Apple dumpling sale benefits Keath House restoration

By on September 20, 2017

Saved from the wrecking ball and moved to its current location along East High Street in Manheim in 1995, the Keath House is believed to date to the founding of the town by Henry William Stiegel in 1762. That would make the log home the oldest building in Manheim.

Its owner, the Manheim Historical Society, is holding an apple dumpling sale to help fund the second phase of a restoration project. Pat Houck, chair of the fundraiser, said the homemade apple dumplings fit well with the fall season.

“We thought this might be something people would enjoy,” she said.

They’re being sold for $3 each. Orders may be placed through Saturday, Sept. 30, via email:; or by calling Houck at 717-665-2254.

Apple dumplings will be available for pickup from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Keath House. Payment may be made that day. It should be in the form of check or cash; credit cards cannot be accepted.

“We wanted to give people an opportunity to see what they’re helping to fund,” Houck said. “We do hold open houses at the Keath and (adjacent) Fasig houses over the summer, but we wanted to provide an additional chance to see the Keath House.”

The restoration project began in the spring of 2015. Kay Hetrich, who helped coordinate the effort, explained the importance preserving the log home.

“The Keath House is typical of the log homes built in this period by ordinary people,” Hetrich said. “Many of the homes were small, and the people that lived in them eventually built other houses. The log homes were either left to decay or were demolished; very few of them remain in our state.” Editor’s note: Unfortunately, Hetrich passed away on Sept. 17. Her obituary can be found here.

The first phase of restoration on the 19 foot by 24 foot log home was completed in the fall at a cost of over $100,000. Restore ‘N More, a Manheim-based restoration company, served as general contractor, and some of the work was done by historical society volunteers.

An apple dumpling sale is underway. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Keath House, Manheim’s oldest building.

Work completed in the first phase includes:

  • Constructing a stone fireplace and brick chimney and hearth;
  • Installing brick flooring has been installed in the kitchen area surrounding the fireplace;
  • Installing antique white pine flooring has been installed in the stove room and sleeping room;
  • Reconstructing the wall that would have been between the two areas;
  • Cleaning and repairing the exposed logs on the interior of the first floor as needed;
  • Replacing the chinking between the logs where needed;
  • Constructing a stairway to the upper level sleeping loft; and
  • Installing climate control and security systems.

The restoration project was one of the recipients of the C. Emlen Urban Award in November 2016. Presented by the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, the award recognizes projects that not only gives new life to a historic building, but also boosts the character of the neighborhood.

The apple dumpling sale will help fund the next phase of this effort. Historical society treasurer Tony Greiner said a fundraising campaign kicked off in August to raise the estimated $25,000 to $30,000 for the next phase.

Restoration efforts will center on removing the existing hood covering the front stoop and replacing it with one that’s more historically accurate; removing the clapboard siding on the west wall and replacing it with siding that matches the rest of the exterior; painting the interior walls and windowsills with buttermilk paint; and installing an ADA-compliant access at the rear entry.

The work will begin later this month. Greiner said it will be done by volunteers under the supervision of Gary Baer of Restore ‘N More.

For further information about the Keath House restoration project, contact the Manheim Historical Society at 717-665-7989.

Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation to the renovation project may send it to Manheim Historical Society, P.O. Box 396, Manheim, PA 17545, attention: Keath House Renovation.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

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