The Fallon closed, put up for sale
By LANA MUTHLER and WENDY STIVER
LOCK HAVEN — It could just be the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Fallon Hotel, that historic edifice at 131 E. Water St. in downtown Lock Haven., is closed and for sale.
Built more than 150 years ago, the multi-storied building is not aging gracefully at this time.
However, according to an engineering study commissioned by the City of Lock Haven, it is still structurally sound.
Terry and Delores Mantle of Jersey Shore own the hotel and until just recently, had five tenants in it, plus a bar pitched to Lock Haven University students.
Then the heating system went out in December and the Mantles were forced to close the building while seeking solutions to the problem.
Now the Fallon is listed for sale through Melanie Jackson McLane, realtor for Jackson Real Estate in Jersey Shore.
McLane said of the owners’ decision to sell, “At this stage in their lives, they do not wish to put money into this business or run this business. Their priorities have changed. They have other priorities now.”
Of the $275,000 price tag, McLane said, “It’s a steal. That’s 13 cents per square foot. Where can you find a building for that? It’s a tremendous opportunity for someone who wants to work hard. It’s not an easy business, but it’s a fun business.”
The listing states the Fallon has a restaurant-sized kitchen, dining rooms, hotel rooms, a bar, and an old “speakeasy” bar that is still in place in the basement.
It does not have a working boiler.
The building backs up to the flood protection levee but it is in a ponding area, so flood insurance is required.
The hotel liquor license also is available, but separately from the building.
In its heyday, the Fallon was a grand place.
Even in the late 20th Century, when the hotel rooms had become much less than grand, the building offered a series of restaurants that service clubs used as their meeting place, families rented for banquets, and business people frequented for lunch.
The Fallon’s recent history includes its ownership by Anthony and Gertrude Torsell.
They sold the Fallon to Charles and Hazel Stevenson in 1988.
After Mr. Stevenson’s death, his widow sold the building to the Mantles for $104,000 in 1997.
The Mantles, its seems, have done what they could to continue to meet code regulations, and the building is not in violation, reports Cyndi Walker, the city’s code and zoning officer. At least it wasn’t, she said, until the boiler went out and forced the Mantles to close the Fallon to the public.
The Mantles did not return an email by press time.
HISTORY OF THE FALLON
The book “Lock Haven, 1833-1983” offers the following information, from John P. Wynne’s “History of the Fallon Hotel”:
The Fallon, built in 1855 with Queen of Spain Maria Christina’s money garnered from a $5 million sale of land in Florida, dates from that time in Europe when more than one monarch quietly prepared to find refuge in American should revolution crash down upon his or her throne. Maria Christina looked to Clinton County, through her agents, John and Christopher Fallon, natives of Cadiz, Spain.
They built her a Mansion House in Farrandsville, and in Lock Haven, what they called the Fallon House.
The four-story mansion for the queen was never used by her and has long since disappeared. Only the lock from the main doorway, made in Boston in 1845, remains… a valued historical item of the Clinton County Historical Society.
The hotel was fitted elaborately with mirrors, hangings, furniture and other equipment bought in Philadelphia and shipped by canal boat. Four stories high, built of brick with a frontage of 100 feet on East Water Street… it was seven miles downstream from the mansion.
On the first floor, there was an area for pool tables, and a bar and restaurant in the larger room in the rear. The bar originally had been in the cellar under the lobby. The bar was of beautifully hand-carved mahogany.
In 1874, John W. Smith, prosperous lumberman and mayor of Lock Haven, purchased the hotel.
A new section was added in 1900… and an extension in 1946.
In 1889, the year of the great June flood, an advertisement said of the Fallon…. “72 elegantly furnished sleeping rooms. Genuine home comfort combined with elegance. Rates $2 per day. Furnished throughout with electric call bells. Sample rooms for commercial travelers. A host of obliging and intelligent servants, careful of the wants of guests. A handsomely furnished cafe attached with separate dining rooms. The Fallon needs no commendation of its friend and patrons. Conveyances to and from all trains.”
CORRECTION: The Fallon Hotel in Lock Haven is up for sale, for $275,000. This is $7.27 per square foot, according to the realtor, Melanie McLane. An incorrect figure per square foot was printed recently.