The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 9, 2009

Supervisors: Braemar events don’t alter demolition date

CRESSON — Word that Cresson Area Historical Association likely won’t receive a long-hoped-for $150,000 grant to stabilize the Braemar-Jones cottage apparently will have no impact on the extended demolition date set by Cresson Township.

Also expected to have no impact on local officials’ approach to the historic but dilapidated structure is its recent addition to the Risk List published annually by Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide nonprofit agency based in Harrisburg.

The supervisors said at their meeting Wednesday that they plan to stick to the terms of a deadline extension inked in mid-November that set May 15, 2010, as the date when demolition of Braemar must be completed.

“As we sit here, it doesn’t do anything to alter our position,” township Solicitor Gerald Neugebauer said, speaking on behalf of the board. “If they can demonstrate that placement on the Risk List somehow affects us, we’ll listen.”

Obtaining sufficient money to stabilize the

14-room Victorian residence, bringing it out of violation of the township’s nuisance ordinance, seems to be the only way the site will not become a vacant lot.

The association owns the cottage and had been banking on money from the Allegheny Foundation, a Pittsburgh based organization that funds historic preservation, civic development and education.

While the Cresson association has not received formal notification, its application was rejected, according to a report published during the weekend.

Association officials are not commenting.

Braemar at one time was thought to belong to industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Closer study of the structure and the Cresson Springs area, where a number of cottages were owned by well-heeled Pittsburgh residents, showed this one belonged to B.F. Jones of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.

While the building’s condition has deteriorated significantly during the past three decades, a field representative for Preservation Pennsylvania said it remains the best example of residences of the wealthy who visited the area more than 120 years ago.

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