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It was one of the great old residences of northern Lebanon City. And it left a lasting impression on those who were familiar with it.
The Boyer Mansion, later known as the Weaver Mansion, was located at what is today 202 Maple Street, just below the entrance to Mount Lebanon Cemetery. It was originally the city residence of a prominent Lebanon attorney, Bassler Boyer, who likely finished the building in 1886.
Bassler Boyer was born on March 17, 1842, in Philadelphia. He became a well-known attorney in Lebanon after being admitted to the bar in 1863, and he lived in the city from that point on. He married Ellen Shirk, a Swatara Township resident, in 1864, and together the couple had 10 children.
Boyer’s office was located on North 8th Street, and later on Cumberland Street, “a few doors west of Court House” (the old Lebanon Court House, which was demolished in the 1960s). His career often brought him into work with other attorneys of the city, most notably John Peter Shindel Gobin, longtime state senator and resident of a home on Cumberland Street.
Not to be confused with the Boyer Mansion of Maple Street is the Boyer Mansion of Pine Grove, built in 1910 by lumberman Mahlon Boyer. Complicating things is the fact that Bassler Boyer himself had a separate farm and mansion in Suedberg, near Pine Grove (the Boyer name, apparently, was hardly lacking for property).
Boyer’s Grove, as the Suedberg estate was called, was a summer residence and farm along the Swatara (early newspapers refer to the area as Mifflin Station). This mansion was built in 1880 and was sometimes said to be haunted — a rumor that would also later dog the Maple Street residence.
A notice in the Pine Grove Press Herald, 27 Aug. 1886, states that “our neighbor, Bassler Boyer, will remove shortly to Lebanon, where he has just completed comfortable quarters.” This appears to be the first reference to the family’s home in the Lebanon Independent District — the Boyer Mansion on Maple Street.
The mansion was built at “Hillside,” by the intersection of Maple and 2nd Streets (which no longer intersect). The Mount Lebanon Cemetery, just down the road, is in fact where Bassler Boyer and his family were buried.
The mansion was a large three-story structure, with multiple chimneys and its own carriage house. On at least one occasion, the Boyers had to deal with young vandals on the property.
In March of 1908, the property was bought by Christian Gingrich of Lawn, but owing to some legal complications, the sale was delayed for a year. At some point in the following decade, the mansion was bought by Daniel and Samuel Weaver, who staged a large public auction of goods in 1919 at the property and left the city for California. Daniel Weaver was the founder of his eponymous bologna business, the Daniel Weaver Company, located in Weavertown.
On March 10, 1924, Boyer succumbed to a week-long illness at the Lebanon Sanatorium. Just shy of his 82nd birthday, Boyer had been the oldest practicing lawyer at the Lebanon bar until he fell ill. It’s unclear where he had resided after the earlier sale of his mansion.
In the 1920s, the mansion (including the carriage house) was converted into apartments. Around this point the address of the mansion was set as 202 Maple Street. It continued to house people over the ensuing decades. In 1966, the former Weaver Mansion was listed at $14,900 in a realtor’s ad. A few years later, in 1969, a fire in the basement began and cost $1,000 in damages to the first and third floors.
This fire appears to be the last sure reference to what was once the Boyer Mansion, later the Weaver Mansion. After this, the next reference to 202 Maple Street comes in 1973, describing new townhouses on the lot.
What happened to the mansion? Though it appears the fire wasn’t devastating, the Lebanon Daily News notes that it was at that point a vacant house owned by a neighbor down the street. Sometime between 1969 and 1973, the mansion was torn down and the townhouses were constructed. The Boyer Mansion, some 80 years old, was no more.
Over the years, the Boyer Mansion acquired a reputation for being haunted. It was the kind of house you didn’t want to trick-or-treat at on Halloween, the kind that became a local legend through its presence alone. Though it’s long been destroyed, the mansion has, in its own way, become a ghost of Maple Street — one memory of Lebanon’s past among many others.
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