Rain fails to dampen bidders’ memories at Ligonier Beach auction

Although constant rain fell on Saturday morning as Jason Anthony, a native of Hempfield, piled box after box of stainless steel cookware and serving trays in the bed of his van at the pool and resort complex. Ligonier Beach restaurants, no longer available today.

Still, he managed to smile.

Anthony, 51, smiled as he recalled the “hours and hours of quality time” and fun he experienced during the summers of his youth at the recreational landmark of Route 30 in Ligonier Township.

“I came here a lot when I was growing up – and I mean a lot, Anthony said. “I had a lot of fun here.”

Anthony and his wife, Krystene, who reside in Central City, Somerset County, joined a few dozen other memorabilia and treasure hunters at a public auction.

The township has held the auction as it prepares to demolish two structures on the property and take the next step towards site revitalization, township supervisor John Beaufort said.

Bidders have found a mixed bag

The rain and the lack of potential memorabilia available in the pool did not deter the Anthonys’ participation in the tender.

“I was hoping to buy some souvenirs, but there really weren’t as many as I had hoped,” Jason said.

However, the Anthonys are in the process of opening a restaurant, Hank’s Diner, along Route 30 in Reels Corner, Somerset County. There were boxes and boxes of crockery, glasses, stainless steel pots and pans, serving platters, coffeemakers and other kitchen utensils auctioned by Unity auctioneer Mark Ferry.

“We have completely changed our plans,” Krystene said. “We decided to buy pots, pans and serving platters that we can use in our restaurant instead. We bought a lot of kitchen utensils which were really cheap.

Toni DeBastiani, 21, a senior at Saint Vincent College, Lewes, Del., Was looking to purchase memorabilia from the monument at her mother’s request.

“My mom, Bobbie, grew up in Swissvale and told me she spent a lot of weekends here growing up,” DeBastiani said. “She called and asked me to come upstairs to see if I could get her something to remember it”,

It was also a learning experience, she says.

“I’ve never been to an auction before,” she laughed.

An hour after the auction began at 10 a.m., DeBastiani had purchased “Ligonier Beach” plastic cookie cutters and crisps bearing the monument’s name.

Julie Donovan, a volunteer with the Friends of Ligonier Beach nonprofit, who worked with the municipality on recreation site redevelopment plans, volunteered at a food concession during the auction. She briefly ran away to bid on a souvenir from the heyday of the pool restaurant: a postcard photograph that was discovered in the restaurant’s attic.

While the postcard probably sold for a penny or two when it was produced decades ago, Donovan got the vintage postcard with a winning bid of $ 20.

“I was thrilled to get it,” Donovan said.

In addition to the cooking utensils, there were framed prints, beer advertisements, tables, chairs, a deli cutter, old rescue floats, and a backboard used in pool emergencies. Some 800 square feet of knotty pine panels that lined the restaurant’s walls for decades were also auctioned off.

Beaufort, who used to hitchhike in the 1960s from his Waterford home to the pool for many weekends, said the township planned to solicit bids soon to demolish the old pool house and restaurant buildings.

“We hope this will be done before the end of the year,” he said.

“This is just the next step in the process,” Beaufort said. “It’s a process completely open to the public from the start.”

He pointed out that supervisors were impressed with the public support shown by the volunteers who showed up over the summer for three days of volunteer clean-up where weeds were pulled out, brushes removed and coats of paint scraped off. the swimming pool.

Featuring a 1.3 million gallon pool, Ligonier Beach operated from 1925 to 2017.

The township purchased the property in 2019 for $ 230,000. The site did not open the previous summer season, in part due to flood damage to the pool pump and restaurant furnace.

It’s the next indecisive use

Beaufort said supervisors have agreed to a concept plan for the site, submitted by the Friends group, but nothing is finalized.

“We’re looking for something we could do with this property to help businesses and attract more people, an attraction for the township,” he said.

The concept plan includes the reallocation of the pool.

Beaufort said all money raised from the auction will go towards the project. Township funding previously received for the site includes $ 250,000 from the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation and two state grants totaling $ 178,500.

Other proposals for the site include a jetty that could be used for fishing on Loyalhanna Creek, a connection to the Ligonier Valley hiking and biking trail, a garden for pollinators, a permeable parking area, a new restaurant / building for special events and a new bath / bath / ecosystem education center.

Beaufort said the township plans to keep three pavilions on the property, as well as a historic stone bathhouse along the highway. There is also a stone archway and the basement of the pool filtration building.

Paul Peirce is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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