About the writer

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.

a little peek inside the fox chase inn and barn

Looking out the front porch at the Fox Chase Inn

Looking out the front porch at the Fox Chase Inn

So last week in the midst of a brilliant thunderstorm, off I went to photograph and tour the restoration of the Fox Chase Inn and barn on Swedesford Road in West Whiteland. Today I am going to share some of the photos I took with all of you with the property owner’s permission. I will be going back for more appropriate exterior shots sometime this week, it was just too wet when I took these photos to do the exterior justice. I even got my camera a tad wet getting inside it was raining so hard at times! The Fox Chase Inn is a brilliant example of restoration and adaptive reuse. And these people did it because they wanted to do it right. No one told them they had to. And their caring and attention to detail shows. For more on the history of the property check out this file from West Whiteland’s website: Fox Chase Inn West Whiteland Site 325_ historic information . Here are some photos of the restoration in progress – and it is amazing because this place was a wreck when they bought it: BARN: DSC_8607 DSC_8608 DSC_8610 DSC_8612 DSC_8613 DSC_8616 DSC_8617 DSC_8618 DSC_8621 DSC_8623 DSC_8630 DSC_8634 DSC_8635 DSC_8640 FARMHOUSE: DSC_8656 DSC_8712 DSC_8660 DSC_8661 DSC_8670 DSC_8675 DSC_8682 DSC_8684 DSC_8691 DSC_8664 DSC_8666 DSC_8694 DSC_8695 DSC_8697 DSC_8699 DSC_8700 DSC_8702 DSC_8703 DSC_8709 DSC_8710

requiescat in pace, rob lukens

rob lukens

Rob Lukens was one of those people whom I wanted to get to know. But sadly, although we shared many friends and acquaintances in common, cancer has taken him away from his family and Chester County and I will never get that opportunity. Rob Lukens was President of the Chester County Historical Society.

He did many fabulous and amazing things when it comes to the history of where we live, Chester County, PA. I always enjoyed his articles which would appear on the Chester County Historical Society website and in the Daily Local.  The last one was this past May.

Rob lost his battle with cancer on August 1st.  As a cancer survivor, it always touches a very sad chord within me when someone else loses their battle.  As a survivor of breast cancer, I know I lead a charmed life, but this news just made me so sad and not just because of what Rob meant to the Chester County Historical Society and historic preservation here in Chester County, but because of his family. Rob leaves behind him a beautiful wife and equally beautiful children. To them I send my most heartfelt condolences.

If you admire people like Rob Lukens, I hope you will continue to support organizations like the Chester County Historical Society.  Every membership helps.

I will close this post with what the Chester County Historical Society released overnight:

It is with deep regret and a profound sadness that we inform you of the death of our President, Rob Lukens, PhD, August 1st, following a long fight with cancer. 

Rob became our President in 2011, although his association with the Chester County Historical Society began in 1993, over twenty years ago when Rob helped catalog, pack, and move museum objects as a volunteer during his undergraduate studies. Later, he was an intern at CCHS and then became our Collections Manager in 1998. Rob left CCHS in 2003 to become the Head of Collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His career then took him to Historic Yellow Springs and the United States Capitol Visitors Center before bringing him back to the Historical Society, ready to lead the institution that he loved so much. 

Rob brought passion and a commitment to share Chester County’s history with the community beyond the walls of CCHS. He initiated a regular column in the Daily Local News, a weekly radio program on WCHE, and the extremely popular History on Tap series. His leadership brought much needed upgrades to our facilities and continuing plans for their improvement. Throughout his illness he remained committed to CCHS, especially in developing plans for our new permanent exhibition. 

George Zumbano, Chair of the CCHS Board of Trustees, spoke for all of us when he said that “Rob Lukens made an indelible mark on the Chester County Historical Society. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with him. His enthusiasm for our region’s history was contagious, and he brought a level of professional expertise that helped us move forward in innovative ways.” 

Rob was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle, friend, and colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Becky, his two children Abbie and Finn, and his entire family during this difficult time. 

Mr. Zumbano announced that David B. Reinfeld, who has served as Acting President of CCHS for the last two years, has been named Interim President. “David has done a remarkable job throughout this difficult time, and we are confident that CCHS remains in good hands.” 

The Chester County Historical Society Board of Trustees, staff members, and volunteers are grateful for the time that we had with Rob, and we will miss him dearly. His work, which is our work, will continue. 

Chester County Historical Society will post funeral details on its website when they are available.

 

 

 

chester county day turns 75 this october!

Radnor HuntFrom the time I was a girl, Chester County Day is something my family just always did every October. It is always a gorgeous day and well, who needs a better excuse to travel through Chester County when fall foliage is exploding? Pack a picnic lunch and have a splendid day.

This year the tour launches at the Radnor Hunt Club and heads into the Borough of West Chester. If you have never taken the time to do this tour, I do not see any better year to start a new tradition on the 75th anniversary of a fine Chester County tradition!

See press release below.  Tickets should be ordered early and in advance.

chester county dayLongest Running House Tour in the Nation – Chester County Day – Celebrates 75 Years

West Chester, PA – Chester County Day originated in 1936, when Mrs. William A. Limberger and her fellow members of the Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital hosted “West Chester Day,” a house tour that for $1.00 allowed admittance to 22 homes. Now the longest running house tour in the United States, Chester County Day has benefited Chester County Hospital from the start.tour 1

 

Over its 75 years, the tour has been designed to feature the four quadrants of Chester County with each section taking turns being featured on “The Day.” However, this year, the event planners are returning to its 1936 roots and focusing their attention on the Borough of West Chester. With hundreds of years of history, the Borough is the perfect spot to celebrate the 75th year, and everyone is welcome to celebrate the anniversary of this Chester County tradition on Saturday, October 3.

tour 2

The Day begins with the pageantry and excitement of a fox hunt. The Radnor Hunt will set off promptly at 9 am on its beautiful grounds. Afterward, a short drive to the Borough of West Chester will lead you to the start of the 75th Chester County Day tour. Located on West Chester’s oldest road, High Street, visit the oldest inhabited structure in the Borough, which was built in 1712 and then renovated by a well-known author in the 1920’s. Stroll through the neighborhoods of the north section of West Chester to visit charming mansions where your imagination can take you to a bygone era of the Great Gatsby lifestyle. Stop by the home of former builder Henry Price, and then see how a newly constructed home fits into the historic mix on East Marshall Street. Listen for the sound of the horse-drawn carriages as they make their way through the shaded and wide streets of the north end of town. Swing by the West Chester Public Library, one of the Borough’s most impressive public buildings, built in 1888 in Queen Anne style.

tour 3

Continue your tour on South New Street and tour a historic bank barn and manor house, where you will be enchanted by the magnificent trees, pond, historical buildings and serene atmosphere, all while refueling yourself with one of Arianna’s Gourmet Café’s boxed lunches. From there, visit a nearby horse farm, a spectacular house and restored mill overlooking Crum Creek. See Historic Sugartown, a rural crossroads village dating from the late 18th century. Stop by the General Store, Carriage Museum and a book bindery. If you arrive hungry, Arianna’s offers a second refreshment stop here with additional delicious boxed lunches.

 

Whether you begin with the first house on the tour or start with the final home in the tour – your day will be full and filled with the beauty and history of Chester County hundreds of years in the making.

 

WHEN:    Saturday, October 3, 2015 @ 10 am-5 pm

WHERE: Borough of Chester County

TICKETS: On sale from September 2-29 by mail, online, or at the satellite locations listed on our website.

  • $40 purchased via web, phone or in person
  • $100 VIP Tickets, which includes a VIP Reception and Preview Cocktail party at historic Vickers Restaurant on Sunday, September 27 and a private tour of a special VIP house with a gourmet boxed lunch served by White Horse Tavern.

CONTACT: 610-431-5328

MORE INFO: Organized by The Women’s Auxiliary to the Chester County Hospital, Chester County Day is a 75-year autumn tradition. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Women’s Auxiliary pledge for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab project, a $4.8 million replacement project for Interventional Laboratory 3. This room is used for complex ablation cases, laser peripheral vascular intervention and other complex peripheral vascular procedures. Learn more at one of the free public preview lectures throughout the county. For a list of dates and locations, or to download a podcast visit: www.ChesterCountyDay.com

summer dinner

  It’s been a brutally hot week and I’m having people for dinner. We will start with Mutabbal which is basically Egyptian baba ghanouj and pita.

Next to accompany a marinated roast we will be grilling we will also be grilling marinated veggie shish kebabs, lentil salad, and for dessert a simple summer trifle.

Guests may have sparkling water, ice tea, a lovely rosé wine or glass of Sancerre.

vegetables marinating for veggie shish kebab. Marinade marinade made with an Arabian spice blend known as Baharat

 

Lentil salad made witjh red and regular lentils, for grated carrots, one purple onion, one small purple bell pepper, halved grape tomatoes, Italian flat leaf parsley and fresh basil diced, a simple vinaigrette made with lemon juice lemons asked, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, cumin

 

Mutabbal- two cans drained canned chickpeas, tahini paste, olive oil, one roasted white egg plant and one roasted red pepper, half an onion, three cloves of garlic, a few dashes of Tabasco, Stonington sea salt, a little fresh parsley, juice of one large lemon and zest as well, paprika, cumin, couple dashes of Ras el Hanout. Purée and refrigerate and serve with pita.

Summer trifle made with rasberries, blueberries, lady fingers, lemon and coconut puddings

the fox chase inn lives again!

DSC_8635

File under longer letter later but I just had to share: I was invited to tour an AMAZING adaptive reuse by the new owners of the historic Fox Chase Inn on Swedesford Road in West Whiteland just before the intersection of Ship Road.

I have written about the Fox Chase Inn and its  equally gorgeous neighbor the Benjamin Jacobs House before. Both are being restored. Both are being restored by people who care enough to do it right and who reside there.

I will post more photos at a later time but I just wanted to say WOW!!!! It is a beautiful restoration!  Every township manager and supervisor in Chester County should look at what is happening in West Whiteland. Actual historic preservation and adaptive reuse.

DSC_8652

Fox Chase Inn

The Fox Chase Inn on Swedesford Road was the first licensed public house in West Whiteland township, acquiring its first tavern license in 1786. Prior to that time, it had been a family home and, briefly, from 1775 to 1778, the home and workship of Eli Bentley, a well-known clockmaker. John Quinn  was the owner by 1783 and after securing his license for the tavern, continued to run the public house until his death in 1793. David Williams was the new owner and he rented the inn to Thomas Cummins who ran it until 1800. After that time, no further petitions for license were filed for the Fox Chase.

pa state rep sue helm wants to take away your rights.

 
Meet State Rep. Sue Helm. The architect of the disaster bill known as PA HB 809. Quite simply stated, this bill would render any local municipal government useless in the ability to control off-campus student housing. 

Basically, if you live near animal house, your local municipality would not be able to do one thing about it and well you could get tons of these group rentals where you live and have no say. It is kind of ironic that a Pennsylvania a Republican State Representative seems to think private property rights are so subjective, but hey this is the very nature of politics, right?

Local officials are asking their constituents to contact Representative Helm regarding HB 809. So I did. I did a post to page on her Facebook page. Maybe I should have e-mailed her at shelm@pahousegop.com or tweeted at her @RepHelm because mysteriously like everyone else I know who contacted her through Facebook, the post disappeared. There are no “posts to page” permitted I guess?

Now I was polite, after all she has broadcast all over she is fighting breast cancer. I really wish to be respectful of that as I am a breast cancer survivor. But when I and others take the time to comment on HER legislation PA HB 809 and every comment seems to disappear, what’s to respect ?

I was polite. I asked her if she had ever lived with problem student rentals where she lived? Asked her if she had ever woken up to 20 cars on a neighboring lawn and beer cans and bottles everywhere?  (I did) 

Had she ever been unable to park on her street because the off campus student rentals always took all the parking?  

Or ever had watched as a friend of mine once did as a college student late at night urinated on her porch and her young child’s toys just because they felt like it.

 I asked her if she had ever been unable to sell great houses for a long time like friends of mine experienced in a Chester County community because their township turned a blind eye and they lived next to animal house. I know people who had similar issues in Radnor and Lower Merion and Haverford Townships and those are townships which regulate student housing.

I neglected to mention had she ever lived next to a slumlord owners student rental that burned to the ground. I did once upon a time. We watched college students who were seniors lose everything a couple of days before Thanksgiving. And because of wind conditions we were scared for hours the fire would jump to our roofs.

If you live in PA please take the time and post a polite message on this lady’s page or email, phone or tweet at her regarding PA HB 809 which will render local municipalities helpless when dealing with off campus student housing. This  bill would hog tie local municipalities and they would be unable to act and help residents and basically it would so bypass any and all local zoning we could get these houses anywhere and everywhere. It would take away our rights.

 Imagine West Chester, Tredyffrin, Lower Merion, Haverford Township, Radnor or wherever you lived with off campus student houses that didn’t have to follow any basic community rules and regulations because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took our  rights away?  We already experience this right now if we have any special needs (broad term means more than one thing) group houses in neighborhoods. And much like group student rentals sometimes these houses are ok, but just as often they are not.  

  
Our homes are our castles. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t protect us from wanton development even on old superfund sites, and now they want us to just say yes please may we have some more on group student rentals ?

Please Contact Rep Sue Helm and tell her to stop the nonsense known as HB 809. But make sure you contact your own State Rep to and tell them whatever you tell her.

Community Matters: PA House Bill 809 Would End Tredyffrin’s Right to Regulate Student Housing

PA House Bill 809 sponsored by State Rep Susan Helm of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties will change college rental restrictions if passed.

Helm’s proposed legislation claims that it is discriminatory for municipalities to single out students with rental regulations and would short-circuit any municipal ordinance that prohibits the occupation of a dwelling unity by students or unrelated individuals living together.
The proposed legislation would allow a municipality to enact and enforce ordinances that regulate things like noise levels, parking, and health and safety concerns. House Bill 809 addresses municipal rental restrictions that single out students, suggesting that this is discriminatory, based on an assumption that they will be problem neighbors.
PA House Bill 809 would override any current municipal housing ordinances that restrict the use of single-family homes, as college student rentals. The proposed legislation states that a municipality would not be able to prohibit the occupation of a dwelling based on an individual’s matriculation status (that is, if they are enrolled in college) or on the number of unrelated individuals sharing the property.
In the Mt. Pleasant community of Tredyffrin Township, the conversion of traditionally family-occupied homes to student rental properties has led to ongoing problems among the neighbors. Beyond the late-night noise, increased traffic, liter, illegal parking, the permanent residents of Mt. Pleasant are frustrated with the increasing number of student rentals and what they view as the adverse effects caused by the influx of students.
Because of the ongoing citizen complaints in Mt. Pleasant, Tredyffrin Township passed two ordinances in 2010, which placed zoning restrictions on the student rentals as a way to protect the rights of the permanent residents in the township.

Towns fight for limits on rowdy student neighbors
Philadelphia Inquirer
Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:08 AM

Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, underage drinking, public urination, Animal House behavior.
Those are perennial complaints in neighborhoods where college students live, local officials say. And with the start of the fall semester just a few weeks away, that’s why they aggressively oppose a bill that would remove their restraints on student housing.
Sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm (R., Dauphin) and backed by landlords, it would prohibit rental discrimination against students and end limits on the numbers of unrelated people allowed to live in a house or apartment. 
….In all, more than 50,000 students attend colleges and universities in Philadelphia’s neighboring Pennsylvania counties, and campus housing hardly can accommodate all of them.
Disruptive behavior is inevitable when “you combine youthful exuberance with alcohol,” said Carolyn Comitta, the mayor of West Chester, which hosts West Chester University’s 15,000 students


the new faces of sexual assault

The New York Magazine photo of Cosby victims as captured in a screen shot this afternoon

I was pretty much at a loss for words when I saw this photo in New York Magazine’s article about Bill Cosby victims who are speaking out.

As a woman I was very moved seeing this photo. And it has nothing to do with whether or not you as a woman have ever been a victim of sexual assault, it’s because no matter what you think of these women or what they may or may not be getting paid, coming forward like this is actually incredibly brave and they deserve our respect for doing so.

From neighborhood parties, to high school and college campuses and beyond, to wherever you can think of, violence against women happens.  And a  lot of the time women know exactly who their attackers are. And for any number of reasons starting with blame the victim, it is hard for these victims to come forward. They repress what happened, they stay silent.

This is an insane article. And the individual stories of these women are chilling and impossible to ignore.

Bill Cosby was an American icon and especially dear to many in the Philadelphia area as he was born in Philadelphia.

Here is the link to the article:

New York Magazine: ‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

One by one, they came forward, finding safety in their staggering number and a world that was finally ready to believe them.

By and Portfolio By 

Read it.

Wow.