In the name of progress
MUNCY – Upsetting was how George Deffenbaugh felt after he saw the front of his property that he and his family cultivated since 1949 was uprooted for a new water and sewer line that was started this week on John Brady Drive in Muncy Township.
During the 61 years while George and his wife lived there, they established a stunning display of floral gardens on the ten acre property that spanned the front of a rather large Victorian Home. The home was originally built in 1896 by the DeWald family who owned it until 1948, and used the land primarily for farming.
Later it became a “Tourist Home” during the 50’s and 60’s explained Deffenbaugh who used to teach history and economics at Williamsport High School. “It was the custom before hotels and motels were built for travelers to stay in tourist homes,” he said. It was known as the Rose Marie Tourist Home named after the sisters of William DeWald who took in travelers for $3 a night.
George and his family built a nursery filled with rhododendron and azaleas and the display gardens were a welcome to weary travelers. His wife, Helen is from Muncy and is the daughter of the late Donald and Esther Lupold. They owned the home before George and Helen, and the floral gardens became part of the Tourist Home. The on-site nursery sold azaleas and rhododendrons from 1960 to 1975 and was significantly known to many Muncy residents as the Floral Gardens.
In June 2010 the home was sold to Jim Lazorka from Muncy, and George and his wife moved into a small ranch that was built next to the home in 1962. It was first built as a cottage to serve meals to guests and organizations, but now the retired couple have downsized and moved into the adjoining ranch which they will lease from the new owner.
The large home now occupies two apartments. The new owner, Jim Lazorka plans on moving his boiler maintenance business currently on Rt. 220 to the new location on John Brady Drive.
“We gave the township the right of way to clear the property to put in a water line along the highway up to Yetter Rd in Muncy, ” said Deffenbaugh. “They started Wednesday and Thursday of this week. I’m happy the house will remain standing, but I would like to see the grounds restored to what they were previously,” he said while holding a photo showing pink flowering crab apple trees, yellow forsythia bushes, purple rhododendrons and white fringe trees.