c. 1880 Italianate – Coudersport, PA

SOLD / Archived From 2016
Added to OHD on 2/26/16 - Last OHD Update: 11/21/17 - 63 Comments
4 N Main St, Coudersport, PA 16915
Amazing opportunity to own a piece of Coudersport History. This once beautiful Italianate home and former Old Hickory Inn built in 1880, still has so much to offer. There are three floors with about 1,690 square feet each and three sets of curved wooden staircases. The fireplaces were restored along with the chimneys. So many possibilities for this one of a kind building. Call for more information or to take a walk through time and dream.
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63 Comments on c. 1880 Italianate – Coudersport, PA

  1. This is like a movie set. How a adore it. There was a house just like this left alone and abandoned on Block Island when I was a little girl. I fantasized for years that I would someday own it. Sadly it was torn down.

    I would just adore restoring this house and making it the show place it once was. However, I can hear my husband now. “No, Susan. No. There are all kinds of things floating around in that house. Nope. No and no.”




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    • Well, there appears to be one comment (Lynn’s–about a comment on the other site) that actually validates your husband’s remark! I see “all kinds of things floating around in that house” too!




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  2. This is what I found out about it.

    The Knox house in Coudersport, PA. was owned by F.W. Knox, a prominent businessman in Coudersport and president of the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad. Mr. Knox died in 1884. Many years later, the house was turned into a bar and hotel known as the “Old Hickory,” and was open for over 30 years before falling vacant again.” Here are some more pictures of it. http://vietnamvets68.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-knox-house-coudersportpa.html

    Little trivia. It was featured in a Jessie J music video.




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  3. I followed the link above and this was a comment that was posted on that link. May 9, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    I am the great grandson of the 2nd owner of “Old Hickory” his name was Thomas J. lawyer. I lived in a room there one summer as I was working for my uncle who was the grandson of Thomas J. lawyer. I painted the house in 1969 with 5 men. My experiences in the house were frightening as it was haunted! Each night noises, and orbs and streamers came into my room. I could never sleep well. I think the house should become an attraction as a haunted house! With the house gutted like this a lot of the work is done and one can see everything but the possibility of it being haunted scares me to death.




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  4. I am SO happy to finally see pictures of the inside! I am from PA and have seen the outside hundreds of times on “abandoned home” websites, Pinterest, and from Halloween enthusiasts dreaming about a good haunt. It’s heartbreaking that it is gutted but it does look like it’s mostly drywall to be done. Oh how I’d love to take this project on!




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      • I am from a very tiny town just outside Altoona, PA. I’ve always wanted to visit this house, but haven’t made it yet. If it were closer to my family and job, I think I’d have to make an investment in it. It’s beautiful!




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  5. OMG I’m *SWOOOONING* over this beautiful home. I hope she’s lovingly restored to herself again!




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  6. Oh so beautiful even in the state it is in. Now if Publishers Clearing House would just give me that $5000 a week for the rest of my life….I would buy her and enjoy returning her to her former glory!!




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  7. It is nice to finally see pics of the interior!

    It’s a gorgeous house, but the location is pretty awful. I guess in the 50’s the family who owned the house and some property around it built a bowling alley just a few feet away, and this bowling alley bends around behind the house too. In the front is a busy State route, then on the other side is a gravel road and a stream that runs through town.

    On the other hand, the perfect New England town it’s in is surrounded by beautiful mountains that must burst into flame every autumn as the leaves change. I’m sure it would be a joy to see while standing in the 4th floor tower of the house!

    I am very, very happy to see an attempt was made to restore the interior. Last I saw anything about this house, it looked very sad and it looked like the owners were waiting for it to die of natural causes.




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  8. My heart STOPPED at the exterior.

    And my heart STOPPED at the interior, but for very different reasons.

    Kelly, you are going to give me a heart attack!

    Please please please let it be that all the interior trim and doors and other bits are stored somewhere. Please. Please let it be that somebody photographed the entire interior before gutting it. Please.

    While I am HORRIFIED that the interior has been gutted, this does actually allow for a full rewiring, plumbing, and insulating to be done much more efficiently. A small silver lining.

    This house just jumped to my Top Five Favorites. Oh my. Oh my.

    The street view is surreal:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7731569,-78.0211107,3a,75y,78.13h,86.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXBQm3RyslEMa3V8yjZCfCQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656




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    • I never understand why people ruinously gut houses then abandon them. We had one here who did that then tried to charge a premium for it. It boggles my mind. No, your gutted, formerly nice, 1700sf Victorian with badly applied vinyl siding and cheap vinyl windows in a town of 10K people in South Dakota is NOT worth $195K. -_-




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    • “Surreal” is indeed the word!

      Oh, this house is so very beautiful. How awful to be situated so close to a business — especially a bowling alley. The noise has to be irritating. Wonder if the house could be relocated.




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  9. Coudersport must have been a bustling town when U.S. 6 was the only way to get around. But now it’s pretty far off the beaten track, keeping most through traffic away. Good if you like privacy, but generally bad for business. The nearest Home Depot is an hour away. Lowes 1-1/2 hours. Better rent a big truck and buy a lot of stuff at once to fix this baby up! Quaint downtown! I wonder where everyone works?




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    • Echo,
      If you never lived here, than you will never appreciate the values of a small town. Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, Fast Food Restaurants – hey, we don’t mind. If you are from the city, well I guess this just won’t cut it. For those of us who are here and have been all our lives – it is fine – real fine!!!




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  10. This beauty has been on my radar for years and now that I see the interior I am speechless. Why in God’s name would someone gut a house like this? Where would you even begin putting it back together? I feel so sad……




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  11. Well I guess the plan would be to restore it and pray the bowling alley falls down. That would restore it to its proper setting. To me this would make a great antique shop you could live above. I would want to know about the stream next door and if you are in a big flood plain. Have rebuilt historic interiors from scratch, this is a major project even with salvage historically correct materials. I am very conflicted about this one




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  12. The stream beside it is the Allegheny River. The headwaters of the Allegheny is about 15 miles up the road. It was owned by the Rigas family, who were the founders of Adelphia Cable. It was in the process of renovation and restoration when John, Tim and Mike Rigas were arrested and Adelphia dismantled. The woodwork and doors had all been carefully removed and numbered so all could be replaced when the time came. Now all that (which had been stored in a barn) has disappeared. A lot of work was done on the structure and foundation, along with the fireplaces, chimneys and roof. However it isn’t a simple matter of drywall. It is estimated as a 2 million dollar project. It was a thriving restaurant and bar as recently as the 1990s. Yes, it is a sad thing. With the right buyer, the community would get behind the project. The best use for it would be a bed and breakfast. But it would take a loooooooooong time to realize the investment. I have a photo of it as it looked in the 80s but I can’t find anyplace to upload it.




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    • Dear Deb,

      Thank you for your comments.

      The Rigas family story is partly told here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rigas

      It is painful to learn that the stored materials have since been lost. I wonder if any could be recovered? I wonder if pre-gut interior images could be found?

      You mentioned a $2M price tag to restore the house. While it could certainly cost this, I suspect I could do it for $500K. And do it well.

      This is an incredible house. My lust for it is overpowering.




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      • After the arrest of the Rigases, a lot of their property was confiscated, including this house, and also the barn in which the woodwork was stored. Having been taken over by people unfamiliar with the properties, a worker had been instructed to clean the barn out and all the woodwork was headed for a burn pile. A local resident found out, intercepted it, and then sold the woodwork to people who were restoring an old house in another town. So sadly, it can’t be recovered. There may be some people who have photos of the interior. Prior to the Rigases it was owned by a group of people, some of whom have passed away. It is also possible that area residents may have photos since it was a popular place. The tavern in the basement was THE place to go all through the 70s, 80s and into the 90s.
        I am posting this link to a story by a local newspaper recapping the legal issues surrounding the Rigases and Adelphia 10 years after: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/03/10_years_later_two_members_of.html
        As the Wikipedia story said, John Rigas was released from prison recently. He was greeted back into town by over 100 people. It is worth noting that he is well-loved by most of the people here. I have never heard one of his former employees speak ill of him. The media made him out to be a greedy monster, when in reality, he is a very gentle, quiet person who is generous beyond belief. There are countless stories of his generosity with the people who worked for him.
        As far as doing this work for 500 grand — I’m no expert. But that is the figure commonly used around Coudersport in discussions about the building.




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        • Deb,

          Thank you for the update.

          So, WHERE all the trim and doors went is perhaps known.

          Even if sold, the new owners may not have used the materials, or not all the materials. Could some (or all) be repurchased?

          If not, would the new owners at least allow measurements and photographs to be taken of the materials?

          Having this information would be invaluable to recreating the lost interior.

          Houses of this era normally had their trim, doors, windows, mantels, and even entire staircases ordered out of millwork catalogs. A lot of what is in my 1894 house is from catalogs.

          Therefore, if a person at least knew what to look for (having seen and measured the original missing bits), they could go on the hunt to architectural salvage yards, and/or send images to yards across the nation, looking for the lost bits. For, there will certainly be copies of the lost bits elsewhere because such bits were churned out by millwork factories.

          If money is no object, the lost bits could also be recreated.




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          • Well, Ross, that is possible — I hadn’t really thought of that. Smethport, PA, (about a half hour away), is the location of the home the woodwork was used in. The man who intercepted and sold it, has since passed away. But his business associate may have the answer.




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  13. This the most beautiful house I have ever seen. It is that which old house dreams are made. Sigh, if only, if only…




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  14. Depending on how much it would cost to restore, it might not be a bad buy.

    Coudersport, PA is out near Cherry Springs State Park, one of the few dark places on the East Coast and there is very little rental stock out there.

    On the other hand, Coudersport and the surrounding areas, have been hot spots for fracking, so I would be concerned about the watertable.




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  15. Since I guess this sight is for dreamers as well as doers, if someone has the money to buy and bring this beauty back, they might also want to buy and tear down what looks like the abandoned bowling alley. That would give the home breathing room. I think everyone that reads this sight had a bit of a heart pang at the stored items disappearing; my guess stolen and sold. I can’t imagine finding woodwork, doors and what all else might have been in this beauty. Not haunted as much as just terribly sad.




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    • The bowling alley was abandoned for a very long time. It was purchased about a year ago by a man who is working on it and plans to re-open it. The building that wraps around behind the Old Hickory is not part of the bowling alley, but rather the hardware store which is next to it. Since those businesses were established, the downtown area of Coudersport has been designated as a historic district, with certain restrictions to preserve it.
      BTW the woodwork was not stolen. It was given to the man that sold it, or else it would have been burned. I happened to know the man, and he was a good guy, not a thief.




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      • Hello DebP, I know the new owner, he is trying to maintain the house close to original , the interior will be changed based on bed rooms and bathrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor, with first floor being the two open living areas and a kitchen area. It would be great if we can get some early pictures of room layouts, finishes with in , the type /style of wood work and doors that were in the building. As you can see by the exterior he is trying to maintain as much as possible ( the windows are proof). He has a lot of work in front of him and the more info he can get in regards to original finishes and hardware would be good. It would be great to get a few items but if they have been sold so be it the next best thing would be photos.




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  16. So gorgeous! The walls ripped out might seem intimidating, but it’s probably better to have the fireplaces and chimneys already restored than the other way around. Pity about the small lot, though. That brick wall right against the house is UGLY.




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  17. Due to its location, I doubt this very pretty house has much of a chance. The bowling alley is a real ugly wart right there & commercial buildings otherwise don’t make it more attractive. Its whole story is a sad one. In its good days it was a beautiful fantasy of a house & now it’s just as beautiful a spooky one. Best of dreams would be somebody buying & moving it.




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    • Laurie, if I were interested in this house, the bowling alley would be something I was less than thrilled about but it would not be a deal breaker.

      The house is just SO intoxicating. I also would love being right on Main Street, and right next to a river.




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    • Laurie – without visiting the town it is hard to see the real context. This building hasn’t been used as a private home in well over 100 years. Hence, the commercial buildings nearby. It is in a prime spot for a B&B, and as someone else mentioned, tourism is increasing to the area with the promotion as a designated dark sky area in Cherry Springs State Park, only about 10 miles away. I run a small shop in Coudersport, and my business increases significantly around the new moon, with a new demographic with people from Washington DC, NYC, and Baltimore, and even further, who are coming to stargaze and falling in love with the wilderness in the region. The come back again and again. Another B&B in the area turns people away on these special weekends.




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  18. The location doesn’t bother me at all. I would join a bowling team! I love the stories: scandal AND ghosts! If only I had a mate to share this project! I am too overwhelmed by myself….but the price is right!




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  19. Old Hickory started as dream house – Potter County News 21 Dec 2013

    (Editor’s Note: The late Rev. Robert B. Merten researched the history of the Old Hickory for a Coudersport Rotary Club program in 1990. Here are some excerpts.)

    Having seen a house in Pittsburgh that he admired very much, attorney and businessman Franklin W. Knox decided to build one exactly like it in Coudersport. Construction was completed just a few weeks before the great fire of May 18, 1880. The house was undamaged during that devastating blaze.
    All of the wood used in construction grew in Potter County: maple, cherry, black birch, pine, hemlock, oak, chestnut, butternut, etc.
    Knox, a Tioga County native, was a co-owner of the weekly newspaper, the Potter Enterprise, and was instrumental in bringing the railroad and public water system to Coudersport.
    In 1903, Thomas J. Lawler bought the house from Knox. In January 1928, Lawler sold his home and properties to the partnership of H. H. Pett, Willard E. Schutt and Howard N. Schutt. They turned it into an inn and named their establishment “The Old Hickory,” in honor of Andrew Jackson.
    The new owners used a unique emblem for signs and stationery, depicting Jackson riding a donkey. It was drawn by a guest who had no means of paying his bill and designed the logo in lieu of payment.
    H. Hollingsworth and Kay Pett came from New York, joining the Schutts in Coudersport to decorate the Old Hickory with fine furniture and beautiful wallpaper.
    Arrival of the Great Depression forced the owners to split. Willard Schutt and his wife, Agnes, stayed in Coudersport and installed the downstairs tavern.
    A succession of owners would follow, including John Karr, from 1948 to 1967; Bud and Hilda Franklin, from 1967 to 1972; Richard and Anna Nicka, 1972-76; Frank and Billie Hendrix, 1976-78; Ted and Suzi Bear, Kathleen Wilson and David Marshall, 1978-1987; Olive Richard, for most of 1987, and Dorellenic Corporation starting in December 1987 until it was transferred to Adelphia in 1995.
    Court records showed more than $537,000 in antiques were purchased by the Rigases from Morgart’s Trash & Treasures in Coudersport to be used as part of the Old Hickory renovation.
    Then came the bankruptcy.




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    • I’m curious to find the match in Pittsburgh if there is one. $537k in a small town antiques store? This is a fabulous daydream house, but this is a shell with all the details now gone. It’s possible to find finished quality equivalents in central and western Pa towns with better lots and position in the neghborhood for significantly less than it would cost to finish this again.




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  20. Wow I love all the stories. Thanks for sharing. I am 60 and just wish I could sell my house and move & spend the next 25 years restoring this house! Its my dream house!




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    • Wow! The lithograph is incredible! Thanks, Jim!!!

      The house looks amazingly intact, save the loss of the dramatic gable-end finials, and the amazing tower finial!




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      • Thanks for the lithograph. Exterior-wise, the house seems little changed from its original design. The interior can be recreated as fine homes of this period tended to have somewhat similar details. The staircase is intact-a huge plus for this house. As others have noted, this must be one of the most photographed abandoned houses in Pennsylvania. What a wonderful “before and after” story could be written here. Not for the faint or heart nor shallow of pocket. Please save the old windows!




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    • My thought exactly! I expected to see Jack Skelton standing in the foyer with his bony arm outheld as he welcomed me.




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  21. No doubt whoever rebuilt the pictured fireplace had no idea what the original coal burner looked like. It sent a shudder up my spine to see what was rendered in its place.




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  22. I’ve loved this place for several years after discovering it. I believe it had to be gutted because it had deteriorated too much. I also read that the current owners ran out of funds in the middle of the project. Still lots of charm. Sure wish I had the money!




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