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Former WV resort’s 988 acres to be split, auctioned

Photo submitted to The Journal  Image shows an aerial photo of the Coolfont property.
Photo submitted to The Journal
Image shows an aerial photo of the Coolfont property.

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The former Coolfont resort is on the auction block and is scheduled to be sold next month by a Colorado-based auction company.

The 988-acre property, located four miles west of Berkeley Springs, will be split up and offered in nine tracts ranging from seven acres to 382 acres. One of those properties includes a 2,383-square-foot, two-story, brick building at 99 N. Washington St. in downtown Berkeley Springs.

The property, which has been for sale with a list price of $9.5 million, is currently owned by the Carl M. Freeman Company based in Rockville, Maryland, according to tax records at the Morgan County Courthouse.

The auction is scheduled for June 21 at 10 a.m. at Cacapon Resort State Park. It is being handled by Hall and Hall of Eaton, Colorado.

“This is one of the most unique properties available in the region and offers access to remarkable recreational opportunities, wildlife, and natural resources,” said Scott Shuman of Hall and Hall Auctions in a prepared statement. “Sleepy Creek Mountain is located six miles due east, the Potomac River is only two miles northwest, and Cacapon Mountain, home to Prospect Rock, is adjacent to the property.”

Nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, Coolfont first opened in 1965 and was known for its lodging, spa and wellness center, conference center and recreational facilities. It also featured the Treetop House Restaurant, a popular destination for local residents. It was founded by the late Sam Ashelman who first purchased the property in 1961 after visiting Morgan County on a camping trip with his son.

“It was Easter 1961. It snowed, so we had time on our hands. I saw an ad for property for sale. I looked at it and made an offer. It was accepted within the hour, so I figured I’d paid too much,” he said laughing, during a 2003 interview with The Journal.

“We built the resort for a place where family people can come and relax. But in the wintertime, it was slow. So, the conference center, wellness programs, and spas were created to keep things busy,” Ashelman said.

The Carl M. Freeman Company purchased the property, then known as Coolfont ReCreation, from Ashelman in 2005. The Freeman Company announced in a press release when it purchased the property that it had big plans for the resort. But tragedy struck a year later when Joshua Freeman, who took over as company president from his father 10 years earlier, was killed in an helicopter crash in Delaware. After Joshua Freeman’s death, the Coolfont property was never utilized and fell into disrepair.

Shuman, a real estate partner and auction specialist for Hall and Hall, said all of the necessary utility permits are in place for the property. He said the property was divided up into nine tracts to make it more “marketable” to a larger number of potential buyers although “we don’t want to proclude anyone who wants to buy” the entire property.

The advertisement for the property describes it as “roughly 100 miles from Washington, D.C., Coolfont Property offers abundant hardwoods including hickory, red oak, white oak, poplar and ash; excellent hunting for deer, bear and turkey; extensive development entitlements; access to historic Berkeley Springs, one of the top small towns in the U.S.; and hundreds of acres of pristine land within a two hour drive of several major cities.”

Information days are scheduled for Wednesdays, May 18, June 1, and June 8 from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. For more information, contact Hall and Hall Auctions at 970-716-2120 or visit hallhall.com/ranches-for-sale/properties/coolfont.

Hall and Hall is the largest full service rural real estate firm in the Rocky Mountain West and Great Plains regions, managing more than one million acres of land, and servicing a loan portfolio of more than $500 million, according to the company’s website.

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