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Pennsylvania's Historic Cornwall Inn, Dating Back to the American Revolution,
Going on the Auction Block

By Andrea Gillhoolley, Lebanon Daily News, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 13, 2013--The historic Cornwall Inn that that dates back to the American Revolution and was restored more than a decade ago will be hitting the auction block in June.

Fortna Auctioneers and Marketing Group of Annville will conduct the auction of the bed and breakfast at 6 p.m. June 27 at the 50 Burd Coleman Road property in Cornwall.

The inn was built in the late 1700s by iron baron and tycoon Robert Coleman, who also owned the Cornwall Iron Furnace located nearby on Rexmont Road.

Michael Fortna, president of the Annville firm, said he expects a good turnout based on prior experience auctioning other historic properties such as the Fairfield Inn in Gettysburg and the Londonderry Inn in Campbelltown.

"It's very important for us

to do our due diligence and research on the history of the property," Fortna said. "We're not just selling real estate. We're also selling the income-producing factor, and more importantly, the history behind the property. It's a combination of the property itself and the value of the land."

The biggest challenge in auctioning a historic property is determining where the market is, researching and compiling details of the property.

During its history the property served as a U.S. Post Office, train station and depot, general store and jailhouse for the Cornwall Iron Furnace and surrounding area.

The original iron trestle bridge that served America's expansion sits above the property.

When owner Lynee Porter and staff took

over the property in 1999, the property was uncared for and in disarray for decades, Porter said. They performed extensive renovations, gutting the inn and designing an elaborate garden, and opened the bed and breakfast in 2001. The property is also used for weddings, corporate gatherings and special events.

Porter said upkeep of the property has been difficult due to an accident and slow recovery when she slipped on ice two years ago. Porter, who has an art degree, redesigned three of her own homes before taking on her biggest challenge. When asked why she bought it, she joked it was "insanity" that drove to her do it, but she saw its potential.

"I don't see anything the way it is, I see what it could be within certain limits," she said. "I felt like the bones of the structure were solid." She described her design as the reverse of the old saying "function dictates form."

"Form dictates function," she said. "I'll figure out what it will be afterward."

The inn has big, open spaces, five individually created suits and some of the artistic features include stained glass windows, tree trunks converted into bedposts, and a door from the home of president James Buchannan, according to a news release.

For more information on the auction, contact Fortna Auctioneers at (855) 831-4242 or Cornwall Inn at 306-6178.


(c)2013 the Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pa.)

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