Forty Fort, Luzerne County -- "It's worth a lot but it is priceless," said Canteen 900 owner Abby Billek-Singh. She discussed what is suspended from the ceiling of her Rutter Street business shining in all of its splendor. It's the very same chandelier that was once the centerpiece of the old Hotel Sterling. The chandelier was installed at the West Side restaurant when the business opened in October 2010. "When we were restoring the space and getting ready to build Canteen we were restoring the chandelier in the back of the warehouse." Ms. Billek-Singh says she paid $1,500 for the chandelier and spent more money having it restored. "A lot of crystals had to go back into it. A lot of time went into it," she said. The ornate object requires constant care to keep its luster. "It goes down every month to be cleaned and shined up and untarnished," Ms. Billek-Singh.
Seated near the chandelier for lunch on Monday was Ivan Davidowitz of Kingston. He had his bar mitzvah at the Hotel Sterling decades ago as a teen. He didn't realize the decorative restaurant light is the same one that shined on him as a boy. "I think now that now when I do come in here I'll look at it and think back on those good times at the Sterling Hotel." Seated right beneath the chandelier for lunch with a friend was Maureen Jordan of Wilkes-Barre who celebrated her wedding day in 1967 at the Hotel Sterling. "Our reception was in the Crystal Ballroom and I always though my 50th anniversary party would be there." While she is saddened to see the Sterling demolished, she is gladdened that the chandelier found a new home. "It's our history. It's Wilkes-Barre's history and we're so lucky to have it in a wonderful place like this where so many people come every day," said Ms. Jordan.
It's that type of customer sentiment that makes having the old Hotel Sterling chandelier at Canteen 900 so valuable. "So to continue kind of the traditions of having such an important piece of history is really huge for us," said Ms. Billek-Singh. She says one customer who really appreciates the light to the past is a man who sits beneath the chandelier when he comes to Canteen 900 for breakfast each month. That customer is the former chef of the Hotel Sterling.