knights of Columbus Calvary Council #528 – a Catholic fraternal organization chartered in 1900. Our legal status, however is as a non-profit corporation, incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, wholly independent of the National Council of the Knights of Columbus and Calvary Council #528.

Updated Comforts and Traditional Character 

Through the years, The Columbian Home has seen multiple updates to enhance customer comforts and maintain safety code compliance. The large veranda was enclosed and transformed into the dining area known as The Porch. The outdoor rotunda area was enclosed to create the current site of The Anchor Bar. With expansive windows and sweeping views of the grounds, both have become known for providing patrons with “the prettiest view in town”. In 2018, the large outdoor deck with entrance ramp was completed, making the facility ADA compliant for members and guests. 

Membership, Banquet and Dining Choices Open to All 

Today, The Columbian Home of Allentown has evolved to welcome more members interested in making our unique offerings and atmosphere part of their social lives. 

Two Membership Options are Available: 

  1. Application for “Associate Member” status is available to ALL men and women over the age of 21.
  2. Application for “Active Member” status is available to Catholic men and women over the age of 21.

Applications for both options are available on this website and at The Home during regular business hours.

Our onsite hospitality arm, Christopher’s at the Columbian Home, offers a la carte dining and banquet facilities to the public with venues available to accommodate functions from 15 to 120 guests.