For Mayor Dolores Aumen, the Hoke farmhouse in Spring Grove is both an eyesore and a "beautiful, big old stone home."
Built in the 1700s, the stone building is situated near the roundabout along North Main Street. The boarded-up structure has broken windows, a slowly deteriorating foundation and a ruined interior, Aumen said.
It's one of the first structures seen when entering the borough, said Aumen, also president of the Spring Grove Area Historical Preservation Society. The farmhouse sits on more than an acre of land, she said.
"We would like to see it preserved," Aumen said. "It's a very neat old farmhouse that has a lot of history to it. The house is really getting to be in bad shape. If it keeps going the way it is, I'm sure there would be no alternative but to tear it down."
The Hoke farmhouse is owned by Rutter's Farm Stores, which has a store next to the home, Aumen said.
"(Rutter's officials) did come to the preservation society years back to see if we were interested in the building," she said. "But we didn't have any money for it. They suggested that we move the building. That house is way too big for that."
The society recently received a donation that could be used toward work on the building, Aumen said. However, Rutter's will have to decide what it's going to do with the structure, the mayor said.
"We'd like to see if they would be interested in donating it to the community," she said. "I think it would be nice on their part. The community has supported Rutter's. Why not do this for the community?"
Tim Rutter, president of Rutters' M&G Realty Inc., declined to comment.
The preservation society would like to get the farmhouse back into shape, fill it with 18th-century-type furniture and open it up for tours, Aumen said.
Its history: The farmhouse was used as a tavern in the 18th century, according to Robert Spangler Sr., curator for the preservation society's museum.
He said the farmhouse had several owners, including Herman Hoke, who owned it from 1904 until his death in 1966. Hoke's son, William Hoke, sold the property to Spring Force Developers in 1966.
Over the next three decades, the property was used for a public library, an antique shop and an apartment building, Spangler said.
He and Aumen said the farmhouse's existence was threatened in 2000, when its owner at that time presented to the borough council a proposal to tear down the building to make room for an apartment complex.
Spangler, the society's past president, said he helped start a petition against the proposal in efforts to save the building. The council voted against the apartment plan, he said.
"We won that battle," Spangler said. "Now we're fighting it again."
- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at 505-5438 or email@example.com.