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The original owner, Herman Kuhenbeaker, built this amazing stone structure in 1927.  The stone was hauled on horse-drawn sleighs from nearby Pimple Hill.  The sleighs made it easier to glide downhill in the winter months with the heavy stone.    The surrounding land was used to grow blueberries sold by the truckloads to New York City bakeries.  In the fall the land was enjoyed by sportsmen who hunted grouse, bear and white tail deer. 

Along comes Werner Wandschneider in 1954.  Born in Germany, Werner was a skilled woodworker with a furniture factory.  But first Hitler and then the Russian invasion forced Werner to move to West Germany with his wife and two children.  He decided to come to America   in a 56’ Yacht he built and named the “Optimist.”   In 1952 he made the 4400 mile trip with his family and arrived in New York City. Both the New York Times and the Daily News featured an article with pictures denoting their arrival to America.

The Wandschneiders moved to the Poconos and purchased the Stone Home on 429 acres from Mr. Kuhenbeaker for $28,500! Part of the purchase included the Stone Crest Restaurant and Atlantic Gas Station, the only rest stop between Easton and Wilkes-Barre.  Gas sold for 14.5 cents a gallon.  Werner used his skills at woodworking to open and run a furniture shop.  The massive garage space was an excellent workshop.  When the Tunkhannock Township Firehouse burned, the garage space was large enough to house the fire engines until a new firehouse was built.

In the early 1970’s along came the Virella family of Italy.  They purchased the home and restaurant and converted the former eatery into an exquisite dining experience known as the “Villa Virella.”      The large stone home was perfect for the big Italian family where every member was involved in the restaurant.  The family owned and operated the successful restaurant from 1974 to 2007. 


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