Harrisburg riverfront mansion reopens as bed and breakfast

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – People were able to gaze at the transformation of the former Mary K. Mansions after 14 months of renovations.

A few dozen people packed the front lawn of the newly opened Manor on Front Street bed and breakfast as the city dedicated the project with a proclamation.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who lives in the neighborhood, recalled a time when condominiums on the properties were in the works.

“There was a movement to demolish these buildings,” he said. “In fact, it looked bleak.”

Two of the homes, now owned by Mike and Sally Jo Wilson, were vacant for nearly a decade. The Wilsons purchased the homes at auction in April 2014.

“We are thrilled they were saved,” said Papenfuse, who compared the renovations to the city’s financial recovery.

A swipe of the scissors ceremoniously opened the doors of the home built in the early 1920s.

ABC 27 took a tour of the homes in 2013. Much of the plaster was brittle and falling onto the floor. Holes in the roof created severe water damage and the indoor pool was infested with pests, mold and mildew.

The outdoor space was overgrown and the stonework was covered in ivy. After 14 months of hard work and countless hours, Wilson said the look of astonishment on people’s faces was quite a memory.

“It’s awesome,” he said “I’m so glad we’re able to share this whole place with everybody.”

The rustic stone abode has been polished into a premier destination, according to Papenfuse.

“It’s an incredible transformation,” he said “It’s an amazing commitment of private capital by two individuals that love these homes and recognize the potential.”

People were able to gaze upon the seven bedrooms, all dripping with elegance. Wilson said he drove a cumulative 10,000 miles to procure furniture for the home in order to create a timeless feel.

The main living area is graceful while the study is wrapped in cozy warmth. The once pitiful pool has become a banquet hall dressed in alabaster marble. The Wilson’s feared the pool would become more of a liability, so they made the tough decision to fill it permanently in the near future.

The bedrooms are named after prior homeowners. The upstairs Hull Suites A and B overlook the Susquehanna River.

While Papenfuse acknowledges mistakes were made in the process of clearing out brush on the riverbank, he said he could not deny the fact the water is even more beautiful with nature’s curtains pulled back.

Wilson said the rooms range between $150 to $210 a night. The Manor on Front Street plans to be available for events including weddings.

Wilson, a contractor by trade, said the project ranks among his favorite.

“The most enjoyable,” he said with a laugh.

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