SHAMOKIN - A building long considered an eyesore to its immediate Bunker Hill neighbors and a general pain for city officials has surprisingly been purchased.

The historic and long dilapidated Shroyer Building was bought June 20 from the Northumberland County repository list for $100 by a Massachusetts woman.

Stella P. Alli said she looked at the building at 1008-1010 N. Shamokin St. before submitting a sealed bid for the property, and said herself it needs a lot of work.

As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

"God help me," Alli said by telephone Wednesday, laughing while speaking of the task at hand. "There's a lot on my plate."

Rick Bozza, city code officer, said as much but with much more pessimism.

"That building is very deplorable. The roof on the northeast end is completely caved in. The east side of the building is really ready to fall down. The inside wooden floors are all buckled," he said Saturday.

"There's spots inside the building where there's actually inches and feet of water," he said.

Fixing it would be costly, he said, but "anything can be repaired."

Quick look back

The former Shroyer building takes up a full block east to west between Shamokin and Rock streets and a half-block north to south between Cameron and Packer streets.

The city has long eyed the building for demolition but to no avail.

Commonly referred to as Shroyers, it had been home to Shamokin Dress Company and closed in the fall of 1984 after 70 years in business. The business was originally called Climax Dress Manufacturing Company, which produced house dresses. The Shamokin Dress Company was incorporated in the 1930s. During the 1950s, the business employed more than 600 people.

On Sept. 27, 1984, Shamokin Dress Company president John E. Shroyer announced the factory would close, affecting 250 employees. A portion of a written statement, signed by Shroyer and secretary George W. Shroyer, was read to employees at an emotional meeting: "After much discussion with our accountants and our legal advisers, we have concluded that the Shamokin Dress Company can no longer service in the very competitive apparel market."

'Nicer, safer'

Alli now lives in Fall River, Mass. She's a registered nurse and says she's accepted a job at an area nursing home and is patiently waiting for her Pennsylvania state license.

She discovered the Shamokin area while looking for a new place to live. She said she was searching for a "cheaper, nicer and safer" town.

Some might say she was savvy enough to go through the county tax claims in search of a cheap place to purchase. In her case, it's "places," because she also purchased a property in Mount Carmel, the former Turner's Cafe at 248-250 W. Second St. That property, too, is believed to be in rough shape.

She sees promise in both buildings, and fixing up such properties would be a first for her, she said.

Both buildings have been through county upset and judicial sales without any takers. They were moved to the repository list, which is available in the county administrative building and also online. A minimum bid is $100 and all bids are sealed. The bids were opened May 31 and the sales processed June 20.

Alli envisions the Mount Carmel property as her residence. At the Shamokin property, she sees a soup kitchen in one part; but it's a big building which she believes is open to many other possibilities.

"Because I like to cook for community, I'm thinking a soup kitchen. Some part of it could be a retail business. I need to clean it up first and see what I can do," she said.

"It'd be nice to have an established soup kitchen because I know the city needs a lot of help," she said.

Alli had plans to meet Thursday with local contractors on estimates to get the building repaired. To what extent wasn't clear.