You take care of the house, you take care of the supply, you take care of the septic tank. Mother Nature took care of the rest.
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The story of the most famous home in Pennsylvania began when Pittsburgh department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann took star architect Frank Lloyd Wright on a tour of the property in Bear Run where he wanted Wright to design a home for his family.
Wright asked Kaufmann what her favorite spot on the property was. Kaufmann showed him a clearing next to a waterfall, where they liked to picnic and watch the stream.
Wright immediately dropped the merchant’s house onto the waterfall. And the rest is history.
I am not suggesting that you even try to duplicate Fallingwater on this Bear Creek property for sale. But if you’re looking for a unique piece of land to build your own vacation spot on, you’ve come to the right place.
And to be fair, its current owner wouldn’t mind if you tried to get Wright on this lot.
“I would hope that if someone were to build there, they wouldn’t add as many houses as possible to it,” says Victor Juliano. (At least in theory, local zoning would allow you to build up to five houses on that lot if you found the space.) “I always thought of a Frank Lloyd Wright house type.”
This lot certainly has the Wright stuff. A tributary of Bear Creek runs through its middle, and in the middle of the passage of that tributary through this property is the 60 foot waterfall that you see on the left and known as Buttermilk Falls. The property is surrounded by nature reserves, which means that one day your retreat will no longer be surrounded by subdivisions.
This lot has been privately owned for more than a century and in Juliano’s family for 80 years. It was put together by a tycoon from northeast Pennsylvania named Albert Lewis. Lewis, whose work as a timekeeper on the Lehigh Valley Railroad impressed founder Asa Packer so much that he blamed Lewis for the first train to run from the Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) railroad junction to White Haven, married into the family who delivered wood to the railroad and finally got into the wood business himself.
What brought Lewis to Bear Creek, however, was ice. In 1895 he built a dam and a company village on the creek half a mile upriver from here, which formed the basis for a successful ice transport business. The company survived his death in 1923 and went out of business for good in 1938. This property was not part of the ice operation but part of the vast swathes of land that Lewis had amassed in Lucerne County. Juliano estimates Lewis owned about 100,000 acres in this rural part of the county at his peak.
Juliano’s grandfather eventually acquired this land from Lewis’ descendants through sheer persistence. If he went camping on the property, Juliano said, he would ask the owners if they would be willing to sell it. “And for years they said no, they weren’t interested in selling it. And once he went up there and they said yes and he bought it. “This would have been sometime around 1940, 17 years after Lewis’ death.
Since then, Juliano’s family has used it as a refuge and campsite. Their own plans to build on the property never came to fruition, and as a result, he says, they became caretakers of the property. And the lot became a kind of community trust. “I met a man who was in his nineties,” he said once in Bear Creek Village. “And he told me that he went there with his father and played in the water. Somebody else told me that they proposed to their wife there. It means a lot to many people. “
Juliano, who now lives in South Jersey, no longer visits this place as he did before, and neither does his relatives. So they decided to put it on the open market for the first time since it was put together by Lewis in the early 20th century. The stories he tells should make you aware that not only are you buying a lot with a beautiful waterfall, but also a piece of Bear Creek Village history. It’s up to you what you want. However, if you do decide to limit access to it while preparing to build your own vacation dream home on it, be aware that you want to respectfully let your neighbors know that you really intend to get it make private.
Although this property is closer to Wilkes-Barre, a 20-minute drive northeast, than on the mountain. Pocono, about 35 minutes east, is still a good place to build a Poconos vacation home, as several ski areas, including Big Boulder, Split Rock, and Camelback, are a 25- to 35-minute drive from here. And this lot is easier to get to from Philadelphia than many other locations in the heart of the Poconos: it’s about a 10-minute drive from the Wilkes-Barre interchange (Exit 115) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension. With state game areas even closer to this property, you can also pursue your hunting needs in season.
Although he would love to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house on this website, Juliano, who is a developer himself, says he would never have chosen Wright to build it himself had he followed this vision: “He just got this made decision and he built what he wanted, ”he says. “He wouldn’t be my ideal architect.”
Given his personality, temperament, and monumental ego, he probably wouldn’t have been yours either, but I suggest that anyone you choose should at least be attuned to the outdoors and the rural surroundings. You are giving that person a spectacular canvas to create a work of art on.
Juliano hopes that anyone who buys it “doesn’t clear the land and put a few modular houses on it”. And he adds, “You don’t want to bet a McMansion on it, you know what I mean?”
I definitely do. And I hope you do too. It will be your country, and you can do whatever you want with it, but whatever you do with it, I think you should at least respect both its history and its surroundings.
THE FINE PRINT
LOT SIZE: 5.05 acres
SALE PRICE: $ 267,500
OTHER THINGS: If you decide to build on this property, you will need to provide your own source of electricity, find a suitable water source, and build your own sewer system as there are no public utilities on this property.
White Haven Rd., Bear Creek, Pa. 18702 [Ben Piccillo | Century 21 Smith Horrigan Group]