The Spring Grove Area Historical Preservation Society wants to save the Hoke House.
The Spring Grove Area Historical Preservation Society wants to save the Hoke House. (File photo)

It once served as Confederate headquarters and was also used as a tavern.

Built in the 1700s, the Hoke House is the oldest building in Spring Grove and one of the oldest structures in York County.

That history alone is worth preserving, according to Spring Grove Mayor Delores J. Aumen.

But the house's future isn't etched in the stone with which it was built.

Aumen, who also serves as president of the Spring Grove Historical Preservation Society, is concerned about the building's fate.

The Hoke House is owned by Rutter's Farm Stores, which has a convenience store near the home.

Rutter's officials have said they would like the old farmhouse to be moved, and offered it to the historical society and another individual, Aumen said.

Multiple calls to Rutter's executives were not returned. Spokeswoman Alexandra Henry said the company had no comment.

The cost: Moving the Hoke House to another property would cost $500,000, Aumen said.

"We can't afford that," she said.

But the community can't afford to lose a piece of its history either, Aumen said.

So to brainstorm alternatives to moving the building, the Friends of Hoke House are hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Spring Grove Borough Building, 1 Campus Ave.

"We want to collect ideas to take to Rutter's and show them the Hoke House doesn't have to be destroyed. The building could have other uses," Aumen said.

The mayor would like to see the old farmhouse incorporated into the Rutter's business.

"Maybe they could put an office in there," she said.

Visitor's center: The property could also be used as a visitor's center, Aumen said.

"As you come around the circle in Spring Grove, that beautiful, old stone house makes a statement. We could use it to promote the history of the area," she said.

Before any of that could happen, though, the house would have to be cleared out.

"We've heard from Rutter's that the inside is destroyed," Aumen said.

There's a lot of support in the community, and she expects a strong turnout at the meeting.

One of the meeting's attendees will be York County Commissioner Doug Hoke.

He doesn't have a direct connection to the property, but he estimates a distant relationship between his immediate family and the old farm.

"My father passed away in 2007, and I remember him telling me he used to go to the Hoke farmhouse in Spring Grove to ride ponies or horses," Hoke said.

His brother is working on a family genealogy, and they've discovered a lot of Hokes have settled in the county, he said.

"Some of the streets are named Hoke Street, and my granny Elizabeth Hoke was a painter in Spring Grove," Hoke said.

But he said his last name is not why he's attending Thursday's meeting.

"I suppose the connection is a motivator. But as someone who enjoys history and architecture, I'd go anyway," he said. As a county commissioner, he's not taking a position.

"I would just like to hear what the public and people of Spring Grove have to say," Hoke said.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.