York County explores what to do with Strickler house

Greg Gross
  • The Strickler farmhouse was built in 1740, with additions added in 1835 and 1865
  • York County is spending $2,500 for an engineering report on the possible re-use of the house

Paint on some of the walls of the 18th-century Stricker farmhouse has bubbled from water that's seeped in over the last several years.

The cedar roof on the oldest part of the York County-owned house is showing its age, and the layout of the home, which was built in three phases over 120 years, isn't ideal for anything other than a family home.

"The roof's not good, and the basement floods," Carl Lindquist, county spokesman, said.

If the nearly 300-year-old Strickler house were located anywhere else, it would be an attractive home for someone to snatch up and refurbish.

But the house's nearest neighbor is the York County Prison, making its potential use limited.

That leaves few options for what it can be used for, and commissioners recently agreed to spend up to $2,500 for the York City-based engineering firm Murphy & Dittenhafer to see if the building can be re-used.

"At the current time, we see no use for it," Lindquist said, referring to the county not having a use for it.

The house: The oldest part of the Strickler house, a stone structure, was built by a Swiss immigrant in 1742.

Another addition was built around 1835, and the third section was added about 1865, said Bruce Johnson, a project manager with Murphy & Dittenhaffer, who inspected the house on Friday.

York County acquired the house in 1943 when it purchased land the prison, located at 3400 Concord Road in Springettsbury Township, would be built on. The Strickler family cemetery is also on the property.

The Strickler house was used by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for 12 to 15 years before it was moved to the nearby York County annex building at the county-owned Pleasant Acres Nursing & Rehabilitation Center several years ago because of the poor condition of the building. The house has sat vacant since.

"I'd like to preserve historic properties," said Vice President Commissioner Doug Hoke, who tagged along for the inspection. "But obviously, if you spend a lot of money on the property there has to be an end use."

The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Report: A 2013 inspection deemed the house structurally sound but found the roof needed to be replaced at an expected cost of $30,000. The roof was not replaced, but a group of local preservationists raised roughly $5,000 to offset the cost.

Johnson will likely make a return trip to the house for a follow-up inspection and will see if the building is up to code and, if it's not, what it would take to comply with codes. He expected to present results to commissioners in about a month.

Commissioners will base their decision on what to do with the building on the report.

"If you fix it up, what can it be used for?" Hoke questioned. "And that's the question I don't know the answer to."

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ggrossyd.