A roaring fireplace, colorful light dancing through the stained glass windows and the twinkle of chandeliers greet you as you walk through the door of Thistledown at Seger House – and it could all be yours.
The Ligonier boutique hotel was recently put on the market for $ 1.75 million.
Located just two blocks from the Diamond, the historic eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom estate is within walking distance of many Ligonier attractions, including Fort Ligonier, Ligonier Country Market, and Allegory Gallery. The property also includes a separate storage room which serves as a family suite.
Originally built in 1915 as a family home for Coal Baron John Seger and his three children, Thistledown retains its original woodwork, as well as the specially commissioned Lake Superior red sandstone exterior cladding by Seger and a tiled roof. Ludowici green terracotta tile.
It has six working fireplaces with original tiles from American Encaustic Tiling Co. in Ohio. The property also includes the original dumbwaiter, elevator, up-to-date heating and cooling systems, and restaurant space available for hire.
Michelle and Adam Gardner, a married couple who lived in Ligonier and know Thistledown, have owned the property since 2013.
âWe would always drive by to see the property and think about what a great place it was,â says Michelle Gardner. âWe always used to joke, ‘Oh, if this building goes up for sale, we’re going to buy this place.’ Well, it has been put up for sale.
The Gardners have been patiently waiting to sell the property since it was listed last summer with Pennsylvania Commercial Real Estate Inc.
âWe love the place and we’re in no rush to get rid of it, but if a buyer shows up, we would move forward with the sale,â says Gardner. âThe time seems right to pass the torch. “
The couple bought the estate from Excela Health, which had used the property as a surgical center, after a checkered history.
After John Seger’s death in 1930, his family sold Thistledown to the Allegheny County Sisters of Mercy. It was then transformed into a satellite hospital. Two years after the sale, Helen Newlin McGinnis bought the property and renamed it McGinnis Hospital.
In the late 1980s, Westmoreland Hospital purchased the facility, which became part of Exela Health when the company changed its name in 2004. It remained a surgical center until 2011, when which it was put on the market for $ 600,000 and stayed there for two years.
âWe bought the property for around $ 265,000,â recalls Adam Gardner. “But we took about six times as much to work on the building because almost everything had to be redone.”
The Gardners had no initial plans to convert the building into an inn. After the initial purchase, the couple began emptying out medical supplies and moved Michelle Gardner’s business, Bo Peep Fine Yarns, to the building’s first floor.
However, the couple were unsure of what to do with the rest of the property.
âAfter I bought it, I had a moment of panic,â says Michelle Gardner. âWe were just there thinking, ‘What now? “”
After much discussion, the couple decided to go ahead with converting the property into a hotel.
The renovations would prove difficult because of the useful life of the domain in the medical field. Over the years, as rooms in the building were altered to meet the needs of a surgical center, the property had lost some of its warmth and uniqueness.
The gardeners were particularly keen to maintain the historic integrity of the building, as well as to retain as much of the original structure as possible, throughout the renovations.
Then there was another problem.
âNo local construction company wanted to undertake this [project], explains Michelle Gardner. âWe found a company in Mahaffey called Bloxdorf and they were artisans. They weren’t just builders.
After renovations were completed nine months later, the Gardners say the grandchildren of John Seger, who spent many years in the house in its early days, stopped in for a visit.
âThey were lovely people. They cried because it was so beautiful and they were so happy to see a part of their history, a part of their childhood preserved, ârecalls Michelle Gardner.
For more information and photos from Thistledown to Seger House, visit thistledownligonier.com. The hotel is still in the process of making reservations.