BOILING SPRINGS, Pa. (WHTM) – Allenberry Resort Inn and Playhouse goes on the auction block next month after more than 70 years in business.
Charles A.B. Heinze bought the historic property in 1944. It opened in 1946 with the Playhouse starting in 1949. Several well-known actors stepped on the stage, including a 17-year-old John Travolta.
John Heinze and his two siblings decided to sell the property that’s become a fixture in the Cumberland County community.
“The family is rather devastated,” Heinze said. “I turned 81 years old a few days ago and this is what we call a retirement sale.”
Heinze’s brother has health issues and his sister is in her 70s. He was interested in his daughter taking over, but she lives out of state.
“We decided that it was time for us to step aside and have some fresh, young blood come in here and recognize the potential of this marvelous, beautiful property,” he said.
The sale will include the entire 53-acre property and the 22 buildings on it. It includes cottages, shops, the theater, a swimming pool, tennis court, and more than 200 years of history. The auction is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 12.
“I would hope that it continues its personality, whether it’s used as a retreat or it continues as a small country resort,” Heinze said. “We certainly hope that the historic buildings on the property will be emphasized and kept in good condition and that hospitality services would continue. I’d really like to see the theater continue.”
It’s not the final curtain call for the Allenberry Playhouse’s props and furniture. Dickinson College and Messiah College purchased some, and the Carlisle Theatre Company is buying hundreds of items and giving them a second life.
“We thought this would be a great way to keep a lot of the Allenberry history, in terms of theater, around in our area and alive in our area so that we have this collection that other theaters can still come and borrow from us and use. Every time we’re using one of those props or set pieces, it’s a little piece of Allenberry,” said Dustin LeBlanc, executive artistic director at the Carlisle Theatre.
The pieces leaving Allenberry affect the community. Heinze says he’s gotten thousands of calls. He got a handwritten card that reads, in part, “We will always have and cherish our memories of our stays at the beautiful, wonderful Allenberry on the Yellow Breeches.”
LeBlanc worked as a waiter and actor at Allenberry and is sad to see it go.
“It really just affected a lot of people,” he said. “It’s been some great theater for a lot of years, so it will be missed.”
Allenberry Resort and Inn will operate until the auction and will be open for a few more weeks after the sale. The Playhouse has already closed.
“I just hope that somebody comes that will continue to keep property accessible to the public and keep the keep the type of atmosphere that’s been created over the last 70 years,” Heinze said.
The Carlisle Theatre needs volunteers to help move furniture and props at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 25. They posted the following message on their Facebook page:
“CALLING ALL HELP!
As many of you know, Allenberry Playhouse has closed and the property will be going up to auction. In an effort to keep as much of the theatre local, CTC has acquired all of Allenberry’s props and furniture pieces, as well as some other miscellaneous items.
However, the timeline to get everything is VERY short, given inspections required before their auction and such.
We will be removing items from the prop loft this Saturday, June 25 beginning at 9:00 AM. We are asking that anyone who is available please consider helping us out for a few hours so that this process can go as quickly as possible. We will meet at Allenberry Playhouse (1559 Boiling Springs Road, Boiling Springs, PA). Make sure you go in the correct entrance (it’s a one way travel path) and keep circling around to the right until you go past the playhouse. Park anywhere along the sides there, and head to the big brown building just behind the playhouse itself.
You do NOT need to be able to lift heavy items to participate. We will be unloading the materials and then sorting them into trucks either for keep or for disposal. We also ask that people bring flashlights if you have them, as electricity is off and limited in the space.
We greatly, greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to offer some time this Saturday morning. This stock will be greatly beneficial to CTC, and we can’t do it without your efforts. If you can’t arrive right at 9, that is fine – we’ll take what we can get! Following removal, we’ll head back to the Theatre to deliver the stock.
Thank you in advance for your consideration, and we truly hope to see many of you on Saturday morning!”