Catching Up: Hall Mansion still vacant, up for sale

Silver Spring Township landmark currently listed for $1.25 million.
2009-01-05T00:00:00Z Catching Up: Hall Mansion still vacant, up for saleBy Jason Scott, Sentinel Reporter, January 5, 2009 The Sentinel

Still maybe the most unusual structure in the region, Silver Spring Township’s Hall Mansion remains vacant and available.

With graffiti tattooing its visible exterior, the dilapidated stone house sits unoccupied off Route 114 — its 16-story bell tower looming high above the trees and ominously overlooking Interstate 81.

The mansion is for sale, though, posted on LoopNet, a commercial real estate listing service, with a price tag of $1.25 million. The 16-acre lot is described as “gently sloping land” in the interchange zone, which allows for office, retail, commercial and recreation, according to the listing.

The property is owned by Fred Essis of Essis & Sons Carpet One, who said it was put online to see if it would draw any interest. He declined to comment further. It is being listed by Latus Commercial Realty of Mechanicsburg.

The home was built in segments by businessman John P. Hall from 1969 to 1985. He spent $2 million on it, but never finished it. The house contained indoor racquetball and squash courts, a bomb shelter, 17 fireplaces and a 25-car garage, among other amenities.

Hall declared bankruptcy in 1993 and everything at the site was included in a public auction. The property yielded a bid of $200,000 at that auction, which was rejected as too low.

Ominous history

Perhaps a byproduct of its high visibility, the Hall Mansion generated plenty of attention in the years following the bankruptcy, most of it negative. Once vacated, it became a popular party spot for area teenagers.

In March 1995, Ernest Barr Jr., 22, fell to his death in the tower’s elevator shaft. Police reported that Barr, of Mt. Holly Springs, was with a group of friends and they had been drinking prior to the accident.

One month later, a roaring fire tore through the mansion. The cause of the blaze was never determined.

Except for the criminal mischief, the property has sat pretty quiet since that incident more than 13 years ago.

Copyright 2015 The Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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