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Schwab building owner is cited

Published July 16. 2011 09:02AM

At one time the Schwab Building was a shining jewel in Weatherly.

Built by steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, the stately structure was used as a school from its opening in 1903 until 1991.

In 1997, Larry Hallstead, representing Bradd and Hall Associates, of Lynchburg, Va., bought the landmark structure for $40,000 from the Weatherly Area School District.

Hallstead has allegedly let the building deteriorate, according to citations filed against him with District Judge Joseph D. Homanko of Weatherly.

Next Wednesday at 1:15 p.m., Hallstead has a date in front of Homanko to answer 16 summary citations alleging neglect to the building.

Among the areas cited are windows, interior surfaces, stairs and walking surface, roofs, interior doors, weeds, sidewalks and driveway, and porches.

The citations were filed with Homanko on May 27 by Weatherly Borough Manager Harold Pudliner.

When he purchased the building 14 years ago, Hallstead assured local residents that his goal was to get the school on the state register of historic places and that the building's exterior will be preserved.

The building contains a rare Seth Thomas clock tower.

Halstead had also indicated he planned to convert the building into an assisted living home for senior ciitzens.

He told the school officials at the time, according to news coverage of the sale, "Not too much work will be needed on the school. We plan to remove the asphalt to plant grass and trees so it will blend better with the neighborhood. If all goes well, the project should take about a year to complete."

Fourteen years later, it is obvious the assisted living plans never got off the ground.

The 21,000 square foot building was originally constructed by Charles Schwab for his wife, Eurana Dinkey Schwab. Schwab headed Bethlehem Steel, which under him became the second largest steel maker in the United States, and one of the most important heavy manufacturers in the world.

Before Hallstead bought the school at an auction, a Mrs. C. M. Schwab School Revitalization Committee was formed in order to find a buyer to preserve the building.

Hallstead has listed the building for sale. On one Web site listing the property for sale, he states he would trade the building for a "retired cruise ship."

Construction of the school actually began in 1901 and was completed in two years despite a shortage of bricks.

The property has a 22,000 square foot annex that ws built in the 1930s and enlarged in the 1950s. The annex housed the gymnasium.

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