SCENERY HILL – A Scenery Hill couple rescued an old stagecoach stop from condemnation along the National Road and have extensive restoration plans for the brick house.
Brian and Kathy Allen last month purchased the former Beck-Ringland Tavern, dating to 1800, in Scenery Hill and hugging the nation’s first interstate highway known today as Route 40.
“The chimney was starting to fall,” Brian Allen said Friday, as he and his brother Branden removed the building’s rotting front porch roof in a steady rain.
He said the roof posed a safety hazard and needed to be demolished before crowds arrive in the North Bethlehem Township village for this weekend’s annual National Road Festival.
It’s unlikely the house had a front porch when it was opened as a tavern by James Beck, whose company, Kinkead, Beck & Evans was under federal contract to construct portions of the then-toll road.
Beck sold the two-story building a year later to George Ringland, and it primarily served as a stagehouse for those traveling the road before trains and cars replaced horse-drawn coaches, according to “A Guide to the National Road,” by Karl B. Raitz and George F. Thompson.
The authors noted the house has a “saltbox roofline atypical of the region.” Such buildings have flat fronts and pitched roofs that slope in the rear.
Allen said “our dream for the building is a period eatery” serving casual dining and offering live music.
“We have a masonry company starting this summer to rebuild the open hearth and wall. A new roof will be coming in the spring of next year.”
He said the lack of public sewerage in the town on the National Register of Historic Districts is holding back business opportunities.