Owner says 'No hurry' for old tavern

September 11, 2000

Owner says 'No hurry' for old tavern

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Washington Township car dealer Curtis Mummert, who bought the historic former Stephey's Tavern next to his Buchanan Auto Park property in Rouzerville at a public auction Saturday, said Monday he has no immediate plans for the building.

The house, at 11240 Buchanan Trail East, was operated during the Civil War as Stephey's Tavern.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stopped at the tavern for dinner with some of his officers on July 5, 1863, during his Army's retreat from the Battle of Gettysburg.

"I have no long- or short-term plans for the house," Mummert said. He said he would stabilize the building to keep it from deteriorating.

"I bought it because it was a smart investment and to protect my property. I'm in no big hurry to do anything with it," he said.


The area the house is in is zoned commercial.

Jerry Zeigler Jr., zoning enforcement officer for Washington Township, said there are no restrictions to stop Mummert from tearing down the house. "It's not a state or national historic landmark. He can turn it into anything he wants. He can let it sit there and deteriorate if he wants," Zeigler said.

The second-highest bidder for the house Saturday was Rick Mohn Jr. of Waynesboro. Mohn was out of town and could not be reached for comment Monday.

Auctioneer Matthew Hurley, said the house sold for more than its appraised price. He declined to say by how much. "It did very well," he said.

The house was owned by Mary Bonbrake, 102, a descendant of Peter Rouzer, founder of the village of Rouzerville. Three generations of Rouzers lived in the house.

Bonbrake said her parents and siblings moved into the house when she was 8-years-old.

Bonbrake moved out of the two-story, nine-room house because of health problems in 1997. She lives in Hoover House, an assisted living home in Waynesboro.

She said last week she was saddened at the thought of having to sell her family home. Bonbrake, who never married, said she has no immediate heirs.

The contents of the home, including Bonbrake's furnishings, were sold along with the house Saturday.

Hurley said more than 300 people signed up for bidding numbers. An additional 100 people attended the sale as onlookers, he said.

"There were cars lined up for about a mile past the house on Route (Pa.) 16," he said. "We did a lot of advertising and there was a lot of publicity about the house," he said.

Selling prices for some of the furnishings brought surprisingly high prices, Hurley said.

A mid- to late 19th century blanket chest brought more than $1,700, he said. "It exceeded what I would have expected it to bring," he said.

A couple of turn of the 20th century oak bedroom suites sold for more than $1,000, he said. Hurley said most of the furniture and antiques were in decent condition, but most needed some restoration.

"Things were selling higher than we anticipated they would," he said. "We had buyers here from as far away as Georgia and Alabama," he said.

The sale began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m., he said.

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