A part of Adamstown’s past on sale block Aug. 19

By on July 26, 2017
The posts, woodwork, doors are most original. Shutters were added later and slightly cover the date stone. Remnants of white paint are found on the frame of the side porch. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

The posts, woodwork, doors are most original. Shutters were added later and slightly cover the date stone. Remnants of white paint are found on the frame of the side porch. Photo by Michele Walter Fry

A well-located property at which Adamstown residents see little activity will be auctioned Saturday, Aug. 19.

Sonny’s Country Store Antiques sits at the intersection of Routes 272 and 897. It may not be busy now, but it’s a ghost of Adamstown’s bustling past, starting in 1851 when the building was built.

“If you look at the front of it, you’ll see it has two front doors,” said Jennifer, who is the daughter of the owners, Sonny and Mary Hartman. “The one on the right entered a living room, and the one on the left entered the general store.”

Mabel Graeff operated the then Graeff’s General Store, and was assistant postmaster until 1930 at the property which also tripled as a post office for the town of Swartzville. The town still exists but many ignore the name and refer to it as Adamstown.

“The woman (Mabel Graeff) who my parents bought it from lived there and had never been anywhere overnight except to go to the hospital right before she couldn’t live alone anymore,” said Jennifer.

In an old executor’s sale notice, the store is was noted to be “One of the best store stands in the northeastern part of Lancaster County.”

In the Journal of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley, 1987, Graeff said that customers came in horse and buggy or walked miles to the store.

“Some came at 5 a.m. with butter in baskets so it wouldn’t melt,” wrote Graeff.

Graeff wrote a story which explains why there are holes in the front door.

“We had a hole upstairs where we could look down to watch if someone was stealing or trying to break in,” wrote Graeff. “A robber was drilling a hole in the door and when the neighbor came around with a lantern, the robber shot at him and jumped over the banister and ran off. The hole is there, yet.”

The outside of the building keeps most of its original features.

Hess Auction group will start with antiques and collectibles at 8:30 a.m. with real estate at noon.

Three auctioneers will be working simultaneously, auctioning spool cabinets, counters, decorative trade signs, country store-related furniture items, primitive items including wooden advertising boxes and farm-related smalls, tools, cast-iron items, troughs, stoves, and pans.

Shady Maple will be at the auction serving food.

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