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Demolition of Buck Hill Inn

Source: Pocono Record

Major demolition work at the old Inn at Buck Hill Falls is scheduled to begin next month.

However, just like obtaining any details surrounding the ultimate fate of the former landmark, getting specific information about the scheduled work has proved nearly impossible.

“What I know is that the Buck Hill Falls Company is knocking down property there,” said Barrett Township Supervisor and Roadmaster John Seese, who noted that the township doesn’t have anything to do with the demolition work.

Several messages left for Buck Hill Falls Company President Michael O’Shea went unreturned.

“We have no comment on this subject as the property in question is not owned by the Buck Hill Falls Company,” Angela Croffut, the resort operations manager at Buck Hill Falls, said in an email.

Dave Chant of Davis R. Chant Realtors, the company that’s held several unsuccessful auctions in an attempt to sell the property, also did not respond to requests for comment.

Attempts to reach the Buck Hill Falls Conservation Foundation also led to a dead end.

However, Conservation Foundation Board President Susan Worth did confirm in the foundation’s newsletter this month that the SRI Demolition Company of Dunmore has been contracted to demolish unspecified structures on the spacious property.

“On June 15, the Demolition Committee met with representatives of SRI who will be doing the demolition,” Worth wrote in the newsletter.

“Immediately following the signing of the demolition contract there will be a community-wide meeting to brief everyone on the demolition process and particulars, as well as the timeline for the work,” she said.

In the newsletter, Worth also noted that work on the Inn project is proceeding “on all fronts.”

A fundraising committee reported that more than 70 percent of Buck Hillers and others have contributed over $2.5 million in donations.

“There are lots of buildings there and it’s pretty run down with deteriorated floors,” Seese said, noting that his understanding is that work would begin in September.

SRI President Charles DeNaples also confirmed that his company would be performing demolition work at the property. He said he’d provide more information about the scope of the work within a week.

Earlier this year, Barrett Township supervisors kicked around the idea of using open space funds to help with demolition.

However, that was met with a firm thumbs down by many, including Supervisor Loree Guthrie.

 

Supervisors had earlier received a letter from the Monroe County Board of Assessment concerning several Buck Hill Falls Company properties.

In April, discussions had centered on the reimbursement of $19,348 to the Buck Hill Falls Company for the tax reassessment for amenities, according to minutes obtained from the supervisors’ March 6 meeting.

“That (using open space money) was brought up by a resident at the previous meeting and (it was) up for discussion,” Pam Gardsy, the township’s executive secretary and treasurer whose responsibilities include coordinating departmental activities and monitoring township expenditures and revenues, said in April.

After three attempts in the past year to auction the Inn at Buck Hill Falls — including earlier this year — the property has remained a ghost town.

The long-abandoned 138-acre property has been the center of attention and controversy over the years with producers at MTV once declaring it haunted.

Chant Realtors have said that many who’ve previously expressed interest in the old Inn had also voiced a desire to do more than just renovate the place.

They’ve previously noted that 50 percent of those who toured the place said they intend to knock it down and start all over. “We’ve had a handful of people who have reached out to some local contractors to restore the building,” Nicole Patrisso of Chant Realtors said in a previous interview.

 

The Inn at Buck Hill has a former hotel and a Donald Ross-designed golf course that sits on the property which opened as the Buck Hill Falls Inn with 18 rooms in 1901.

The owners expanded the property 25 years later and, by the 1980s, Buck Hill Falls grew to contain more than 400 guest rooms, a stone porch, and a spacious lobby.

During the 2014 manhunt for accused cop killer Eric Frein, authorities twice searched the abandoned Inn for the fugitive coming up empty there each time.

Frein, of course, was later captured at an old airport hangar and is awaiting trial for the Sept. 12, 2014 killing of a state police officer and the wounding of another outside the barracks in Blooming Grove.

The old Buck Hill Inn was once named as one of the foremost convention centers in America.

“It would be beautiful if it could ever be brought back to life,” said Bob Kelly of the Kelly Realty Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Stroudsburg. “For instance, the Castle Inn in Delaware Water Gap just proves that it would be beautiful.”

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