Tomorrow will complete the last of my Pennsylvania 64 and More interviews.
My Keystone State journey was purposed as a quick trip to put my crazy travel schedule onto a manageable track.Yet at the end of this yearlong project, I hazard to guess that my chance PA encounter/interview with Art and Patricia Steffee will stay with me for the remainder of my days.
It’s not just that Art is a life-changing physician or that this couple rescued an abandoned property and turned it into a fairy tale estate. It’s that these two people do more than talk about what’s important in life. They change lives—others as well as their own.
The prime example of this is fully reflected in their adopted hometown of Foxburg.
Arthur grew up in Oil City, Pennsylvania—a town 26 miles north of Foxburg. The only reason he and “his bride” Patricia moved to the new locale was the purchase of their 1100 acre estate. In so doing, they raised the Foxburg population a bit closer to the 200 mark.
The retreating oil industry decimated this town, once ten times its current population. As a result the prime Foxburg bright spot became the local golf course, touted as the oldest course in continuous use in the United States. Yet upon relocating, Art decided that his new hometown needed some sprucing up. As it turned out, he and Patricia were just the ones to get the job done.
They began with a desire for a nice restaurant in their community.
So they built The Allegheny Grille, alongside the river of the same name that defines the town’s downtown core. The waterside eatery not only gave Art and Patricia a local dining spot, it became an economic boom as a scenic meeting point for tourists throughout western Pennsylvania and beyond. It also became an employer of over 100 seasonal workers.
To accommodate the burgeoning tourist trade the Steffes decided to build a hotel beside the restaurant. Next door they built a family-style pizzeria that houses a segueway, boat and bike rental business in the lower level.
In short order they developed a winery and gift shop, which led to the renovation of the downtown library’s upper floor into a theater and the establishment of a corner chocolate shoppe. Foxburg has also become part of the Allegheny River Trail, hosting a three mile bike and hiking path that begins downtown and ends in Parker, Pennsylvania.
Even with all this success, Art and Patricia continue to talk about more businesses in the downtown core and perhaps improved housing in other parts of their community. What’s inspiring is that their ideas are more than dreams. They are life-changing possibilities.
To enjoy other parts in this 64 and More series click below.
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