Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Whoopee House" To Be Auctioned

From the Star Ledger:

A house with a past

It looks far too innocent to be nicknamed the "Whoopee House."

There's no sign of the long wooden bar, home to glass after furtive glass of Prohibition-era moonshine, that burned down in 1997. The bold maroon shutters adorning the building's creamy exterior beckon with wholesome flavor, not mischievous intentions. Its parties are decades past last call.

But the echoes of the "Whoopee House" have been revived in recent weeks, as its owners seek to cast their Holland Township property as a piece of history worth bidding for. The speakeasy-turned-guest cottage will be sold at auction Wednesday -- along with the rest of an 18-acre farm -- in an unlikely meeting of authentic charm with current real estate trends.

With their speed and decisiveness, auctions are becoming popular among Hunterdon sellers who want to shed their property quickly and "sell on their terms," said Bob Dann, vice president of operations with Clinton-based Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co.

And for brothers Art and Russell Hitch, co-owners of the 310 Shire Road property, those terms meant more than just finding a buyer to take the family farm off their hands -- they meant finding a buyer without development ambitions, and with respect for the property's past.


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