Scott Hartman is clear when he speaks about the vacant stone farm house that neighbors the Rutter’s Farm Store on Main Street in Spring Grove.
“If someone wants to come and move it, we would gladly give it to them, free of charge,” said Hartman, Rutter’s president and CEO. “We are talking to someone in the area that might seem interested in moving it.”
About three years ago, Rutter’s bought what is known across York County as the Hoke House, a Georgian-style farm house that dates to the 1730s, according to records on file at the York County Heritage Trust.
“We’ve had a store adjacent to that property for close to 20 years,” Hartman said. “Properties adjacent to your store don’t come up for sale every day. When they do, you have to have a forward vision.”
Rutter’s might expand it current store in Spring Grove one day, but the company has no plans right now for any expansion that would involve the land in which the Hoke House now sits, Hartman said.
“We don’t have anything on the drawing board for the land,” he said. “We don’t have any plans to convert it into any business. But if someone has those plans and wants to come in and remodel and lease it, we would be open to hear the plans.”
The Hoke house, at Route 116 and Roth Church Road, is constructed of York County limestone and was first owned by Thomas Wilson, according to the trust.
Wilson, who acquired the three-story property through a land grant from Thomas and Richard Penn, ran a tavern from inside the house from 1750 to 1767, according to trust records.
Sara Wilson, Thomas Wilson’s widow, had her second husband run the inn/tavern from 1769 to 1778.
The Hoke family took over the residence in 1904, according to trust records.
Later, from 1967 to 1992, the Spring Grove Free Library occupied part of the building.
“When I was a kid, that was the library and there were books everywhere,” said Blake Stough, founder of Preserving York, a community group dedicated to York County history “It was just crammed with books. There were even books stored in the fireplace. It’s historic and a landmark for the whole Spring Grove area.”
While the stones of the building are old, the inside of the house has not been preserved in a way in which the property would be considered historic, Hartman said.
“For the last 20 years of its life, it’s been home to commercial operations,” he said. “It’s interior went through several revisions that would not be deemed historical in any way.”