Casey Hall steeped in history

Courtesy of the University of Scranton website CASEY HALL is one of many first-year dorms on campus. The building is named after University alumnus Joseph G. Casey, who eventully went on to manage the Hotel Casey.

COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON WEBSITE / 
CASEY HALL is one of many first-year dorms on campus. The building is named after University alumnus Joseph G. Casey, who eventully went on to manage the Hotel Casey.

Published: September 25, 2015

MATT DEFRENZA
Chief Copy Editor

Nearly every building owned by The University is given a name. That may sound obvious, yet many students, myself included, do not give the actual name of most dormitories or buildings any thought. Few students actually know to whom the name of their dorm originally belonged before it came to adorn a building, one such example being Casey Hall.

Casey Hall is named after Joseph G. Casey, an alumnus to St. Thomas Aquinas College, later renamed the University of Scranton, who would go on to become the president and manager of the Hotel Casey.

Joseph G. Casey was the eldest son to P.J. Casey and graduated from St. Thomas College in the year 1914, before continuing his studies at Fordham University, where he was an “honor man” according to St. Thomas College’s 1916 yearbook, The Aquinas. Casey would then go on to military service before returning to manage the Hotel Casey.

The Casey family was originally prominent in Scranton because of their business venture, the Casey Brother’s Brewing Company. The business was started by the elder Casey brothers, Lawrence and Timothy, but taken over by A.J. Casey in 1880 after the tragic deaths of his older brothers. A.J. then hired his younger brother P.J. in 1883. The company became very successful from their sale of Green Valley Rye before A.J. and P.J. Casey changed business venues and decided to open a hotel.

The Hotel Casey was built on the former land of George W. Scranton, co-founder of the city of Scranton, and opened with a grand banquet on Jan. 21, 1911. The Hotel Casey was the preeminent hotel in the city of Scranton, built to rival the hotels of New York City. The Hotel Casey, renowned for its grandeur, flourished. The timing of the Hotel Casey could not have been better for the Casey brothers, as Prohibition forced the termination of their liquor enterprises. Joseph G. Casey, along with other descendants of P.J. and A.J. Casey managed the Hotel Casey until it was sold to Lloyd Rackmill in 1961. The Hotel Casey stood on the Northwest corner of Lackawanna and Adams avenues until it was torn down in 2001.

During the fifty-year run that the Casey family owned and managed the Hotel Casey, countless University events: charities, proms, balls and year-end dinners for various clubs were held at the hotel. The Casey family was very involved with St. Thomas College, and continued its involvement with the University of Scranton. Several of P.J. Casey’s sons would become alumnus of St. Thomas College. The Hotel Casey took out advertisements each year in the Windhover for the existence of the hotel. According to Lackawanna County’s public records, Joseph G. Casey even listed the Jesuit Community of The Universityon his will, leaving $2000 dollars to the community after his passing in 1956, which would equate to roughly $17,500 today.

What is now Casey Hall was dedicated on Sept. 10, 1958 and was one of the first four residences built on campus for students.

Pieces of the original Hotel Casey’s façade are displayed in Scranton’s Hilton Hotel, and memorabilia from the Casey Brother’s Brewing Co. and Hotel Casey are on display in the Lackawanna Historical Society.

Jack Shean, a summer intern at the Lackawanna Historical Society in 2014, wrote in the Casey & Jermyn Exhibit Script, “Though the Hotel Casey’s building was demolished, its legacy remains in the memories of local Scrantonians.”

One Response to Casey Hall steeped in history

  1. Lauren Boyd Reply

    March 26, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Wow! Joseph G. Casey was my great-grandfather! My mother and I were searching for pictures of the house my grandmother grew up in, we knew the house had been donated to the University but weren’t aware that the Hall built on the site had been named for him. Very lovely 🙂

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