New Decade, New Family, Many Thanks

A New Era for the Simon Truby Farmhouse

Dear Apollo Area History Lovers,

Welcome to a new year and a new decade! A century ago, the Roaring 20s reportedly ushered in racy fun and frivolity to the Kiski Valley. Illegal booze freely flowed, and folks were fox-trotting up a storm. Even the ladies at Apollo’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union were having a grand time scolding friends and neighbors for illicit drinking (you can read minutes of their very staid meetings at the Apollo Area Historical Society).

For our new decade, though—the 2020s—I secretly wish it will come to be known as the as the Boring 20s. I’m afraid I’m ready for a little R&R and respite from today’s crazy news cycle—more boring and less roaring is my current motto. I pray for peace and prosperity for all in the 2020s, and I endorse all efforts to love thy neighbor.

In greeting this new decade, I’m happy report that the Simon Truby farmhouse at 708 Terrace Ave in Apollo, PA, is now being lovingly cared for by its new owners, Candis and Edward Boop, who purchased the home from my mom’s estate in September. They intend to love and bring new life to their historic home, much as the many previous owners have. The Boops are the 8th family to have owned the Simon Truby farmhouse since it was first built c. 1844 (here’s an overview of previous owners). Candis and Ed have a 9-month-old son named Carter, who enjoyed his first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations in the historic home. The Boops have graciously agreed to share news about the home and updates they are making in the coming months and years. My sister Cindi and I wish them much happiness as they adjust to their new home and neighborhood.

Before the Truby farmhouse transitioned to its new owners, Cindi and I spent more than a year updating the house and getting it ready for sale. It was gradual and emotional process that depended on the kindness of neighbors and the expertise of contractors and other professionals.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the many businesses and individuals who helped to settle our mom’s estate and get the house ready for market this past year, including the following—we couldn’t have done it without them:

  • Dara K. Bush, real estate agent extraordinaire at Howard Hannah. The house was sold in record-time – with the winning offer accepted after less than a week on the market. Dara really knows the neighborhoods and the markets, and she’s attentive to her clients’ needs and expectations. We highly recommend!
  • Sarah Williams of Williams Estate Services, who squeezed us into her busy summer schedule. She expertly and considerately organized, priced, and sold most of the home’s contents, which had accumulated over a 44-year span. Sarah was efficient, friendly, and practical. We loved hearing from some folks who bought and are enjoying particular items from the house. We’re happy to know these special objects are now appreciated in new homes.
  • Attorney Allan C. Lundberg in Lower Burrell, who efficiently and thoughtfully handled the legal aspects of our mom’s estate, including estate taxes.
  • Tracy Deroin, a trusted financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lower Burrell, who listened to my mom’s needs and expectations and helped set my mom up for a comfortable retirement. Tracy also thoughtfully advised my sister and me regarding estate matters.
  • Andring Tax & Accounting Service at 110 North Plaza in Apollo, who reliably helped with our mom’s income taxes over the years, including her final round of income tax. Phone (724) 478-4382.
  • Carl’s Home Improvements, contractor extraordinaire in Vandergrift, 724-493-7887. Our reliable go-to for multiple repairs and updates, including painting, lock and railing installation, interior and exterior trim, and more.
  • Organized Interiors in Vandergrift, an energetic, thorough, above-and-beyond hauling and cleaning service, owned by Bill and Karen McClarnon, who helped freshen and prepare the home for market.
  • Four Season Landscaping, who removed the remains of 30-year-old rhododendrons, planted new shrubs, and generally spruced up the natural exterior of the house.
  • Charles Paul George and Tom Kerchensky, local contractors who quickly and expertly repaired and painted damaged wood and fascia along the high-up roofline, a final repair needed for the sale. They also left the site spotlessly clean.
  • Dave’s Appliance at 130 Grant Ave in Vandergrift, who swiftly repaired the washing machine before the sale and also provided excellent repairs and sales to our mom over the decades. She trusted him. (724) 568-5005.

In addition, we’re thankful for the following neighbors, who advised or assisted us during a challenging period. Some of these neighbors/families have since moved away—e.g., the Damico, Lander, and Anthony families—but I can picture them and the “old neighborhood” so clearly in my mind.

  • Neighbor Robert Burkett, who kept the lawn mowed and sidewalks shoveled, while keeping a general eye on the house over the past couple of years. Thank you Robert for all your help!
  • Neighbor Zack Hatadis, who reliably helped with painting, yardwork, furniture moving, and other essential miscellania.
  • Special thank you to Becky Damico Bonelli, who offered kind advice, counsel, and encouragement, and who recommended many of the professionals listed above, as Becky had recently sold the family home and settled her parents’ estate after their recent passing. Becky’s parents, Joyce and Raymond Damico, lived for more than 40 years at the beautiful old house at the corner of Terrace and N 9th Mrs. Damico was among the first neighbors who visited my mom when we moved to Apollo in 1975, and the Damicos remained periodically in touch with my mom, especially after she lost her husband in 2002, checking in to see if she needed sidewalks shoveled or other help. Lovely neighbors, lovely family.
    DamicoHouse-2018
    This beautiful home, at 809 Terrace Ave in Apollo, PA, was previously owned by the Damico family. The stately dwelling was built c 1896 by Frank W. Jackson, son of Apollo’s noted Civil War General Samuel Jackson, on property that was once Simon Truby’s farmland.
  • Thank you too to Meg Anthony Yount, who likewise offered empathy and recommendations for contractors, as her family’s home on Terrace Ave was also recently sold—an Anthony family homestead for more than 50 years.
  • Margaret (Peggy) Lander, formerly of Terrace & N 7th Street, later living at the corner of N 8th Street and Armstrong, who used to accompany my mom to Silver Sneakers and extensive walks around the neighborhood – even walking all the way to the Riverside cemetery and back. Mrs. Lander moved away from the area several years ago. She was a dear and much-missed friend to my mom.

Wishing a bright new year and new decade to all.

–Vicki Contie

Coming Up: Miss your chance to purchase a Truby Farmhouse? Guess what – there’s another one currently on the market. Read about it in my next blog post.

PS: Don’t forget to support the wonderful Apollo Area Historical Society, a steadfast defender of our local history.

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