After nearly four decades of disrepair — and four years of hard work — a prominent Windber mansion has been restored.
The "John Lochrie House" at 603 5th St. has undergone extensive renovations, including the replacement of the roof, wiring and 62 of the building's 79 windows, owner Scott Penrod said. He is planning to host an open house at this red-bricked, limestone-pillared mansion during the community's annual Miners' Memorial Day Festival this weekend.
"I like keeping some of the old," he said, adding that he modernized the home to make it a more reasonable and energy efficient place to live.
Penrod said the home was built in approximately 1902. He intends to put the historic building on the market next month.
The building's namesake was born in Scotland and immigrated to America in the late 1800s. He worked for years in the coal industry, eventually becoming a superintendent with the Berwind-White Coal Mining Co.
According to Ann Lattinville and Adam Arvidson of Windber Landmarks Committee Tour Development, Lochrie went on to form the Rummel Coal Co. in 1908. He opened several mines near Central City under the name of the Reitz Coal Co.
The 3,800-square-foot home is listed as a part of the "Walking of Historic Windber" tour promoted by visitjohnstownpa.com.
Penrod said the mansion had nine bedrooms and only one and a half bathrooms when he bought it. This has been balanced out — there are now five bedrooms and four bathrooms.
He added that he has been working for an average of 25 hours per week to finish the renovations. His efforts included tearing out nine overgrown trees, broken segments of sidewalk and a ruined patio.
"It hadn't been touched in over 40 years," said Penrod, who, like Lochrie, is a well-known Windber businessman. Penrod is owner of the Windber Hotel bar and restaurant, and is a candidate for town mayor in the November election.
He said he became aware of the home several years ago because his business partner lived across the street from it.
"This was one of the more prominent homes in Windber in its day," he said. "It'll hold up with the better homes of today."
Besides the major renovations, Penrod also recycled some of the stained glass from old windows to create new kitchen light fixtures and — in an almost heretical move for a coal town landmark — replaced the coal furnace with gas.
"The foundation is one of the best I've ever seen," he said of the mansion. "This home is built like a fortress."
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