SNYDERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — One of the oldest homes in the county, sold at auction this summer, could be facing demolition if its new owner doesn't find a way to repurpose the building.
But concerned neighbors of the 233-year-old home, located at the intersection of Route 209 and Rimrock Drive in Snydersville, are putting together a proposal that would save the house and help a local nonprofit at the same time.
"My purpose was to see if we can save the property from being demolished through community support," Cathy Young, of Snydersville, said.
In order to make that happen, the nonprofit, HelpMe2Stop.org, and founder Charlene Blacer, of Hamilton Township, must come up with $260,000 by Oct. 23.
HelpMe2Stop.org helps people suffering from trichotillomania — a psychological disorder that causes people to literally pull their hair out.
Young said there are benefactors interested in helping the project, but they have a long way to go and less than a week to do it.
"We are reaching out the community," Blacer said. "We want this to be a community property."
Blacer envisions a retreat where her clients — "trich" sufferers from around the world — can stay and be treated. She currently provides that service from her home on Route 209.
Blacer lost out at an estate sale earlier this year. But she didn't leave the auction empty-handed. She won the family's Bible, and she said if it was God's will, she would someday get the house.
"I thought — whatever's going to happen, it's meant to be. If it's for me, it won't go by me," Blacer said.
That's why she believes it was divine intervention when she heard from Young a few weeks ago.
Shortly after the auction, Young and her husband John, an architect, got in touch with the winning bidder, to see what the plans were for the home.
The buyer, who the Youngs are not identifying, told them he was considering everything from repurposing the building as office space to demolishing it for a Sheetz or Wawa gas station. But he indicated he was willing to sell the property for a charitable cause, Cathy Young said.
So she took action, contacting anyone she thought might have a remote interest in seeing the property saved.
"I met with a lot of people, not one person wanted to see it demolished," Young said.
The consensus among the business community was that they weren't interested in buying the property, but they would support a nonprofit if they attempted to buy the property.
Eventually the Youngs connected Blacer with the winning bidder. He agreed to give Charlene the property if she could come up with the amount she bid, $260,000.
But the terms of the auction were non-negotiable. Blacer would have to come up with the money within 60 days of the auction date. That deadline is Oct. 23.
Blacer hosts clients at her home for weeklong training sessions in coping with trich. Currently they stay at hotels, then come to her home for treatment and training in maintaining their own hairpieces.
"I'm a hair-loss expert. What I do is transform the images and lives of people with hair loss. The majority of my clients have this very secretive disorder, a compulsive hair-pulling disorder," she said.
But taking over the house would allow Blacer more interaction with her clients, who come from all over the world.
"The property itself is big enough for my clients to have recovery space, and I love historic homes," she said.
Young said the home was built in 1780, and expanded in the early 19th century. Outbuildings like a one-room school house and church, both of which operated well into the 20th century, were added during that time as well.
The Feitig family occupied the home for five generations. Keturah Elizabeth Feitig, who was born in the house, died last year.
Blacer says that, just like when she lost the auction, she's put her faith in God to make the deal happen for HelpMe2Stop.org. And Young says she'll do whatever she can to preserve the house.
"Everybody views the house as the gateway to Snydersville. Imagine driving through here without having that as the gateway," Cathy Young said.
"It is Snydersville."
Information from: Pocono Record, http://www.poconorecord.com/