PALMYRA - Workers from Penn Earthworks, Hazleton, have begun demolition of an old shoe factory and several other structures, which had been condemned, on the north side of the borough. Last fall, the borough purchased the property at 40 E. Front St. for $4,460.30, the amount of the back taxes that were owed on it. Last year, the owner of the property, who is bankrupt, had given the borough permission to demolish the building. Borough officials decided to purchase the property in hopes of selling it to recoup the borough's expenses and putting the property back on the tax rolls. Money to pay for the property came from Palmyra's capital reserve fund.

In addition to the multi-story shoe factory, other structures include smaller industrial buildings in deteriorated condition. Prior to the demolition, workers removed asbestos from the building, which has been surrounded by a chain-link fence. The 0.38-acre parcel has a long history. In 1891, W.L. Kreider built a shoe factory on the site - the first and only shoe factory at the time with electric lights. By 1893, Kreider had doubled the size of the factory, and as business continued to grow, he built two three-story additions to the factory and, in 1897 he added another three-story building. Kreider's shoe factory was later moved to Harrison and Broad streets - a building that has since been repurposed to upscale apartments.

In 2010, the borough condemned the building. Rettew Associates of Lancaster conducted a detailed study of the property for the borough. In 1911, the property is listed as the A.S. Kreider shoe factory, and in 1927, it was listed as the C.F. Schneider Printing Co. The report indicated several other businesses were located on the property, including the Palmyra Auto & Electric Service and Schneider Printing Corp. from 1967 to 1977, the Schneider Printing Corp, from 1982 to 1987, and Tree Industries from 1992 to 2000. According to the report, Seavers & Seavers owned the property from 1988 until 2012, as well as the adjacent Curry Flour Mill property to the west. Seavers & Seavers went bankrupt in 2008 and sold the milling business and property to Wilkins-Rogers Inc., which renamed it the Palmyra Milling Co. However, the company did not buy 40 E. Front St., which was owned by Ronald Seavers. Seavers was unable to sell the property and it has mostly gone unused over the past decade.

Lebanon Daily News - March 18, 2013