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Grist Mill auctioned off, bought by area businessman

By Staff | Jun 23, 2017

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan Highest bidder Tripp Spaur presents a deposit check to auctioneer Allen Spiker, of Seneca Trustees, in the purchase of the Grist Mill property Tuesday afternoon.

Shepherdstown’s historic Grist Mill was sold to the highest bidder on Tuesday, businessman Tripp Spaur, of Charles Town, after a bidding war with Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer. Although more than two dozen people were present, Auxer and Spaur were the only two bidders for the property.

Bidding began at $277,000 with the final sale price climbing to $365,000. The Corporation of Shepherdstown bid as high as $361,000 before bowing out.

Disappointed town resident and friend of Patrinka Kelch, late owner of the Grist Mill, Sara Green said she was appalled at the whole process and cited lack of adequate publicity about the sale of the mill and lack of care for the mill itself.

“It’s a major piece of West Virginia history,” Green said. “I don’t know where the historical associations were. The main issue here is the way the property was treated. The gate was left open. The place was just badly cared for and nobody seems to value (it).”

Green was also surprised that the the mill was sold for such a low price.

“I’m really glad we were able to come and at least tried to bid. I think we would have felt worse if we didn’t try. For the price that it went for, my hope is that he (Spaur) will take good care of it,” said Lori Robertson, town recorder for Shepherdstown Town Council. “It’s disappointing on some level (that the town didn’t win the bid), but we knew what we were getting into. We knew that it was going to take a lot of money to do anything with it.”

Spaur declined to comment on his purchase, plans for the mill or the nature of his business.