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House History

  • The F. W. Knox Villa is an italiante home located on Main Street in the small town of Coudersport, Pennsylvania. The over 5,000 square foot home, is located along the Allegheny River. 
  • Construction began in 1878 and was completed in May of 1880, only a few weeks before a fire swept through the town. 
  • The home was built for Franklin W. Knox, a prominent local lawyer, businessman and president of the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad. After seeing a similar style home in Pittsburgh, he decided to have one built in a similar fashion. Plans for the house were drawn up by Co:operative Building Plan Association Architects in New York City. Sourcing a variety of wood species all from the surrounding forests of Potter County, he was able to make his dream home a reality. The species incorporated included maple, cherry, black birch, pine, oak, hemlock, chestnut and butternut. The cost of construction was estimated to be around $10,000. 
  • F. W. Knox Villa lived in the house for about 10 years before moving South due to poor health. After his death in November 1891, the house passed to his children Franklin Dickenson Knox, his wife Mildred Knox, Katherine Knox Covey and her husband James Covey. 
  • On November 10, 1905 the property was purchased by Thomas J. Lawler and Sara Lawler for $8,000. During this time the Lawler's replaced the gas lights with electricity. 
  • On January 18th, 1928 the property was transferred from the Lawler's to Howard Schutt, Willard Schutt and Hollingsworth Pett. This is the era when the house got the title "Old Hickory". The new owners were fond of the former Old Hickory Tavern that was once located at East and Second streets in Coudersport and adopted its moniker for their new business venture. During the Great Depression business at the tavern which was well known for its food, slowed down. During this time Howard Schutt and Hollowinsworth Pett relcoated, while Willard Schutt stayed behind to operate the business. During this time Willard added a bar to the building, which opened in the Spring of 1935. Eventually the Petts returned to run the business with a focus on food. 
  • In 1940 Ivy F. Jenkins purchased the property followed by a string of additional owners (additional info to follow).
  • In 1987 the house was purchased by John Rigas, the founder of Adelphia Communications. The property was to be renovated and expanded for use by visiting employees. 
  • Overtime, the house eventually fell into what many would call a state of disrepair. Seeing a hidden treasure rather than a dying relic of the past, we became the newest owners of the property in the late summer of 2016. 


  1. I love the story and I'm so glad you're bringing her back to life! And once again I absolutely love the staircase!❤

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I can't understand how anyone couldn't see the beauty in this house no matter what condition it was in.

  3. Thank you for what you are doing and also for the info.


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