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The sale of the Holly Inn is pending the transfer of a hotel liquor license from the current owner/operator, the Holly Inn Group Inc., to buyers Terry and Kathi Rickert.

“We are working on a contract,” said Marie Hollinger, manager of the inn and president of the partnership that owns the property at 31 S. Baltimore Ave. in Mount Holly Springs.

“At this point, we have to transfer a liquor license,” she said. “The paperwork has been submitted. It’s in process.”

Shawn Kelly, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, said the application to transfer the license has been filed and is working its way through the system.

There is no timetable on how soon an application for a license transfer can be processed and approved, Kelly said. “It depends on the complexity of the application.”

LCB staff members look at a number of factors including the financing and corporate structure of the parties involved in the transfer.

Hollinger is one of six partners who purchased the Holly Inn in late September 2003 for $300,000. The partnership refurbished the inn, which reopened in August 2004 after being vacant for two years.

The partners want to travel more and get involved in other activities, Hollinger said. Terry Rickert has been a regular customer of the Holly Inn along with clients of the Mount Holly Springs Specialty Paper Inc., which he owns, Hollinger said.

“Fortunately, he was interested,” Hollinger said of Rickert. “It seemed like a very positive fit.” She said the Holly Inn was not listed as for sale and the Rickerts were the only ones to express an interest in buying the historic building.

Rickert also owns the Deer Lodge in Mount Holly Springs and the Boiling Springs Tavern in South Middleton Township. He was unavailable for comment on the Holly Inn transaction.

Hollinger was a retired nurse living in Silver Spring, Maryland, when her sister was driving from New York to Hanover for a nephew’s graduation party. The sister missed a turn for Interstate 81 and happened to drive past the Holly Inn.

“She thought it looked kind of charming and she knew I’d wanted to start a bed and breakfast for a while, so she stopped and asked about it,” Hollinger said in a December 2003 Sentinel article.

From there, the sisters joined with other partners to form the Holly Operating Group, which purchased the inn and renovated it.

The stonework suggests the original portion of the Holly Inn was built between 1794 and 1804. Holly Inn has a colorful history.

During the Civil War, an unknown Confederate soldier died there and was buried in the borough’s cemetery. There were conflicting stories as to how he ended up at the inn.

The most prevalent theory is that he became ill in late June 1863 while passing through the area with Gen. Richard Ewell’s troops, who were on their way to Gettysburg. Others theorize the soldier was wounded at Gettysburg and then brought to the inn for treatment.

A boom time for the inn came during the early years of the 20th century when a park with an amusement park, boating on Holly Lake and a dance pavilion in Holly Gap attracted people from as far away as Philadelphia.

Prior to the Hollinger group, Holly Inn was owned by New Oxford residents Demetrios and Connie Touloumes, who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Middle District Court in February 2003.

That action canceled a Cumberland County sheriff’s tax sale planned for March 2003. The sale had been scheduled after Fulton Bank of Lancaster won a $210,000 judgment from county court against the Touloumeses for default on a $200,000 loan they took out in 1996 using the inn as collateral.

The county tried unsuccessfully to sell the Holly Inn at an auction in fall 2002. The Touloumeses put the property up for sale in 1999 and it had been closed since 2001 when the partnership purchased the building.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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Education/History Reporter

History and education reporter for The Sentinel.