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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Old Hickory In Coudersport Tops List Of Most Endangered Properties In PA

Old Hickory On Priority List For Action In 2014
Preservation Pennsylvania announces the annual listing of the Commonwealth’s most endangered historic resources

Preservation Pennsylvania released Pennsylvania At Risk 2013, an annual list that serves as a representative sampling of the Commonwealth’s most endangered historic resources. 

Pennsylvania At Risk 2013 features 9 endangered properties that were identified in 2013, and will be Preservation Pennsylvania’s priorities for action in 2014. The properties included in this annual list of endangered places represent important resource types, or exemplify common or noteworthy issues faced by historic properties in Pennsylvania.

Resources included on the Pennsylvania At Risk 2013 list include:

Old Hickory, North Main Street, Coudersport, Potter County
Built from 1875-1880 for F. W. Knox, this large Italianate residence was converted for use as the Old Hickory Tavern in 1928. Located on Main Street in Coudersport, Old Hickory is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Coudersport Historic District. 

Old Hickory has been closed and vacant since 1987, and was owned by Adelphia, which was destroyed by an accounting scandal and entered bankruptcy in 2002. The current owner acquired Old Hickory in 2004 with the intention of rehabilitating it, but has not been able to do so to date. 

The owner looks forward to working with Preservation Pennsylvania and other partners to find a way to get the project moving forward in 2014.

In 1987, Old Hickory was purchased by John Rigas, founder of Adelphia Communications
Corporation. Founded in 1952, Adelphia was one of the largest communications companies in the world, with headquarters across the street from Old Hickory on Main Street in Coudersport. Rigas transferred ownership of Old Hickory to Adelphia in 1995, intending to rehabilitate the building as a bed and breakfast for use by employees visiting the corporate headquarters. Although Rigas invested heavily in antiques to furnish Old Hickory, rehabilitation never commenced. Along with Enron, WorldCom and others, Adelphia was destroyed by an accounting
scandal. In 2002, the company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and in 2006, their assets were auctioned off. While the corporation’s assets were transferred to Time Warner Cable and Comcast, Old Hickory was sold to Mary Freysinger in 2004. 

Because Old Hickory has been vacant for more than 25 years and is currently owned by an individual without the means to rehabilitate it, the building is at risk. Once an architectural gem and social hub, Old Hickory has been seen as an eyesore and a “monument to corporate indecision” for well over 10 years. Located on a large piece of land on Main Street, Old Hickory is not an asset to the community in its current condition

 “Once an architectural gem and social hub, Old Hickory has been seen as an eyesore and a ‘monument to corporate indecision’ for well over 10 years.”

Also known as the F. W. Knox Residence, Old Hickory is a 3-story, frame building in the Italianate style. Construction of the house began in 1875 and was completed in 1880, using
local lumber, and sparing no expense to make it the finest private home in Potter County. The elegant house is characterized by a prominent tower with round arched windows and a bracketed
roof, as well as other decorative wood detailing in the gable ends, windows hoods, porches and more.

In 1928, the Knox family sold the mansion, and it was converted for use as an inn known as Old Hickory Tavern. Through the mid-20th century, Old Hickory was the place to be for evenings out, corporate parties and more. The building has been vacant since 1987. Old Hickory is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Coudersport Historic District.

Pennsylvania At Risk serves as a representative sampling of the Commonwealth’s most endangered historic resources. For the purpose of the list, endangerment is defined as threat of demolition, significant deterioration, vandalism, alteration, and/or loss of its historic setting. It is Preservation Pennsylvania’s experience that publishing this list draws statewide attention to the plight of Pennsylvania’s historic resources, promotes local action to protect resources, and encourages additional state funding for historic sites.

In 2013, Preservation Pennsylvania conducted an analysis of the Pennsylvania At Risk program through its 20 years of existence and found that of the 200+ historic properties listed while in imminent danger, only 18% have been lost, 32% have been saved and 50% remain at risk. It sometimes takes a long time to achieve a “save,” so the fact that the fate of half of the list is still unknown should not be discouraging; many of these are currently works in progress, and will one day be saved. 

Of the 32% that have been saved, many have received Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards. These properties are now shining examples of how even historic properties that appear to be in the direst of situations can be brought back to function as cultural and economic assets for the Commonwealth.

Preservation Pennsylvania is a statewide, not-for-profit, educational and advocacy historic preservation organization and serves as a statewide voice on historic preservation issues. For more information, visit the website at or contact Preservation Pennsylvania at 717-234-2310.


Anonymous said...

It is very important for the public to know that this is not a government organization and this group has no ownership stake in the property. Their list is sort of like someone saying "wouldn't it be nice" like the old Beatles song. The idea of pouring money into preserving and restoring this building seems appealing but let's get real. What would it be used for? How could it generate enough revenue to cover overhead like staffing, utilities, upkeep, taxes, insurance and the list goes on? Don't get me wrong. I wish it could be saved and restored but I don't think it makes economic sense. Maybe public funds should be used. I would like to hear how other people feel about this topic because I hate to see it go -- but I think it will probably have to go. Maybe use that space for a parking area or a community park/picnic/playground.

Anonymous said...

Lots of misinformation here. See the Endeavor from a few weeks ago where this was reported. Who has the money to fix this and then operate it? I hope nobody expects the taxpayers to have to do it. What about the bowling alley? Last I knew the plan to reopen it fell through it is is just rotting away inside those aluminum walls. Not the prettiest building to sit next to a so-called historic splendor. Maybe a real estate company could sell that place to a family. The Addams Family that is. The Addams family started when Uncle Fester flatused. Their house is a museum where people come to visit .....and so on.

Anonymous said...

looks like a haunted house. hollywood could maybe use it.

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin?
It was the Beach Boys who performed "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"
The lyrics of the Addams Family theme song are incorrect. "Their house is a museum where people come to see 'em." Get it? It rhymes.
The biggest mistake of all though is the idea that the taxpayers should be stuck with paying anything for this.
I can see what is happening and it is starting to stink. Government money for this. Government money for a downtown consultant. Away we go. There is no such thing as government money. People need to speak out now!

Anonymous said...

Let's turn it into a casino!! There are alot of gamblers in Potter County!!

Anonymous said...

If I had the money I would LOVE to fix it up! It's just screaming make me pretty again! But unfortunately I have been restoring a 100+ year old house and I'm going on 10 years and we call it "The Money Pit." Worth it yes, but these homes need a lot of time, money and love.....which people just don't seem to have.

Anonymous said...

Donate it to Genesee Country Village & Museum - Mumford, NY - History ...‎
Genesee Country Village & Museum, Mumford, NY. 7163 likes · 151 talking about this · 9044 were here. The official page of the 19th-century living history ..are town worl make history from it

Anonymous said...

Some of the definitions fit our government and the US of A to a tee. Maybe we can get some of our money back from our foreign enemies that we gave to and restore our own country.

Our Potter County lawyers have millions just laying around, and they could all chip in and restore and lodge all their offices in the "old Hickory". All the ambulance chasing and high costs and fees would be more than enough to maintain and upkeep the building.

Anonymous said...

make it in to a Historical
put stuff on each the one in-- Jamestown pa like Lucille Désirée Ball has in
Jamestown, New York, US

put stuff in it from are potter Historical and rail road history and everything that come from potter county think it would be cool and neat for are kids in town's to learn more history about potter county
that is my thought's post
Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:21:00 PM EST

Anonymous said...

The following link shows Old Hickory in a video titled
"Muppet Labs Experiment 5T832: Ghost Hunt"

Anonymous said...

I know lets get the funding that the lumber museum got and then you could save it!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is wise to walk away. What was, was. What is, is. These plans sound good but it's easy to plan for things when these are things other people would have to do. Talk is cheap. Action is not. Let's be logical here.

Anonymous said...

The Addams family started when Uncle Fester f$%#%@!
Their house is a museum, where people come to visit.
They really are exquisite.
The Addams family.
Let the people who own the property decide what do do with the property. Keep the government and the do-gooders out of it. Period.

Anonymous said...

grrr those lousy do-gooders
that's great 825

until you realize its downtown and we don't want towering pieces of junk taking up space that could be better put to use

these people would like to think there's a win-win where we don't lose a nice piece of history

Anonymous said...

would like to see it in are town it's history.why can't people do

or do this

Even if don't get a tax break for restoring your home, you can still enjoy its charm.
Even if don't get a tax break for restoring your home, you can still enjoy its charm.

You can typically get the most tax credits for restoring old homes at the state and local level. Federal tax credits are limited to buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a similar state registry. They also generally are limited to income-producing properties, so your personal home usually can't qualify. However, up to 45 states offer some type of tax incentive for restoring old houses.

Sponsored Link
2014 Grant Applications
New Funding Released All the Time. Deadlines Approaching. Apply
IRS Credit for homes

Anonymous said...

try to get some kind of grant!!!

Keystone Historic Preservation Program Update

The enacted Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Pennsylvania Commonwealth Budget maintained the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund that provides funding for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program.

Deadline for Applications: March 3, 2014

Grant Period: September 1, 2014 - March 31, 2016

Guidelines for Applicants

As established under the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, funding under the Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grant program is available to nonprofit organizations and local governments for small construction projects for publicly accessible historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. (Private property owners are not eligible for funding under this program and may wish to refer directly to Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit Program for information on historic tax credits.) The purpose of the grant is to support projects that rehabilitate, restore, or preserve historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Unlike previous years, the FY 2013-2014 PHMC Grant program will provide two separate programs: a "bricks and mortar" construction grant for historic buildings and a preservation project-related program. These guidelines address only construction-related activities. Please review the separate guidelines for the Keystone Historic Preservation Project Grants for information pertaining to the preservation projects.

The basic guidelines and general conditions for the Construction Grant program are:

Competitive application process based on publicly available evaluation criteria
All applications must be prepared on the eGrant application system
Eligible applicants are limited to non-profit organizations and local governments
Eligible applicants may apply for and receive either one construction-related OR project-related grant (not both)
Historic resource must be located in Pennsylvania and documented as being listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Minimum Award $5,000
Maximum Award $50,000
Funding requests require a 50/50 CASH match
Funding is available in the categories of:
Projects must meet goals and objectives of Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Plan. The plan is available for review at:
Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Plan (PDF)
Grant supported project expenditures cannot begin until the successful applicant has received a fully executed Grant Agreement
Project related expenses are reimbursable; successful applicants need to maintain an adequate CASH match to ensure completion of their project within the grant period.

Anonymous said...

Where do grants come from? Outer space? Heaven? Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

every body always relied on Adelphia to take care and fix up everything in town now its time for the citizens to step up and lend a hand the town is going down hill fast..

Anonymous said...

Wake up Potter County !!!
You have already torn down numerous historical sites and made a parking lot or park out of these sites. How is that working for you??

Anonymous said...

What happened to the liquor licence that went with this place?

Anonymous said...

the town will do what ever they want too...

Anonymous said...

First off, Yes, it would be nice to have it restored & up and running as a contributing business.

However, this property is literally going to take at least a few hundred thousand dollars to make it whole again.

The current owner has obviously made a poor economic decision in purchasing it and should not be subsidized by any public money for their error.

I ask, if the current owner does not have to means to rehabilitate it, why is there not a For Sale sign on it and why is it not being marketed by a competent real estate company to try to find someone who may be able to take on the project?

Our town could not raise enough to do something with the JC Penny building; it will not be able to this, at least not alone and my prayer to the Lord above is that the Housing Authority does not get their sticky fingers involved.

What is the answer? I think it's up to the current owner.

Anonymous said...

Put your thinking caps on people and come up with a plan don't become another Austin!

Atheist in Action said...

It should go to an Atheist group.

Has the owner asked for help? Why do WE think we know what's best for the property?

Anonymous said...

Kudos and dildines to the person who left the comment at 1:59. I agree with everything you wrote. As a taxpayer who struggles to pay my bills I do not want to see my tax dollars going to a losing project like this and agree that the Housing Authority should butt out. I hear rumblings that they are trying to tie this in with the PennDOT project somehow or other. Come on, folks!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

i do not deal well with negative people. if one wants something bad enough, take the initiative to do it. people like to complain, and when another steps up to the plate and does something about an issue, the same people want their faces in the paper for recognition. this can be done - the want and determination must first be present. will it take time? of course! can it be done? certainly! galeton ruined their downtown - they torn down every bldg. on main st. what do they have now? a lake and a huge beer party every 4th of july. work together coudersport people and save a very historic structure.

Anonymous said...

wasn't john regis the current owner of this?

they would no how to get founding

Anonymous said...

I remember when Johnny Rigas was Coudersport's Hero.. If there was money needed for something get in touch with John and he would get it all repaired. Need financial help? Get ahold of John. John was everyone's go to person when they wanted something. Now that he is in Jail for something I truly don't believe he had anything to do with but trust his employees now there is no go to person for help. People lost there jobs, houses, cars, and so much help within the community. So now everyone blames John. So now its no John No Money... How's that working for you Coudersport.. I know its not working for me. Now we are all on our own to repair things.. Good Job!!

Anonymous said...

Take lots of pictures and tear the dump down. We can't afford it.

Anonymous said...

I am not from the US, nor am I from the UK but I do know that in the UK there are laws that protect heritage properties from falling into ruins. The owner only has so long to restore the house or it gets taken off them, they get nothing or very little. That's what should happen here. If someone bought it and didn't restore it then they don't have the right to own it. Put a car park there! Are you serious? Cherish the past and all it represents. Do they build houses like this now? No, everything looks so much alike, lacking character and quality. Like I said, I don't live here but I think it would be a shame to lose that history. Just my say!

Anonymous said...

It's really a shame that this place has been allowed to get this bad. It will take millions to fix,if it can even be fixed. The dry rot of all the wood beams alone has to be immense. Perhaps it would be more cost effective to to go through the historic files and try to find the blueprints, tear it down and rebuild it.As it would be a great building for a Potter County Historic Society .
It is in the perfect location for it.

AllisonARK said...

I LOVE this house. I wish we could all come together and fix this house, but clearly it needs a lot of work and time. I sure hope they don't demolish this house. It is too beautiful and they don't make homes like this anymore. I like visiting towns and checking out their oldest buildings and houses. It's the thrill of "what does it look like on the INSIDE?" and the history of these buildings that always pull me in. Hope the new owner can do something about it soon. Too beautiful to lose.

Anonymous said...

MOSt State laws say, its illegal to tear down a historical landmark.
Check with Historical Landmark Society.
An Individual needs to buy it, an make a home out of it.

Anonymous said...

You think it will have to go and be used as a parking lot? You are part of the problem. Grants are written everyday to restore such properties as this. The money is out there, someone just needs to get the ball rolling. Sounds to me like the current owner wants something like this to happen where they can get the work done for nothing and still keep the building. It doesn't work like that. And by the way, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is not an old Beatles song. It's a Beach Boys song.

Theresa Brumbaugh said...

Fell in love with this house the first time my late husband took me to Coudersport in 2004. I wish I had the money to buy it and restore it to its once grand statue.

Barbara said...

I adore this place; has any work happened since this article was posted? I'd love to restore it.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Coudersport. I remember when this was open but never went inside as I was a child. Coudersport has lost so much, I hope someone sees this ad and restores it to its original state. I would love to see it redone! Its a piece of history!

Unknown said...

We have a camp in caudersport and have been going for years. It wasn't until last year that I seen this place. I absolutely love this house. Is the owner planning on selling it? I would love to see the inside of house.

stacie ash said...

I absolutely love this house. I have been to our camp in caudersport every year. It wasn't until last year that I seen this house. I am drawn to this house . I would love to see the inside. Does the owner have any plans on selling it?

Solomon's words for the wise said...

Actually the property is now listed for sale with a local realtor with a price in the $60's.

Anonymous said...

Family ownership is ideal bc the family will truly care about the whole of it and May want to share IT'S splendor through annual open house, etc.

Michael Byfield said...

It will have historical value, it dont need to serve any purpose accept be a home for someone to enjoy, and can be converted to handle modern utilities.

Theresa Brumbaugh said...

SIGH..... wish I had the money to restore it....

Linda Mauser said...

The Old Hickory was sold in August 2016!