Plan to replace porches around Holy Hound advances

Sean Philip Cotter
  • The plan to replace the porches around the Holy Hound bar got a preliminary go-ahead.
  • The all-new porches might be a different color.

The porch system around the Holy Hound Taproom and National House building might look fairly different in a few months.

If all goes according to plan, contractors will be replacing the entire porch structure — the dominant feature of  the three-story structure at North Beaver and West Market streets — over the next six months or so. Structurally, the porches will be very similar to how they look now, but they likely will be a different color, according to project manager Kevin Hubbell.

National House, 57 W. Market St. in York City

The York City Historical Architecture Review Board gave the project its blessing during the body's meeting Thursday night, making it likely that the plans will get a final OK from the city council Tuesday.

HARB makes recommendations to York City Council about exterior work done in the historical district around the city's core. The council usually accepts HARB's recommendations, especially when HARB votes to give the project the go-ahead.

The council will vote on whether to give this project a certificate of approval during its next meeting, which is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. The building's owner, Sherman Property Management, is contracting to Royal Square Development & Construction for about half a million dollars,

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Mid-August: The project is on track to start in mid-August and will take about five months, Hubbell said.

It is still to be determined what color everything is going to be, he told The York Dispatch after the meeting. But during the meeting he said the owners were leaning toward a color much like that of a manila folder, which would be a significant departure from the dark green it is now.

That will be fine, though, HARB's members decided, because the black-and-white photos showing the original columns from around 1900 don't make it clear what color the columns were.

Board member Teresa Johnescu asked the all-important question: "How's this gonna affect the Holy Hound?"

Joe Musso, also of Royal Square, assured her that the Hound will be able to remain open, though portions of the outdoor seating and standing area will be closed off at times.

Three stages: The work will be done in three stages, Hubbell said.

National House to replace all 3 floors of porches

Workers will start with the northernmost third of the porches, working on the four floors north of the Beaver Street entrance to the Holy Hound. Then they will move to the area to the south of that entrance down to the corner of Beaver and Market before finally wrapping up with the Market Street portion of the building, Hubbell said.

Both of those entrances will stay open, with safety scaffolding protecting them, he said. That also will  be the case with the emergency entrance of the bar, as well as the door that leads up to the apartments above the bar, he said.

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The original National House Hotel was built in 1828 and hosted Charles Dickens and President Martin Van Buren, according to The York Dispatch archives. Musso said the decks were built in the 1890s, but some owner in the 20th century removed them, maybe around when a department store moved in during the 1950s.

A restoration project in the 1980s returned the facade to its original form, based on old photos from the porches' first years, and brought back the decks. With only minor repairs, the wooden porch structure around the building has remained for the three decades since. But now it needs to be overhauled, Musso said.

This project would replace the wood with a composite that would expand less in the heat and likely will be more durable, Hubbell said.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.