Named as “the most original, unaltered home in Jim Thorpe”, built for the Reverend Webster in 1837, expanded in 1844, this home retains it’s original fittings and woodwork, preserved by nearly 200 years of loving ‘caretakers’. A Bed and Breakfast since 1998, these days The Parsonage is owned and operated by Innkeepers Jeffri Coleman and Michael Rivkin.
Jeffri and Michael returned to Pennsylvania in early 2016, having been captivated by the spirit and opportunity they saw in Jim Thorpe. Jeffri, while a Washington State native, was raised in Mechanicsburg; Michael grew up outside of Philadelphia. The couple met while in culinary school in Hershey, PA in the late 70’s [gasp!], and have lived in numerous other small-Pennsylvania-towns including Stroudsburg, Danville, Williamsport, Mount Joy and Boyertown. So the move back to the area was not naive; in fact very much an educated step having done months of research on the area, it’s demographics, quality of life and business climate.
Both enjoy a lifelong love of historic homes and towns [their previous home was a converted 1900’s barn, and their shop was in the family’s 1866 log cabin]… and so Jim Thorpe was a perfect match. Their ‘landmark’ home has been a labor of love as the couple work to return the property to it’s earlier glory. Step by step work progresses on the structure, the cosmetics and the gardens. They joke “we should be done by 2034!”
Coleman and Rivkin say they have been quite fortunate, having traveled to 65 countries since 1997. And “never came home empty handed”, as witnessed by their collections of art and antiques that are one of the signatures of the Bed and Breakfast. Each room of the large home has its’ own personality . . . from American folk-art and antiques, souvenirs of their international travels, to the historic chandeliers gifted from neighbors also on West Broadway and other early Mauch Chunk memorabilia. Combine this unique aspect of the Inn with Coleman’s culinary prowess [he is the chef of the house] and his passion for locally sourced foods, and you literally have a recipe for success.
The home also possesses a fascinating history . . . From the land being deeded to the Reverend Webster in 1815, to the purchase by the Mauch Chunk School Administration in 1930 – and it’s use as a classroom! The Wells Family [still residing here in town] from 1945 through 1995, and then opening as a B&B in 1998. Each owner leaves their mark, each now an indelible part of the house— and of Mauck Chunk.