BEAVERTOWN — A lifelong fan of the late Monkees’ lead singer, Davy Jones, is purchasing a Beavertown church he once owned and converting it into a place for fans to gather and pore over memorabilia devoted to his career.
Dunellen, N.J., resident Cathy Whitehead became friends with her idol more than a decade ago.
“I was out there in 2005 and spent the day touring his farm and the church,” she said of the western Snyder County property Jones owned for more than 22 years. “He took us up in the church and told us to ring the bell for good luck.”
Whitehead listened to Jones talk about plans to convert the steeple church at 121 Orange St. into an enter
tainment venue where people could enjoy music over a cup of coffee.
“He had started renovations,” she said.
At the time of Jones’ death on Feb. 29, 2012 from a heart attack at age 66, Whitehead was going through her own personal ordeal with the death of her husband just 10 days earlier.
She went on with her life in New Jersey, working at Wegmans and living in the home she had shared with her husband for 20 years.
Then tragedy struck last October when her house burned to the ground, destroying all her possessions, including piles of Monkees and Davy Jones memorabilia she’d collected since the age of 10.
“I lost all my albums, autographs, magazines, all of it,” said Whitehead who attended more than 100 of Jones’ performances during his career. “I would not have believed it if anyone had told me that in less than 10 years (of visiting Jones in Beavertown), Davy would be gone, my husband would be gone and my house would be gone.”
The fire spurred her to take action and pursue her dream of fulfilling Jones’ plans for the church.
She always wished she had the money to purchase his Beavertown properties, including a six bedroom, 3,388-square-foot 301 S. Center St. home and 15.5 acre lot at 301 S. Center St. that is on the market for $389,000.
The $60,000, two-story church was ideal for her.
Whitehead plans to convert the second floor into her living quarters and complete renovations to the first floor where she’ll create a memorial to Jones’ and his career and invite fans and family to visit and perform.
“I want to make it a retreat for Monkee fans,” she said of the memorial and meeting place that will be free to invited guests only. “This is not a business. It’s my home.”
Since all of her memorabilia was destroyed in the fire, Whitehead is appealing to fans to donate items to the venue, which she will bequeath to Jones’s offspring after her death.
Fans have already begun reacting to the news that the church has been purchased by a friend of Jones and are offering to aid Whitehead in the endeavor to create a memorial for their idol.
“Fan power will help,” she said.
Beavertown Mayor Lee Hollenbach said he’ll also pitch in.
“I’m here to support her dream,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s not going to be a vacant building.”
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