Lancaster County PA Realty Check: A Log Home That May Get Raised Instead of Razed!

A Log Home That May Get Raised Instead of Razed!

I was passing by the Chesapeake Crab Connection yesterday on Columbia Avenue near Centerville Road, Lancaster, PA.

Chesapeake Crab Connection

Next door to it was a house in the process of being torn down (you can see it in the corner past the sign).

                        Log House

The roof had already been torn off.  As I passed by, I noted, to my surprise, that underneath the clapboard, the home was an eighteenth century log house!

                                            Log House

I was dismayed, thinking that yet another piece of Lancaster County history was about to be destroyed.  I turned around, which in rush hour traffic on Columbia Avenue took me a mile of driving and fifteen minutes of stop lights to be able to get back to where I could go back and ask some questions.

                                                           Log House

It turns out that the Crab Connection owns the property on either side of the restaurant.  They're doing a major expansion of their parking lot, and had planned to tear down the old, nondescript houses on either side. 

                                       Lancaster, PA Log House

When the contractors removed the asbestos siding over this home, they found old clapboard underneath.  When they started to remove the clapboard, they found original 18th century logs!  The good news is that the owner is allowing a father and son team to remove the house at their own expense and relocate it to a more appropriate site!

Lancaster, PA Log House

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Crab Connection is planning an expansion of the "beach", as they call it, for outdoor dining in the warmer months, along with the larger parking facilities.  Kudos to everyone involved for recognizing and allowing a valuable, though hitherto unrecognized, piece of Lancaster County, PA history to be preserved.

Lancaster, PA Log House

                        This log home is one of the oldest buildings still in existence on Columbia Avenue.

 

Copyright2008BrianSchulman©

Brian Schulman offers expert personalized real estate representation and services in Lancaster County, PA.  To contact him, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

 

 

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

Lancaster County Facebook Business Page Brian Schulman LinkedIn R.E. Lancaster County Newsletter 

Interested in Receiving Information on  Local Lancaster County Events?

Lancaster Local Events  

 

Comment balloon 24 commentsBrian Schulman • March 19 2008 05:20PM

Comments

A great story.  I love to see these old buildings preserved.  We occassionally run into the same thing around here and every effort is made to preserve them. 
Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago
Lenn, I have seen too many cases like this that ended badly.  I'm encouraged that this one has a chance of being preserved in a good residential location.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Wow, that is awesome news!  It's great to hear of a local business owner putting his needs on hold to do something worthwhile.  Kudos to the Crab Connection!
Posted by Jeannie Kontis almost 10 years ago
Jeannie, I always get excited when something like this is discovered.  It'll be interesting to see if we can follow the progress of the project.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
That is great!   Worth saving for sure.
Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Trey, definitely worth saving.  I haven't figured out yet, from the rear, whether it originally began as an even earlier, smaller building.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Brian - this certainly gives credenc to the old "never judge a building (book) by its cover" I for one that am glad that the demolition crew had to do some stripping before smashing it all to bits it may have been to late to save it otherwise.
Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) almost 10 years ago
Kathy, you're right - sometimes a jewel is hidden under a nondescript exterior.  My only regret is that they removed the roof before finding out what was underneath.  Now the interior will be exposed to the weather for months before it is protected again.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
I thought for a minute you were talking about Chesapeake, Va as we have the same roads here.  Good ending.
Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) almost 10 years ago
Gene, I presume that the Crab Connection was named after Chesapeake Bay...
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Love the pictures and the story.  We have 'refurbished' log homes here in WNC and they are treasures. 


Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing almost 10 years ago
Susie, they are indeed treasures.  It never ceases to amaze me that more people don't appreciate and take care opf them.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
This serves as an example of the fact that Historic Preservation and Business Expansion can go hand-in-hand.
Posted by Rich Schiffer, Referral Agent, e-PRO almost 10 years ago
I'm glad to hear they decided not to tear it down.  Preserving our history is something more people need to think about.
Posted by Sandra Workman, BBA, Broker, CRS, GRI, ABR, SFR, CNE, ePRO, CNHS (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) almost 10 years ago
Rich, the two absolutely can go hand in hand.  All it takes is some good will and an awareness of the value of these old buildings on the part of the owner.  And someone with the time, skill and money to make it happen.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Sandra, hopefully if cases like this get publicized, more people will become aware of the possibilities and value of saving these pieces of history.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Wow, Brian!  That was really interesting!  You just never know what's underneath the rough exterior!  Glad to hear that this treasure is being lovingly restored and retained.

~Renae

Posted by Renae Bolton, I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA! (Marketing 4 Realtors) almost 10 years ago
Renae, I don't yet know the details of where or to what extent the log house will be restored.  I hope the restoration will be loving - and historically accurate.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Nice positive story.  I can't believe they didn't want to incorporate it into their own restaurant plan - you can't buy ambiance like that.... but maybe it needed too much work.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 10 years ago

Georgina, it was just lucky that the underlying log home was discovered at all before it was completely torn down.  I'm sure that the restaurant would have had no interest in saving it at all except for the fact that they found someone who was willing to remove it for free.

You make an interesting point - that it could have been incorporated into the expansion plan.  Unfortunately, development and historic preservation often don't have much in common.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Wonderful! I am so glad it will be saved. I live in the suburbs of Dallas, TX. Not too long ago the "Hard Rock Cafe" was demolished. I just couldn't believe the historic commission could not save it. The story is below.

By RUDOLPH BUSH / The Dallas Morning News
rbush@dallasnews.com

 

The 102-year-old structure that started out as McKinney Avenue Baptist Church came crumbling down Saturday, but the dust hasn't settled yet.

The 102-year-old structure known first as McKinney Avenue Baptist Church and later as a Hard Rock Cafe was destroyed over the weekend. COURTNEY PERRY/DMN The 102-year-old structure known first as McKinney Avenue Baptist Church and later as a Hard Rock Cafe was destroyed over the weekend.

Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt says she feels misled and betrayed by Uptown developer Brett Landes, who she believes gave her public assurances that he would preserve the building better known as the old Hard Rock Cafe at 2601 McKinney Ave.

But Mr. Landes said Tuesday that he never made such a promise, and a number of people familiar with the historic preservation fight over the building agreed that they understood demolition was a possibility.

Reached at his Uptown office, Mr. Landes expressed frustration that Ms. Hunt feels he wasn't forthright about the decision to tear down the building.

"I said my intent was to keep it. I never said, 'I promise not to tear it down,' " he said.

Ms. Hunt said that she specifically recalls a promise from Mr. Landes not to take the wrecking ball to the building.

"It's frustrating for me to be in a public meeting where a developer pledges to preserve a building and says that he has plans for how he's going to make that happen. ... And not only does he not do it, but he doesn't advise anyone or ask for any assistance in trying to make his plan more financially viable before destroying the structure," she said.

Mr. Landes said that for more than a year he sought businesses to lease all or part of the building.

"We sent brochures and packages out to at least 50 potential tenants, all of whom either declined or requested substantial modifications to the building, which would have rendered the church completely different," he said.

The cost of trying to spare the building came in at around $250,000, he said.

A number of historic preservationists, including the chairman and vice chairman of the city's landmark preservation panel, said they long understood the old church could be demolished.

Last year, the Landmark Commission declined to designate the building as a historic structure because it had undergone a series of significant structural changes. When Hard Rock moved in, the changes were dramatic, including the re-facing of the exterior and the installation of guitar handrails on the outer stairwell.

Mattia Flabiano, vice chairman of the Landmark Commission, recalled that Mr. Landes fought having the building designated as historic so he could maintain the right to tear it down.

The commission ultimately agreed with Mr. Landes not to designate the building as historic because it wasn't the same structure it once was, he said.

"There was very little left of the original church," Mr. Flabiano said.

Landmark Commission Chairman Chris Gonzales said he couldn't recall any pledges to spare the building and long felt it would be demolished.

"I drove by it Sunday, and it did give me chills. It made me sick to my stomach. But it wasn't a surprise," he said.

 

Posted by Becky Respess, ABR, CRB, CRS (Broker/Associate Century 21 Judge Fite Co) almost 10 years ago

Becky, thanks for including the article on the hard Rock Cafe.  It may have undergone significant changes, but from the one wall left standing in the photo, it's obvious that the original building was still there underneath.

It's a shame that there isn't more representation in favor of preservation on zoning boards and city councils.  City councils in particular seem more interested in increasing the tax base than in preserving historical landmarks.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Brian,

I agree. The wall is no longer standing either. It was a beautiful old church that was converted to the Hard Rock. It's really ashame.

On another note, The City of DeSoto, Texas (where I live). recently purchased the oldest house in Dallas County. The City Council and all the good people of DeSoto fought hard to get it back in the hands of the community. We are all very grateful. It sets in the center of a sub-division on acreage. I'm not sure what we are going to do with it. I have been asked to serve on the committee to look at options. I am going to post this as a blog.

Posted by Becky Respess, ABR, CRB, CRS (Broker/Associate Century 21 Judge Fite Co) almost 10 years ago
Becky, I'll look forward to seeing your blog on the oldest house in Dallas County!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Participate