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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, July 4, 2012, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 7/3/18

Restored glory: Stone house returns to serve future families

The stone house at South Wood and Ann streets was a labor of love.

It was built in 1959 by a mason named Ed Baumbach, who hauled …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, July 4, 2012, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted

Restored glory: Stone house returns to serve future families

The stone house at South Wood and Ann streets was a labor of love.

It was built in 1959 by a mason named Ed Baumbach, who hauled stone from the Round Top quarry in Londonderry Township by a wooden wagon and cut it by hand. The two-story building was meant to be a doctor’s office, though it never served that purpose. Baumbach was so proud of his work that he etched his name in one of the stones in the chimney.

Lately, it sat abandoned, its ragged roof covered by tarps, its rain-ravaged main floor on the verge of collapse.

Then it was obtained by the Tri-County Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit that uses private and government contributions to renovate tumbledown houses for low-income residents to buy. Using its funds, including $170,000 in federal funds given through a Dauphin County housing program, it renovated the stone house, hoping it would become someone’s first home.

Officials cut the ribbon on the restored home on Tuesday, June 26, showing off the work that construction crews had done and officially putting it up for sale. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a working fireplace and lots of long, deep closets in the second-floor bedrooms.

“I don’t call it a house with closets — I call it closets with a house,’’ quipped Robb Keith, president of Tri-County’s board of directors.

The asking price is $99,900. It already is under contract to be sold to a would-be buyer.

Library funding cut from budget

Middletown Borough Council has cut the Middletown Public Library from its 2013 budget, the first step in making the facility self-sufficient, councilors said.

The library should live off its endowments and contributions from patrons, businesses and neighboring municipalities, whose residents make up more than half of those who use the facility, said council President Christopher McNamara.

Council plans to ask Dauphin County and Middletown’s neighbors ­— Royalton, Lower Swatara Township and Londonderry Township — for help in funding the library, a fixture since 1926.

The library has $375,000 in endowments saved in various bank accounts, money from the sale of old books and the wills of grateful patrons. It’s unclear how much of that can legally be used to fund the library’s operations — salaries, heat and electricity, for example – since some of the money was donated for specific purposes, such as books or reading programs for kids. “It’s my understanding that there are parts of the money that don’t have a restriction,’’ said Chris Courogen, borough secretary and director of communications.

The library costs the borough about $240,000 a year, according to Middletown’s budget, though councilors estimated that it actually costs about $358,000.

Councilors vowed that the library would remain open despite the cut in funding.

Headlines from the edition

• Borough hall gets a little tender loving care

• Woman charged with falsifying documents

• Former councilor dies in accident

• Injuries, losses mount for hard-luck Post 594

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