But East Whiteland has historical significance and as I do not wish to damage the spine of my book, I converted photos I took with my phone into a PDF so people can see it.
East Whiteland is one of those places thanks in part to organizations like the Chester County Planning Commission that people think they can just keep dumping development in. Someone said to me again last week how King of Prussia was once upon a time farms and open space. They then compare East and West Whiteland to King of Prussia, as in these municipalities are getting WAY over-developed.
I have said it before that I object to the Chester County Planning Commission being head up by a carpetbagger from Lower Merion Township. He doesn’t live in our county, how much of the history of places like East Whiteland does he know?
East Whiteland is a funny place because as much as it use to be farms, it was also equal parts mines and quarries and industrial. That of course is why there are some astoundingly toxic areas past and present in East Whiteland Township.
East Whiteland is home to random historical facts and locations. For example: Dead Horse Hollow. Yes, a lovely name and according to J. Wilson Gilmore was at one time located south of the then PA Railroad, a quarter-mile east of the township line. As the railroad was being built all dead horses and mules were…well…dumped there. Can you imagine how THAT place stunk to high heaven in warmer weather? Gross.
Or how about Cabbagetown? It was a small community on Summit Road. And Barker’s Corners? That was a little village at the intersection of Swedesford and Church Roads.
Or how about the giant Penn Oak that was said to pre-date colonial settlers on Flat Road? Does it still stand somewhere, or was it cut down or did it die years ago?
What about the Native Americans who once lived and roamed what is East and West Whiteland? Like the Okohocking which were for a while given a 500 acre reservation somewhere in Willistown Township? Do the residents of East Whiteland know the Indians referred to the area as “The Dark Valley” because of all of the woods? Of course today they would not recognize the area given all of the development.
How many know East and West Whiteland used to be one Whiteland? And they split into two areas circa 1764-1765?
Around 1777 do people realize that George Washington and his army after the Battle of the Brandywine marched into the area and encamped near Malin Hall? To quote Mr. Wilson:
With his troops deployed along this ridge from Three Tuns at the junction of King Road and Goshen Road, and west approximately three miles as far as Ship Road, he was in an excellent position with an army of approximately 11,000 men. During his march up the Valley, quite a number of local farmers joined his ranks.
And residents see reference to the Battle of the Clouds in East Whiteland but do they realize this was a battle which didn’t actually ever happen? Why? Inclement weather, apparently. Mr. Wilson states had the battle occurred, “the British army might well have been routed.”
The history goes on and meanders from schools to Duffy’s Cut to all of the inns and taverns and residents and industry and quarries and farms and early schools and churches. Did you know the Catholic Church tried several times to build a church in various locations in East Whiteland but were never able to complete the task? Mr. Wilson also talks about Ebenezer AME whose ruin barely stands today on Bacton Hill Road with its abandoned graveyard with a mobile home park to one side, and new development approved last year to spring up and around it.
This book is fascinating and this is why I wish more local historical societies had really good websites with archives available online. I can tell you East Whiteland does not. Bits of local history continue to get lost and it would behoove the township to give the historical society more resources or help them build a proper website and archives.
Things in this book Mr. Wilson refers to are a mystery to me. What were the Speakman apartments, for example? And the Chester County Academy? Where is it?
And what of a crazy cool log barn ?
Or a crazy cool log cabin? “South of Conestoga Road, on Bacton Hill”?
But Mr Wilson’s book? To me finding a copy was like finding the holy grail. It’s fascinating. And I wish more would take an interest in the history of East Whiteland before everything of historical value disappears. Because if this township doesn’t start to have more interest that extends past people like me and members of the historical society, then what?
Until I got this book I had no clue that they totally celebrated East Whiteland’s Bicentennial. And then I found related to that, this super cool thing from a page about Frazer on Facebook:
And East Whiteland had a tagline/slogan before “The Heart of the Great Valley” and it was “Land of Limekiln, Plow and Millwheel”.
Enjoy the book, I think I got it all back into order before I converted to a PDF. East Whiteland has history. And it’s not just the modern-day history of groaning under development.
Every time a new gardening or garden/landscape show is going to premiere on US television I watch it. I am a rabid gardener and an avid gardener and I like to learn and be inspired to garden better, garden smarter, garden prettier.
But every single show I see on DIY or HGTV and now Bravo aren’t real gardening shows. These shows don’t give any gardener I know inspiration. And they aren’t really creating garden spaces where the homeowner learns about the plants and how to care for them after all the television crews are gone.
I had high hopes for Bravo’s Backyard Envy. But after watching the premiere episode, I think it’s going to be added to my skip it list and I’ll tell you why. And FYI the photos are screenshots I took from the television screen.
My sister lives in Manhattan. She has both a rooftop garden and a rear yard garden. I have watched closely what the gardening professionals have done with her spaces over the years and it’s nothing short of lovely. They are also for the most part, plants that she can care for, a garden space someone who doesn’t really garden or have time to garden can maintain. My sister has lovely maintainable spaces that are beautiful four seasons of the year.
Backyard Envy made me wince. In my opinion they don’t know what they’re doing and I wouldn’t hire them. Being a garden designer and landscape architect are very specific practices. The people who are the principles on this show aren’t landscape architects or true garden designers. Being a designer for Ralph Lauren stores/events and having space planning background and graphic design background doesn’t make you a landscape architect or a gardener.
And to add insult to injury, they butchered both the common names and Latin names for many plants. I don’t pretend to pronounce everything perfectly but if somebody gave me a garden design television show you bet your life I would learn how to pronounce everything before I was on camera or recorded!
I will admit that I found the roof deck of the house in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn (think that is where they were) clever, but I found some of the choice of plants unrealistic for the homeowners to maintain unless they wanted to pay someone to come in a couple times a week and take care of the space. Part of the trick to urban garden spaces is to also make it sustainable and relatively simple to care for because not everyone can afford staff to keep everything in garden magazine ready form 24/7. I also was uncomfortable watching them “blacken” wood up on the roof, because in my humble opinion something with a live flame should have been done outside and on the ground and then taken up to the roof after everything was cool.
The second property they were dealing with was up in Piermont, New York. Piermont is in Rockland county. It’s on the west bank of the Hudson river apparently. It is very attractive to people who want a more bucolic lifestyle yet still be somewhat close to New York City. It’s a very pretty place. It’s also not too far from the site of the now demolished Tappan Zee bridge. So, essentially it’s a place that is quasi-on the water, which means gardening has to take that into consideration right?
The show goes to the home of a couple with a very modern house on the edge of what seems to be a big pond. The space they want fixed up as usable garden space is literally 2 feet from the water. As soon as the crew starts digging water comes up. Well d’oh what did they think was going to happen? Can you say water table? Aquifer?
Their solution on the show reinforcing a bank with railroad ties and adding a French drain. French drain pipes are something we use in our gardens to direct water and deal with water. But when mother nature is RIGHT there with a body of water and not much space or slope, do we really think that is a long-term solution? Will that garden space even last? What happens if there’s a good storm or something? If those people didn’t have public sewer and it was away from their septic and public water, why didn’t these “experts” suggest things like willow trees? Or other, longer lasting solutions?
Why willows? Willows absorb water as they live for water. We planted one in our front yard when we moved into our house because we are not on public water we are not on public sewer and 1/2 of our front yard was extraordinarily wet because it was the low spot on the street leading to the woods in the rear. We now have a front yard that does much better in the rain and our garage doesn’t get flooded anymore. I have also improved the grade slightly of the flowerbeds next to the house and that helps. In other wet spots in our woods I have done things like plant giant pussy willows.
The garden space in Piermont was an attempt at a layered garden. But as opposed to what David Culp has done in his gardens (see David Culp’s website) or what I have seen British gardening treasure Monty Don do, this fell short. Sure it looked good for cameras, but what real gardeners prepare a riparian buffer and put echinacea / cone flowers in it? If you’re going to do a riparian buffer it has to actually have plants that all tolerate a lot of water and you need the right light and a lot of it. Echinacea/coneflowers also don’t like wet feet. I found out the hard way when I tried to plant them in a certain spot out front in a flower bed on the side of our property near the willow tree we planted. I had the right light, but it was an area that gets wet and the plants had a whole failure to thrive and eventually died.
There were also other plants that definitely don’t like wet feet that they planted on this episode, and/or didn’t seem to be right for the light. Maybe people who like the show are going to find me overly picky, but sorry not sorry for my opinions. I dig in the dirt. I wear gloves but I still get my hands dirty. And I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. One of those guys seemed like he was going to pass out if he actually got his hands dirty. If that’s the case, what’s he doing in a garden or on a show that creates outdoor spaces?
A real riparian buffer is a total work of art, and the other thing I found missing from this design were native plants. If it was my show I would embrace plants that were native to the area as well. And I would point them out because people are interested in that. And they should have spoken more about creating a riparian buffer on the edge of water and not just ” look at these pretty flowers”.
The problem I have with these shows (and not just this one) is I don’t think anything is sustainable long term. I think in a few years if that a lot all of these homeowners who participate in the shows will be looking for help. When you plant things for instant gratification to look good and tart up for the cameras, it’s like the online dating/relationship shows like the Bachelor or Bachelorette — what happens after the cameras stop rolling?
For me, the plants come first and whether or not I have a bar cart next to my pond if I had a pond would come second. As I grow my gardens I plan my seating areas around that. And maybe I am more of a traditionalist and I don’t want an outdoor living room out back. I have a living room already and it’s inside. As someone who has also deliberately planted layered gardens I can tell you it is work and maintenance.
I think the three folks who star in this show are very creative. But I don’t find them to be actual gardeners. And with all these lifestyle shows no matter which network you choose, it would be nice once in a while in the US if we had an actual gardening show. United States television could take a page out of BBC’s book. BBC offers fabulous gardening programs which is why am so happy to have access to them via the streaming services.
Is actual gardening such a boring concept in the US that we can’t get a real gardening show? Is there life beyond mega decks, outdoor man caves, and hardscaping? I think there is, and I know I’m not alone so I hope we get to see more of folks like Monty Don and his colleagues on this side of the pond.
As for me personally? I get to see how winter hardy some of my plants actually are in the next couple of days. Here’s hoping everything survives. Stay warm and thanks for stopping by.
Life got busy and sort of in the way and although the rest of the Christmas decorations have been put away for a while, I never actually took the Christmas tree down.
So today, I decided to bite the bullet and git r’ done.
I really hate putting the Christmas tree away. And because of that it’s probably good we use an artificial tree now.
I know there are people who keep Christmas decorations and Christmas trees up all year round. That I couldn’t do. I’m afraid if I did that they would start calling me Miss Havisham right out of Charles Dickens or something. Or sign me up for Christmasaholics Anonymous.
I am saying goodbye to my ornaments one by one. Like every year I swear I am going to put every ornament away perfectly and I know next year I will be telling myself I should’ve done a better job now in this moment.
Every ornament has its own little story.
The ornaments that came from my late father will go back into the boxes he had them in hopefully for one more year. The boxes sadly are falling apart and I know I am only going to be able to hang onto them for just so long. It’s not that I find the boxes of any great value, it’s just that it’s his writing on the outside of the boxes. So it’s a nice memory.
As I put the final bits of Christmas away I wonder if many years in the future whomever has my ornaments will love them as much as I do?
Perhaps to some that is a very strange and fatalistic thought. It’s just one of the funny things that my busy brain occasionally wonders. And I think part of the reason I wondered that is because of the vintage ornaments I have collected from estate sales and similar situations over the years. You can always tell when you’re buying an ornament if the ornaments were well loved.
OK well enough procrastination for me I have to finish up.
(PRNewsfoto/Vanguard/Shannon Stapleton Reuters) Have seen this photo used in multiple places on the Internet, especially today.
I just learned a little while ago of the death of Vanguard founder John “Jack” Bogle.
I guess you could call me and the rest of the folks who knew him first and other than the founder of Vanguard and founder of index funds as original “Bogleheads“. Bogleheads are in fact really disciples of his investment philosophies and strategies. They began around 1998 if I recall correctly. (They have chapters all over and meet in the Philadelphia area annually for a conference.)
Jack Bogle, Mr. Bogle as I always called him was my neighbor my growing up years living in Haverford. He was a contemporary of my parents and a Shipley dad. Mr. Bogle’s wife, Eve, was also a Shipley alumnus, so I would see them mostly at alumni events once we all moved away from the Haverford neighborhood I grew up in.
Mr. Bogle and his wife are two of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet. When I was growing up they had an English Springer Spaniel and so did we. (Maybe I should be saying “were” instead of “are” but I am still just sort of stunned that Mr. Bogle is gone.)
It’s funny, when you are a kid, you don’t realize someone is a Titan of Commerce and Industry and a pretty big deal. He was just our super nice neighbor and I think that was the way he liked it.
You can read article after article about Mr. Bogle saying how unpretentious and wonderful he was and think “how is that possible, that someone who had achieved so much was such a regular and caring person?” It is all true. He was just exactly that way. Humble, philanthropic, interested in people, loved to walk in our neighborhood. Genuine.
Over the past I would say 25 years literally where I saw Mr. Bogle most was accompanying Mrs. Bogle to events at Shipley. He was always current even on the most local of politics. Way back when I was part of the Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting Lower Merion Township over eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore, he and Mrs. Bogle did not treat me like I had leprosy when I saw them at a Shipley event at that time, and yes some more stiff upper lip Main Liners and Shipley personnel most assuredly did do that back then.
My first real job was as a registered marketing representative for The Delaware Group of Mutual Funds in Philadelphia when it was still independently owned. We are talking the 1980’s. I remember back then running into him and Mrs. Bogle somewhere and him asking me why I didn’t apply for a job at Vanguard. He was very amused when I told him salary and location.
At that time my position which was entry-level was around $13,000 a year at Delaware Group and $11,000 a year for a similar position at Vanguard. Actually, I would have loved back then to have been at Vanguard, but the money differential and being young and working in a city was just more attractive than suburbia and a suburban business campus. The irony? The attractiveness of being a city slicker going to happy hour at The Irish Pub eventually wore off.
I apologize, I don’t think I am writing this post very well. I am just sad. Mr. Bogle was just so nice. He had eyes that twinkled when he smiled or laughed. He was just of those people I enjoyed speaking to if even for a moment. Always.
When the news flit across my computer screen that he died, I just kind of sat there and said oh wow, oh wow. It is kind of like another door on growing up closing. I had a flashback memory of him walking in our neighborhood with his wife Eve (oh, how they adored one and other) – it’s amazing what lives in our subconscious, isn’t it? I also thought of his children – just as nice as the parents.
Were these people I was super close to? No but they were neighbors and part of the world in which I lived growing up. And wasn’t I lucky, because you truly don’t often meet people as genuine.
A man who believed in the value of introspection and who was always questioning his own motives and behavior, Mr. Bogle sought to define what it means to lead a good life. It was not about wealth, power, fame and other conventional notions of success, he concluded.
“It’s about being a good husband, a good father, a good colleague, a good member of the community. Everything else pales by comparison. The accumulation of material goods is a waste — you can’t take them with you, anyway — and the waste is typified by our financial system. The essential message is, stop focusing on self and start thinking about service to others.”
There are so many things popping up everywhere on major media outlets now, and the tributes and accolades will continue to flow. Like I said earlier, growing up for years I had no idea what he did and then how important he was. He was just Mr. Bogle from down the road.
Mr. Bogle had 8 basic rules for investing (and yes I cheated and pulled them off of his Wikipedia page) and here they are:
Select low-cost funds
Consider carefully the added costs of advice
Do not overrate past fund performance
Use past performance to determine consistency and risk
Beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
Beware of asset size
Don’t own too many funds
Buy your fund portfolio – and hold it
When people like Mr. Bogle pass away it is also sad because he was a true gentleman too. When you think Captains or Titans of Industry today you don’t see that very often. After all just look at who inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at present. Now there is a guy who could have learned from Jack Bogle. But I digress. (I do that.)
The shopping center where Resellers in Frazer is located was sold. I wrote about it December 1st. Resellers will be around until the end of month I believe.
Alderfer Auction is doing the merchandise liquidations in a series of auctions. I bought a small Eastlake side table for a fraction of what it was worth. It has a slate top and I thought it would make a good plant stand.
I went over to Resellers today to pick up my table and to preview what would be in the final couple of Alderfer Auctions.
The photo above shows my side table withOUT the slate top. Here it is with two Clivia plants on it:
There are a couple of more Resellers Auctions through Alderfer. Here are some preview items I thought were interesting:
I have gotten some wonderful things from Resellers over the years. Josh Unruh the owner has done a terrific job. You can also find him up at Stoudts Black Angus Antiques up in Adamstown, PA.
Resellers had a great run. I will miss it.
I hear the warehouse that Resellers is located in will be split up into multiple stores? Don’t know if that means two or more than two.
Resellers closing will create a definite void in my opinion. There are several stores which try to be like Resellers, but they never have been quite able to capture the eclectic mix they created.
So where should people go to treasure hunt once Resellers is closed? Here is my short list:
2. Classic Home Consignment 113 E King Street, Malvern, PA 19355
3. Habitat for Humanity ReStore Caln Caln Plaza Shopping Center 1853 East Lincoln Highway Coatesville, PA 19320
4. Habitat for Humanity ReStore Kennett New Garden Shopping Center 345 Scarlet Road Kennett Square, PA 19348
5. The Loft at Knots and Weaves 218 East King Street, Malvern, PA 19355
6. Old Soul Decor 119 W. Market Street, West Chester, PA 19382
7. The Rusted Rooster Marketplace 510 Route 313 Dublin, PA
8. The Smithfield Barn, Downingtown, PA (you can find them at places like Clover Market and Gas Works in Frazer, PA)
9. Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square – New Garden Shopping Center 345 Scarlet Rd, Suite 12 Kennett Square, PA 19348
10. Consignment Shop at Surrey 810 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, PA (the older ladies who work there are delightful, the manager less so)
11. Jake’s Flea Market 1380 Route 100, Barto, PA (obviously not open in the dead of winter as it’s mostly outdoor – keep an eye on their Facebook Page and website they will be back in April)
12. The Clover Market – with several locations seasonally in Bryn Mawr, Chestnut Hill, Kenneth Square, Collingswood NJ. Follow them on Facebook for the most up to date news.
I will also remind people to keep an eye out for Caring Transitions of Chester County sales and auctions. They are truly a hidden gem. I also recommend them highly for their senior downsizing and estate services.
Please note I have not been compensated in any way for my personally curated list above. These are businesses I patronize.