Wyncote builder behind effort to save Avalon treasure

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The developer, Jerry Raffa, plans to demolish the house at 254 Sixth St. and replace it with a two-story, single-family home with a swimming pool. (Image courtesy philly.com)

On Avalon’s northern-most tip, aloof from the borough’s million-dollar mansions, sits a Victorian estimated to have been built in 1895, with a widow’s peak, cupola overlooking the ocean, and stained-glass windows.

Some see the house as one of the last vestiges of the island’s charming past, before investors wiped out much of the beach town’s old character, writes Avalon R. Zoppo for philly.com. 

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Now the house’s fate may be sealed. In October, a developer bought it at auction for around $1.1 million, and a February demolition date looms.

“This is one of the last remaining old homes in Avalon,” said Chris Dean, a 62-year-old deck builder living in Wyncote, Montgomery County, who is leading a last-ditch campaign to salvage the summer home that his parents bought in 1955. In 1996, the couple sold it to a new owner who restored the interior, but who later sent the house into foreclosure.

The developer, Jerry Raffa, plans to demolish the house at 254 Sixth St. and replace it with a two-story, single-family home with a swimming pool. He expects to spend around $800,000 constructing the residence.

Dean’s proposal? He wants the borough to buy the house from Raffa and move it two miles south next to the Avalon History Center, a museum run by the historical society.

Dean presented the idea to the historical society and borough officials this month. He estimates that the move would cost $100,000. Dean said he is drafting a letter to the developer while other residents spread the word.

To read the complete story click here. 

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