Seven Sisters Inn up for auction today
April 7, 2009
By Dave Schlenker
OCALA - On Monday, the innkeepers were packing, the ghost hunters were gathering candles, and the real estate agent was still hoping for a solid offer to save the Seven Sisters Inn from foreclosure.
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Seven Sisters Inn is a bed and breakfast that consists of two homes listed on the National Historic Register. Some paranormal sleuths believe that the inn is haunted.
But, as of this writing, the acclaimed - and reportedly haunted - bed and breakfast is scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction today at the Marion County courthouse. The Seven Sisters Inn is No. 5 on a docket of properties to be auctioned starting at 11 a.m.
Realtor Jane Nolen and inn owners Ken Oden and Bonnie Morehardt have been trying to find a buyer for the two, century-old Victorian homes along Fort King Street before today's auction. The $1.2 million asking price includes two homes on the National Register of Historic Places and everything in them.
Nolen said Monday there has been much interest and even a few offers, but none have been acceptable.
Southeastern Paranormal Investigations is organizing a public candle-lighting ceremony in front of the inn at 8 tonight to say "goodbye." The group recently launched a petition in an effort to convince the inn's mortgage holder, First Coast Community Bank, to extend the foreclosure deadline. Between online and paper petitions, SEPI has compiled more than 1,000 signatures, said member Nancie J. Andriola.
First Coast officials have declined to comment.
Seven Sisters fell into financial trouble, Morehardt and Oden contend, following a failed contract to buy the inn in which the buyers were to assume the mortgage payments in January 2008. The buyers failed to do so, the couple said, and First Coast started the foreclosure process in October.