Elegant Dining on Millionaires' Row
It begins outside. You turn up the circle drive to the
entrance where a valet assists you. You climb the steps near the overgrown
vines to the glass entry and then proceed through the door of this
outstanding example of Italian Villa architecture.
||You have just entered 407 West Fourth Street,
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of the late Peter Herdic. It is now The
Peter Herdic House restaurant, owned by two sisters, Marsha and Gloria Miele,
natives of Williamsport.
Peter Herdic (1824-1888) settled in Williamsport in 1853
and soon became instrumental in developing the city. He was the owner and
president of Susquehanna Boom, and developed the lumber industry which made
Williamsport the "lumber capital of the world.
" He bought the land
which later became West Fourth Street, building his home and a four-story
hotel. He even developed the rear entry horse-drawn streetcar, called the
"herdic" to service the area. He sold lots to many other
millionaires, who used Eber Culver, an architect, to design the many
mansions along the row. It was reported that in the late 1800’s,
Williamsport had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the
|The Peter Herdic House, designed by Culver, is set back
from the street. It’s "Egyptian Lotus" columns, Corinthian style
capitals and carved bracketed eaves, lend a graceful transition from the
flat overhanging roof. The large square cupola crowns the building, and can
be reached from the interior by a winding staircase.
This historic architectural masterpiece was tarnished in
the 1960’s by a three-story office addition that jutted out to the street.
Punished for the blemish of this gem, a fire broke out in 1977, which not
only destroyed the addition, but much of the house, and the property lay
vacant in ruin until 1980.
||In 1979, the house was added to the National Register of
Historic Places and restored by the Millionaires’ Row Historic Homes, Inc.
In 1982, Samuel Dornsife began designing the interior, and the house was
sold to the Peter Herdic Partnership and the Preservation Fund of
Pennsylvania. The restoration was completed in 1984 and named the top
preservation project for that year by the Bureau of Historic Preservation.
The Mieles opened their restaurant November 5, 1984 and purchased the
property in 1989.
The Peter Herdic House is the place to have gala affairs
and celebrations. With authentic Victorian decoration, the interior displays
the beautiful staircase that winds up to the cupola on the third floor.
Large groups are accommodated on the main floor, while seating upstairs is
more private. Romantic interludes can be arranged on the balcony of the
cupola. There’s an interesting bar area to the rear of the house, where a
portal takes you to a side patio for outside dining under the wisteria and
Venetian lanterns. The history of the house, including photos of Peter
Herdic and the renovations are displayed throughout.
The restaurant is a family local business that specializes
in using local growers and suppliers. Everything is fresh and made on the
premises. Even Marsha and Gloria’s mother comes in to make the desserts.
Marsha’s joy is "being a part of the special times in people’s
lives", as they cater to special parties and groups, such as wedding
dinners and receptions, anniversaries and birthdays.
The food is exquisite with "one favorite appetizer
being the shrimp and crab roll wrapped in phyllo pastry, served over mesclun,
mixed with glazed hazelnuts and Frangelico vinaigrette. Entrees include baby
New Zealand rack of lamb with a mint apricot glaze and Gorgonzola stuffed
tomatoes." Public broadcasting TV station, WVIA, awarded the "Chef’s
of the Great Northeast" Award to The Herdic House at the Fete De
Cuisine for Best Appetizer, Best Entrée, Best Dessert and Best of Show.
This AAA Triple Star restaurant’s hours are Monday
through Saturday, 5-9pm.
You can visit at www.williamsport.org/herdichouse,
or dine in this luxurious setting by traveling to Williamsport in north
central Pennsylvania off Interstate 80. After your meal, you can take home a
chocolate Peter Herdic house, or a hand-painted Christmas ornament replica
of the home. Regardless, you are guaranteed a unique and delightful dining
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