History of Kelly's Korner

Kelly's Korner has been a local landmark for the residents of Huntingdon County

History of Kelly's Korner

Over the past 75 years, Kelly's Korner has been a local landmark for the residents of Huntingdon County. During this time, Kelly's Korner has acquired a great history. Before 1923, Harry W. Wagner owned the property. Mr. Wagner sold the property to Luis Saltzman in September of 1928 and made the property commercial by opening a filling station and eating establishment.

John J. Kelly and his wife Martha N. Kelly purchased the establishment from Mr. Thompson in 1929. The Kelly family upgraded the business by adding the extended roof, modern gas pumps and erecting the sign. The photographs in Kelly's foyer show several different views of the restaurant over the years. John and Martha had the sign painted that was on the roof. Imagine the painter's surprise upon learning that there was not a second "e" in Kelly's. John Kelly was an avid big game hunter and for many years his trophies were displayed in glass cases at the business. An advertisement published in 1948, mentions Kelly's famous Bar-B-Q sandwiches. At this time, there was not any liquor or beer sold at Kelly's.

 

H.L. Garman and his wife Clarabell purchased the restaurant from the Kelly's in August of 1951. The next owners were C.W. Rutter and his wife, Elsie Rutter. Mr. Kelly's animals were still on display at this time. In Febrauary of 1953, Mr. George Pendergrast became partners with Mr. Rutter. They were in business together until February of 1959. It is believed that the partners acquired the first liquor license. Mr. Pendergrast removed the stuffed animals and added the dining room to the building. George operated Kelly's until January of 1972. Upon his reitrement, his employees presented him with an oil painting of the business.

Robert and Grace Peters became the next owners and sold to Robert and Maxine Roland in April of 1975. The Roland's and their son Mark operated the establishment for less than five years.

Jennie and Raymond Johnson next purchased the restaurant on October 12, 1979. The first year after their purchase, the Johnson's removed the gas islands and the portico. The concentrated on food service and family dining. Shortly after their acquisition, Mr. Pendergrast presented the Johnsons with the oil painting that he had received upon retiring. Today the painting still hangs in the dining room at Kelly's Korner.


 


Since the Johnson’s purchase, Kelly’s Korner has been a family opened business. Jennie and Raymond officially retired in 2000. Karen Johnson and her daughter Elizabeth Feather operate the restaurant. We are proud that Kelly’s Korner has been in the Johnson family for three generations (34 years) and value our customer’s support and patronage.