History restored in Bellefonte


Photo by Pauline Alterio

The Gamble Mill sits at 160 Dunlop Street in Bellefonte, PA.

Davis Corman, Content Manager

Amidst the many setbacks that COVID-19 brought, a local BAHS teacher decided to take on an ambitious project: restoring a historic building into a thriving place. 

Just over a few years ago, the local Gamble Mill in Bellefonte sat abandoned, after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy. Many people in the area, with the history behind the building, hoped to see it one day restored, and Mr. Jonathan Virgilio, a Bellefonte Area High School math teacher, did just that. With the help of his brother, he was able to purchase the building in 2019.

“The Gamble Mill is a historic building which much of the community loves. With the two of us already having experience in fixing up buildings, we hoped to restore this one,” Mr. Virgilio said.

Following the purchase of the Gamble Mill, things quickly went south for the brothers. Shortly after they purchased the building, COVID-19 swept the world, putting many of their ideas on hold. Additionally, it also caused material prices to skyrocket making it more difficult for them economically. However, the brothers persisted through these setbacks. 

According to Mr. Virgilio, 84 large dumpsters were filled with trash during the entire renovation. Even with such a large amount of material cleared, he mentioned that they, “tried to save a lot that was in there and repurpose it.” Throughout the entire process, there were special moments that Mr. Virgilio experienced. 

“Whether it be the relationships built throughout the community or the help from various companies, all were major highlights for me in restoring the Gamble Mill,” he said.

Eventually, in August of this year, the Gamble Mill was ready for opening. Consisting of five services – an event space, the inn and suites, a restaurant, a cocktail bar, and a boutique home goods store –  the building is a diverse place with a lot to offer. And, in just the past month since its opening, the restaurant portion has been so booked that they even had to get rid of the reservation service. 

Additionally, the Gamble Mill has been received well by many of its customers. It has obtained a 4.6-star rating on Google, and a Bellefonte junior Ruby Bjalme shared her good experience in the Creekside restaurant.  

“The food there was amazing and my parents loved the place and the atmosphere of the restaurant,” she said,

From its diversity of services to its historic aura, many aspects of the business are bringing a lot of curiosity to the place, resulting in a heavy flow of customers. 

“Our goal is that it becomes a staple destination place that people out of town want to come and visit alongside locals,” Mr. Virgilio said.

To visit the Gamble Mill online, go to gamblemillbellefonte.com.