After years of refurbishing, owners of the Addison House in Leechburg intend to open this year

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The historic Addison House in Leechburg is set to reopen to the public after a five-year closure.

The once-popular First Street eatery shut its doors in 2012 amid financial woes after the tragic death of co-owner Laura Stettmier in an October 2011 plane crash in West Virginia.

John and Devra Gromley of Upper Burrell purchased Addison House in March 2015 for $106,000.

The couple plan to name the business 1st Street Cafe. They intend to open sometime this year.

“I don’t have a timeline on when we will open, and I’ve been laid off from my corporate job,” Devra Gromley said. “We love the historic building, and it was always a dream of mine to have a cafe.”

The liquor license was sold by the IRS years ago, and 1st Street Cafe will not serve alcohol.

“The current bar area will be more like a coffee bar,” Devra Gromley said.

Customers can expect classic cafe fare such as soups, desserts and sandwiches on the menu.

The couple have been slowly remodeling the interior and originally intended to open the first floor of the three-­story home in 2019.

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John has been remodeling slowly, installing yellow poplar wood inside, replacing the existing dark wood.

“We aren’t changing anything structurally,” said Devra Gromley, 57. “I want to decorate it lighter and brighter.”

Plans for the second floor include a space for private functions.

Devra said the third floor is her favorite area of the home, complete with an original tin ceiling, windows and an upright piano she believes has been around since the early 1900s.

“It’s a gorgeous attic, and no one has used it since probably the Prohibition Era,” Devra Gromley said. “When I saw that third floor, that was a big selling point.”

The Addison House was named for Addison Leech, son of Leechburg founder David Leech.

The home was constructed during the mid-1800s on land that dates to a 1783 Pennsylvania Land Grant.

Addison and Mary Leech lived in the home until 1868.

Historical information provided by the Leechburg Area Museum and Historical Society says the original property included three buildings. It was bought by West Leechburg Steel and was once known as the Kirpatrick Club.

“We know the Addison House was built by David Leech’s son, Addison, and not by David Leech as some people believe,” said museum president Larry Boehm.

Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos said the location of the building is ideal.

“I would truly like to see the Addison House reopen, and I think the owners are missing out on some good trade now that the Kiski River has become a recreational waterway,” Dobos said. “They have great access with the river ramp being right there at the fire department.”

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725 , [email protected] or via Twitter .

Valley News Dispatch

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