"What is it zoned for?" came a question. (Residential, and it can be subdivided.)
"What are the taxes?" (About $117,000.)
"Is that an elevator?" (There are two.)
The visitors looked over the 11 bedrooms, each with its own bath. They trod the oak floors in the formal living room and sun porch, and strolled the white marble tile in another sitting room. They admired gorgeous fireplaces, a central staircase to die for, and a garden within feet of the beach that would make anyone envious.
But they also found that the "working kitchen" is a labyrinth of smaller room, sans granite counter-tops and new appliances. There is no crown molding in the bedrooms, the upstairs floors dip and rise like a skateboard park, and the wall-to-wall carpet - well, that just has to be replaced.
The mansion has formal and informal dining rooms, laundry areas, plenty of closet space and storage, an office in the basement, a detached garage and off street parking-and a second-floor chapel.
Mary Crane, 62 of Aston, Pa., and her sister Jackie McLeer, 59, of Ocean City, went to take a look at the home for fun. The two thought it would make a nice bed-and-breakfast.
"It is perfect right now to start out," McLeer, said.
Upgrades could be done over time, she said.
"There are too many problems," said another looker, Barry Felker, 60, a developer from Voorhees.
He pointed out the sagging floors and the functional but obsolete bathrooms, and wondered aloud about the plumbing.
"When you are dealing with old houses, you probably don't know what's going on in these old walls," he said.
Felker wasn't sure if he would bid at auction. If he owned it, he said, he would tear it down and build four to six housing units. These day, he said, buyers "want all new social amenities."
Former Philadelphia mayoral contender Tom Knox and his wife, Linda, stopped by to look over the property as a home for themselves. While they both marveled at the house, they left unsure if they would bid.
"It is a lot to digest," said Linda Knox, who works for Sotheby's as a luxury home specialist. "I would have to think."
Anita Barsky, 85, who attended with her husband of 67 years, Harold, said: "I would like it to stay as it is. It is a blessed house."
She grew up in the area, and she recalled that one former owner - a member of the Luden's cough drop family-would often sit on the porch looking at the ocean.
"Memories are built in homes like this," said Harold Barsky.
Robert L. Dann, executive vice president of Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Company, estimated that 400 to 500 people attended the open house.
Additional open houses are scheduled for Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 and 9, according to the Spann agency.
Dann said he expected a very small percentage of lookers return with the required $100,000 certified check in hand on the day of the auction.
Fran McManus, who spent the last 30 years working at the house as a manager, was on hand to help with Sunday's event. She was the one used to assigned the rooms to visiting priests.
She has many fond memories of her years at the home. Dinners were special, with lively conversations and occasionally songs, she said.
Though McManus thinks the property will sell, she is "hoping and praying" someone will buy it and give it back to the church, she said.
Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @MariSchaefer on Twitter.