Then & Now: Weldon Hotel turned Casa Conti Restaurant turned New Life Church in Glenside

The building which currently houses New Life Presbyterian Church in Glenside was the Casa Conti Restaurant from 1919 until the 1970s. New Life purchased the property on March 15, 1988, and the first services in the new building were held on July 17 of that year. 

According to New Life pastor Mark Moser, the building was originally the Weldon Hotel in the 19th century (built in 1855), and in the early part of the 20th century the parking lot served as a tennis club.

Solarium, Hotel Weldon

“I always wonder who stayed here, and I’ve never seen anything written on that history,” he said. “There are some little quirks that we find entertaining. Behind a wall we found an abandoned set of stairs that go into the ceiling. At one point, those stairs used to go into the kitchen. Behind drywall, we found a commode, which was funny.”

Round the Bend Tavern existed in the restaurant’s basement and hosted open mic nights in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

According to pastor Moser, a rumor among the youth holds that there’s a secret passage under the parking lot which leads to the Keswick Theater. 

“I respond, ‘Well, I can neither confirm or deny such a passage…’ I try to keep the mystique alive,” he said.

Owned and operated by the Conti family, Casa Conti Restaurant welcomed such notables as John Philip Sousa and incumbent PA governors. Locals remember it for the “soup-to-nuts” dinners which included coleslaw and fruit pies. 

Fun Fact #1: Joseph L. Conti retired from the restaurant business in late 1987 but soon missed the kitchen. He went on to become a chef at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club where he worked for another 20 years. Mr. Conti passed away in 2017 at the age of 87.

Fun Fact #2: You can purchase a Casa Conti T-shirt (pictured below) here.

Fun Fact #3: Former Glenside Rotarian Fred Conti, who passed away earlier this year, was born in the main building close to 100 years ago.

For more on New Life Presbyterian Church, located at 467 N Easton Road, you can visit their Facebook page and website.

For all the latest news, follow us on Facebook or sign up for Glenside Local’s “Daily Buzz” newsletter here.