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Moshannon Building Gifted to Philipsburg Historical Foundation

by and on May 03, 2019 4:45 AM

PHILIPSBURG — The generosity and support of the late Walter M. Swoope Jr. to the Philipsburg Historical Foundation and his beloved community will continue on after it was announced he had willed the Moshannon Building to the community organization.

“Walter Swoope’s vision for a newly resurgent downtown Philipsburg will be greatly enhanced by his generous and thoughtful gift to the Historical Foundation, and we are very grateful for it,” said Susan Allport-Schneider, president of PHF, in a press release.

The building is located at the corner of Front and Pine streets in Philipsburg and currently houses PHF’s museum. Swoope owned the building for more than 20 years, and according to Allport-Schneider, he “has left us a very solid and beautiful structure that is in excellent condition.”

She said Swoope oversaw the restoration of the façade; installed a new roof and new thermal windows throughout; and completely revamped the heating and cooling systems.

“By giving us the building in which our museum of Philipsburg-area history is located, Walter has assured that museum activities can go on uninterrupted,” said Allport-Schneider.

Luther Getter, PHF’s curator, said it was Swoope’s hope that PHF could use the building to generate income for the nonprofit. He said that money, along with donations from Philipsburg Borough, Centre County commissioners and private citizens, will enable the group to maintain the museum and help with upkeep at Philipsburg’s historic sites, including the Old Mud Church (Union Church) and the Simler House.

Allport-Schneider told Centre County Gazette several businesses and organizations lease space in the Moshannon Building, including a barber shop, a tax office, a counseling service, a financial advisor, state Rep. Scott Conklin’s office and Timerland Federal Credit Union.

“We have a space on the first floor available for lease,” she said. “And, there may be some more space available on the third floor.”
Gette said there is interest in the openings.

“We have been talking with several potential tenants and hope to be able to announce within a short time that additional space in the building has been leased,” said Gette.

Allport-Schneider said with the income generated from the building and a sizeable cash donation from Swoope’s estate, the group can also tackle other historic and preservation projects that need to be done.

“For example, we would like to digitize the Philipsburg Journal from its inception in 1868 down to the present, so that it can be searched by keyword and date, online and for free, by anyone who has a question of historic or genealogical interest,” she said.

The building will be managed by Lisa Bock of Reiter Realty in Philipsburg.

“Lisa has much experience in building management,” said Allport-Schneider. “We’re confident that she will be able to manage the building in the best interests of both the tenants and the PHF, and thus of Philipsburg as a whole. Many thanks to Walter Swoope for his incredibly generous donation and to all our donors over the years. We pledge that we will be doing more and more for the town as time goes by.”


This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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