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Preservationists hope to save Mercersburg stone house

November 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Proponents of preserving an 18th-century house along Pa. 16 in Mercersburg plan to meet with the building's owner Thursday to talk about options for the stone structure.

MMP&W Fire Co. owns the Smith House next to its firehouse. The department's board of directors will meet with residents who are pushing to save the house rather than see it demolished.

Last week, the preservationists met with representatives of Preservation Pennsylvania to learn more about how to submit an application to the National Register of Historic Places. The group toured the house and talked about its history.

"It's a very unusual history," said Terry Sirk, adding that research about British riots and boundary disputes has been posted at http://savesmithhouse.com.

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Parts of the two-story house are original, while other portions were modernized.

"To file for (National Register) determination doesn't necessarily need the owner's signature, but we'd like it," Sirk said.

He said the residents who want the house saved hope to convince the MMP&W board members that preservation is in their best interest.

"Right now, we're listening to their proposals," Fire Chief Dusty Stoner said.

Sirk said the preservationists don't have a firm plan for what they'd like to see happen to the house, but they don't believe moving it would be the best solution.

"There were a lot of important things that happened there, and you can't move that," he said. "It all comes down to one thing -- keeping the house from being demolished."

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