Virtual Walking Tour of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
The Talleyrand Park Citizens Committee
Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Stop 26B. John Ardell House
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John R. Ardell Jr. lived in this house at 313 E. Linn St. He was an industrialist of Bellefonte, but was perhaps most noted for his role as the principal lumber baron of the Black Moshannon area. He first acquired warrant tracts at Black Moshannon in 1874, then joined with E. M. Sturdevant in owning and administering a large operation that may have employed 300 men at one time. Ardell had the Starr Mill built at Black Moshannon in 1879, a steam-powered mill with capacity of 4 million board feet a year. He had a large vertically-integrated operation in the Black Moshannon area. He supplied food and draft animals, employed workers, and carried away sawed lumber by wagon down the Julian Pike to the railroad at Julian. There was a linear village along the Julian Pike, at what is now Black Moshannon State Park, for the families of the workers. Ardell may have built and owned the houses. He managed all these operations from this opulent house in Bellefonte. How did he get the payroll to Black Moshannon, and did he use Pinkerton guards to ensure its safety? [text and photo by Ralph Seeley]
The house was built in1883 in Second Empire style, with mansard roof, eave brackets under all rooflines, and a square tower in front. The interior features local hardwoods, including chestnut clapboards, black walnut front door and banister-railing, poplar pocket doors with hand-stippling, and red and white oak floors. Interior and exterior have been restored as a bed-and-breakfast called Our Fair Lady.