The Place to Be in New Berlin
In 1854, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bitzer moved to New Berlin and bought the hotel from Samuel Schlott. They enlarged the hotel to add more rooms to the first floor, a great hall on the second, and a long porch along the front of the whole house. Boys loved to meet on the porch to talk about the girls in town and play with the Bitzer’s dog, Nero. To celebrate the expansion, the Bitzers hosted a Grand Ball which 10-year-old Henry Holl described as “the prettiest sight that I ever looked upon.” The Blitzers were strong supporters of the Union during the Civil War, and Mrs. Bitzer – who was renowned for her Pennsylvania Dutch cooking – served departing soldiers a fine free meal. After the war, Michael Bitzer arranged William McKinley's first political speech in front of the hotel (Basner 42).