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Ligonier home tour features everything from estates to apartments

Shirley McMarlin
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Courtesy of Penguin Court
The Brandywine Conservancy’s Penguin Court Preserve in Ligonier Township is among seven sites on the 15th annual Inside Ligonier Valley — A Home Tour, scheduled for June 22.

The most intriguing stop on the 15th annual Inside Ligonier Valley — A Home Tour might not be a house at all.

Among the seven featured properties on the June 22 tour is Penguin Court, the 923-acre former estate of the family of the late Tribune-Review publisher Richard M. Scaife.

In his will, Scaife bequeathed the property to the Brandywine Conservancy, based in Chadds Ford, Delaware County.

Tour-goers will have to imagine the stately 50-room, English-style mansion that once stood on the Laughlintown-area site — along with the 10 African penguins that waddled the grounds during the 1940s and suggested the property’s name.

What they will see is a 3,700-square-foot greenhouse from the 1950s which still remains, along with statuary, the courtyard, a few balustrades and the footprint of the spring-fed swimming pool, which will become a garden.

Designed by Lord & Burnham of Irvington, New York, and constructed in 1956-1958, the greenhouse that once grew flowers “for the Scaife family and their properties is now used to propagate over 50 species of native plants, including trees, shrubs, and perennials,” according to the Brandywine website.

Classics and contemporaries

All properties featured on the self-driving tour are within about 3 miles of the Ligonier Diamond, says chairwoman Yvonne Stack.

According to the tour brochure, participants also will see:

• Stonewood, a “classic Ligonier Valley country place nestled in fox hunting country that provides a blissful haven for the owners, their dogs and horses. The two-story, 1947 stone home features an eclectic collection of one-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted hardwood floors. The adjoining swimming pool and outdoor patio offer panoramic views of the pastoral countryside.”

• A stunning villa-style home that “embodies the Tuscan style of life, food, nature and people. Located in horse country surrounded by farmland, the home offers a contemporary interior with a gourmet kitchen that any cook would enjoy preparing a meal or entertaining in. The owners’ unique metal sculptures found throughout the house and on the grounds add to the Tuscan vibe.”

• A large brick colonial home “with magnificent landscaping (and an) in-ground pool complete with a cascading waterfall, fire pit and tranquil back yard. The home’s lovely interior features hardwood floors and fireplaces in both the kitchen and living room. The powder room’s wallpaper reflects the family’s love of horses and fox hunting.”

• An industrial-style ranch reflecting “some of nation’s hottest and most popular decorating trends … this home embodies that look from top to bottom. This ranch has been transformed to a chic and sleek modern home with enormous plate glass windows and a stunning contemporary kitchen. Bucolic views of the countryside, along with pretty gardens and a delightful pond, unexpectedly surround this modern home.”

• A retreat for members of an extended family, re-purposed from a “former gristmill built in 1798, moved from Jones Mills, and lovingly reconstructed in Ligonier Township along Two Mile Run… The massive three-story post-and-beam timber home sits on its original sandstone foundation and features the original 1,800-pound grinding wheel and 3,000-pound main waterwheel gear from its days as a working gristmill.”

• One of Ligonier’s many charming Victorian homes: “Overlooking the scenic and tranquil Mellon Park, this Victorian features a charming second-floor apartment where period details have been preserved, from the wood floors and trim to the colors of paint.”

Tour details

Tour hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with last home entry at 3:15 p.m. Organizers note that tour-goers should be aware that some properties include steps.

A ticket is $30.

Reservations can be made by calling 724-879-4241 or online at ligonierhometour.org. On tour day, those with reservations will pick up their tour booklets outside of Citizens Bank, at 121 E. Main St. on the Ligonier Diamond.

Tickets also will be sold there that morning from 10 a.m. until noon.

Proceeds benefit the Compass Inn Museum and Lincoln Highway Experience.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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