Percival L. Strauss owned and operated the Strauss House hotel for nearly 30 years. He was a native of Berks County born on December 16, 1830 in Penn Township and was the son of Benjamin Strauss and Rebecca Long. In his youth he followed farming with his father until 1867 when he opened a general store in Frystown, PA. This he operated for two years. Afterwards Strauss moved to Lebanon County settling in Fredericksburg in 1869 where he bought the former hotel property of Michael Garman. The property was located on the square at 101 E. Main Street and included the building next door. In 1875 the hotel went by another name called the Exchange Hall hotel, but later was changed to the Strauss Hotel.
In addition to running the local hotel establishment, he was also engaged in general contracting, lumber and building supply work for many years. In 1882 he engaged in the manufacturing of cigars in the rear of the hotel. Strauss ran this successful venture with his son Jacob F. Strauss for a couple of years. He served as the proprietor until the middle of the 1890’s when he retired from active business pursuits to move to Reading, PA. Strauss moved to 721 McKnight Street in 1900 and lived there until 1906 when he moved to Mohnton, PA where his son Attorney B. Morris Strauss resided. He died on June 27, 1918 in Mohnton, PA. His body was brought back for burial to the Cedar Hill Cemetery where he lies interred in the family plot with his wife Malinda (Smith) Strauss and several of his children.
The hotel sight and building have changed over the years. In September, 1874 the old hotel was torn down and was replaced with a new 3 story brick building. By the end of the month the tin roof was finished. A third floor observatory was built that measured 10 x 10 feet, which the entire surrounding area could be seen. The observatory level was torn down after 1940 when Harry E. Boeshore owned the property. The property served as the polling place for elections held each year 1919. After the Fredericksburg Fire Company was built and the polling place moved to the new location.
Photograph of Percival L. Strauss courtesy of Harry B. Strauss of Myerstown, PA Photograph of Strauss Hotel courtesy of Author Michael L. Strauss