Mar 13, 2023
The longest-term resident of the Dimeling Senior Residence Carol Woods, right, can be seen with her friend Phyllis Bauman, left, most afternoons visiting with other residents in the lobby.
CLEARFIELD, PA. – On any given afternoon the music of laughter can be heard bouncing off the walls, ornate woodwork, and marble floor of the stately lobby in the historic Dimeling Senior Residence. It’s a natural gathering place for those who live in the apartments in the seven-story structure, where they meet to share stories and spend time with good friends they’ve made while being a part of this senior living community. And when people get together at the Dimeling, it’s a safe bet that Carol Woods is holding court. She’s been doing it for 21 years.
“Everybody asks me how long I’ve lived here, and I tell them 21 years. I tell them I’m the boss around here now,” Woods playfully proclaimed with a chuckle. She has lived in the building longer than any past or current resident and, with over two decades of seniority, has arguably spent more time at the Dimeling than anyone in the former hotel’s storied history.
Woods, along with her brother and sister, moved into individual apartments at the Dimeling in 2002, just two years after it was reopened as a senior community by the Regis Group.
“We loved this place as soon as we stepped inside the door,” Woods recalled. "This took my eye right away.”
The 82-year-old revealed that her brother has since passed away, and her sister has moved into Mountain Laurel Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center due to increasing care needs. Through these changes and many years, Woods still finds comfort and happiness in her Dimeling community.
“I’ve made great relationships here. All the residents here are nice people,” said Woods. “We visit in the lobby together. Everyone that comes in loves the lobby. We play bingo, we plant a flower garden in the spring.”
Woods continued, “Phyllis is my best friend,” referring to Phyllis Bauman, a Dimeling resident of four years. Woods and Bauman met at the Dimeling and quickly became inseparable. She recalled, “I remember when she moved in, and I took a liking to Phyllis right away.”
The pair was in the process of planning a trip to pick up chicken dinners to share with friends during bingo later in the evening when Bauman confirmed her pal’s status in the community. “She’s the boss,” Bauman quipped through a mischievous smile. “But, really, we met by just being here, and I’m grateful.”
Woods keeps her own car in a provided lot at the Dimeling and is gone most mornings shopping or with her 94-year-old sister at Mountain Laurel where she helps her sibling dress, assists at mealtime, and does her sibling’s laundry. She remains active in every way, as does her sense of humor. “I like to read the paper to see if my obituary is in it,” she said when asked what activities she most enjoys. She also likes catching Pittsburgh Pirates games on TV.
Prior to moving into the Dimeling, Woods spent 37 years living in the rural Mahaffey area. “We had to tend to the spring, fix anything that was broken,” she said, noting more reasons for her appreciation of living in an apartment downtown. “I’m happy where I am right here. We have a parking place for our cars out here, I can do my own cooking, my own laundry, my own housework. I have everything I need right here”
Bauman echoed those sentiments saying, “I love it here. It’s close to everything – the YMCA, the library, banks, drug stores, and restaurants.”
While living in Mahaffey, Woods spent many years working in the kitchen at the Pantall Hotel in Punxsutawney. She suggested this as another reason the former Dimeling Hotel feels like a natural fit for her. She said, “This is my home. It’s going to stay my home until God takes me.”
Mature Resources Area Agency on Aging acquired the Dimeling Senior Residence in 2022.
Originally designed and built in 1904 as a 120-room hotel by Pittsburgh-based Beezer Brothers, the Dimeling ceased operation as a hotel in 1977. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 10, 1980. It remained empty until the renovation in 2000 transformed the building by combing and expanding guest rooms into the present 33 one- or two-bedroom apartments, complete with full kitchens, baths, and living areas, creating housing for individuals 55 years of age or older.
According to an October 2019 article in the Progress, the Dimeling was once the center of Clearfield’s social scene and many celebrities stayed at the Dimeling including big band musicians Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, actor Clark Gable, radio personality Paul Harvey, Olympian and football star Jim Thorpe, former Pennsylvania Governor John Kinley Tener, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, labor leader John L. Lewis, and “the tallest man in the world,” Robert Pershing Wadlow.
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