a glimpse at downingtown’s industrial past

Downingtown has many ghosts of her past.  Maybe someday someone will come in with clever adaptive reuses of some of these structures – there is plenty of industrial adaptive reuse on the East Coast – in Pittsburgh and throughout New England, for example.

For now, these old and quite broken structures make for some interesting photographs…

why do we need this and road stupidity

Why do we need mini-electronic billboards on gas pumps?  Will someone kindly explain that?  When I go to get gas, seriously it is o.k., I don’t need to watch television too.  I find these very annoying:

And let’s talk road stupidity. Snapped this as a passenger in a car somewhere near Guthriesville and Glenmoore. We were behind this road foolishness and held our breath until speed racer turned off:

antiques exploring….

Down on Little Conestoga Road not so long after you pass through Eagle, there is a barn.  It’s an antiques barn I have been obsessed with discovering for over a year.

This past Saturday after months of closed barn doors, it was open. They aren’t quite ready for what the owner describes as their season, but they let us poke around.

I had so much fun.  It is packed to the gills with all sorts of stuff and I look forward to future exploration as it reminds me of a similar barn I stumbled upon in rural New Hampshire once upon a time.

I also look forward to exploring in MilkHouse in Glenmoore, although truthfully, the other barn just holds more interest and curiosity for me.



This has nothing to do with Chester County or anything to do around here and I am posting just because I find it fascinating:  the continuing saga of Huguette Clarke, the reclusive heiress who died in NYC at 104 in 2011:

Reclusive Heiress Leaves Behind 5 Homes Worth $180 Million

By Eamon Murphy

| Posted Mar 9th 2012 4:20PM

When Huguette Clark died in spring 2011, she left behind a massive fortune, two conflicting wills, the mysterious aura of recluse, and some of New York City’s choicest real estate. Now the fates of three apartments owned by the famed philanthropist, who was last photographed more than 80 years ago, are set to be settled: The residences are on sale for $55 million.
As perhaps befits the homes of a noted recluse, the apartments are said to be frozen in time, stuck somewhere around the Gilded Age and therefore in need of “significant work,” according to the Daily Mail. Located at 907 Fifth Avenue, they include a total of 42 rooms and take up 17,000 square feet. Two of them together comprise the building’s eighth floor, while the third occupies half of the 12th and top floors. Also among Clark’s assets are a $100 million estate on the Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a $24 million country house in New Canaan, Conn.

NEW YORK — More than $3 million dollars on dolls. Nearly $2 million to her attorney’s favorite charity. Another $380,000 in checks written to the staff on a single day, just as the press started to ask questions. And a magic bottomless checking account with $43 million to spend.

These details emerge from court documents filed in the early stages of a legal battle over the $400 million copper-mining fortune of the late reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. The documents give us new glimpses into the life of one of America’s richest families. And they raise new questions about the actions of her attorney and accountant, who remain under criminal investigation even after her death in May at 104.

Attorneys are readying for a battle in the probate court known as Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan.

Huguette Clark scandal sparks interest in copper king father’s lavish past    

Magnate William A. Clark built 34-room mansion in Montana mining town in 1880s


    updated     2/22/2012 11:18:10 AM ET2012-02-22T16:18:10

A scandal over the fortune of reclusive mining heiress Huguette Clark has renewed interest in the life of her father, copper magnate William A. Clark, once one of the nation’s richest men.

The scandal has also brought more attention to the 34-room mansion that W.A. Clark built in Butte more than a century ago.

That home is now a bed-and-breakfast known as the Copper King Mansion and offers visitors a glimpse into the pampered lives of the robber barons who ruled American business at the turn of the previous century…..

William Andrews Clark was born in 1839 in Pennsylvania and moved to Montana in 1863.

Full coverage: Huguette Clark mystery

He eventually struck it rich in the mining camps and moved to the boom town of Butte in 1872. He branched out into numerous businesses, including banking, copper smelting, newspapers and railroading. He entered politics, serving as president of the Montana constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1889. He was elected by the state Legislature to the U.S. Senate in 1901, serving a single term.

In fact, his purchase of a Senate seat through the bribing of legislators led eventually to the constitutional amendment calling for the direct election of senators.

Clark also created the city of Las Vegas in 1905 as a way station for his Los Angeles to Salt Lake City railroad. Surrounding Clark County was named for him…

Clark left the Senate in 1907 and moved to a Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, where he devoted himself to his business interests and to acquiring art. He died in 1925 at the age of 86, leaving his children a fortune of more than $200 million.


His last surviving child was Huguette Clark, who was born in Paris. She was married briefly in her 20s to a bank clerk. They parted after only nine months.


After her mother’s death, Clark’s busy life in New York society slowed and she rarely ventured from her home. She voluntarily moved into a hospital in the 1980s. She died in May at the age of 104, leaving a $400 million estate but no children.


Family of heiress Clark claims fraud by nurse, others

A New York judge has suspended the attorney and accountant who administered her estate, after finding evidence they engaged in tax fraud that resulted in $90 million in unpaid federal gift taxes and penalties.


text this

I am glad the texting while driving ban has gone into effect in PA even if it is kind of dumb that the new state law kind of supersedes Philadelphia’s existing law.

Last week driving on Providence Road there was this person ahead of me in a white Nissan sedan.  They were WEAVING all over the road in broad daylight.  It was frightening to watch. I picked them up again later on Paoli Pike, and when I ended up next to them at an intersection, I saw the weave and bob reason: they were texting while driving.

I have been almost hit as a pedestrian on the Main Line many times by texting iPhone mommies in a super important hurry.  When I see this I am always amazed that they are doing this, because almost every time, these ladies have had children in the car.  They are oblivious to everyone and everything around them, and that can cause dangerous consequences.

Maybe I am part Luddite since I haven’t even had a smart phone two years, but I am one of those people who doesn’t even talk on the cell phone while driving.  I know I can’t do both, so I don’t understand how people can text and drive. Or why they try to. Besides, unless someone is bleeding in the car, what can’t wait until you are parked somewhere?

Multi-tasking behind the wheel can be deadly, so here’s hoping this state law does some good.  I say that because I have yet to see people get pulled over for not having their lights on while their windshield wipers are on as well as people who drive with snow ledges on top of their vehicles.

Now if people could just be encouraged to take their time and not do speed racer on the roads and allow pedestrians to cross at legal cross-walks, we’d be talking.

Phoenixville Patch: Texting While Driving Ban Goes in Effect Thursday

A conviction carries a $50 fine, and it’s a primary offense. 

March 6, 2012



totally nutty in malvern

The penny-wise and pound foolish award of the week goes to Malvern Borough Council.  It is being reported by Malvern Patch that they are thinking of ditching their police department.

With all the development they have approved for the future, they will need their police force more than ever.  You can’t outsource everything and police and fire are one of those things I feel you just shouldn’t.

It’s like they just don’t want to re-negotiate the contract that expired and would rather just throw these hard-working individuals away who have faithfully served their community as opposed to roling up their sleeves and getting back to work.

When you hear about local governments discussing addled ideas like this, well it makes you want to throw away the local borough council, doesn’t it?

I hope the people of Malvern rally to save those who protect and serve.

An April 17 public hearing has been set for residents to discuss the possibility of contracting police services out to another municipality.

By Pete Kennedy   March 7, 2012

The Malvern Police Department could be disbanded and replaced by contractual services of a police department from a nearby municipality. The Borough Council floated the idea at its work session Tuesday night and scheduled a public hearing on April 17 to gather residents’ input.

“Council has considered and wants to consider openly, publicly, the possibility of providing for our police services through an alternative means than our own police department,” council president Woody Van Sciver said.

The borough’s contract with its police officers expired in December, and negotiations have been ongoing to construct a new one.

“We’re questioning whether, as a small-town police force with five full-time officers, we can really provide the complement of police services that we really need,” he said

supporting free speech and true good government is not “nonsense”

First of all, when I write an editorial, I sign my name to it.  And that includes in Journal Register publications of which The Daily Local is part of.

I am wondering today about  whomever wrote the editorial on West Vincent Township.  They did not sign their name so Santa Claus with a bad hangover could have scribbled it. And while entitled to their opinion as I am mine, I think they are being misguided and are also perhaps being misled.

The long and short of it is, one would *think* that a newspaper would be supportive of initiatives that preserved freedom of speech and good government, yes?  Well I am thinking this writer today prefers Pravda.  It is tempting to ask them why it is they always seem to go on the offensive with the people in West Vincent who seem to want to get better government and better government best practices in place.

For them to sort of kind of imply that West Vincent’s attempt to not regulate, but in fact, limit the public voice is perhaps not so bad is worrisome indeed.  Because that is what David Brown and the Supervisors of West Vincent want to do.  David Brown in his own words during his campaign said that he wanted more participation, that more people should come to meetings and in essence speak up.  Well they are starting to attend meetings and they are starting to comment, only West Vincent doesn’t like it because it runs contra to the township party line.  The people of West Vincent are trying to take back where they live and have a say in things.

I think a lot of people were happy to go along just to get along until West Vincent attempted eminent domain for private gain on Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show around Christmas.  That woke people up to their government.  Something like eminent domain generally does.

I find it incredulous that The Daily Local would put forth an opinion that the people of West Vincent are in essence wrong for wanting a say in where they live.  And they are criticizing some of the people who have in fact bought stories to them that sell their papers.  And how dumb are they that they can’t see what David Brown refers to as “outshouters” are in fact not.  Why is it o.k. for a female supervisor to be heard cussing at a public meeting and calling a resident a foul name, yet when the public is frustrated by the very government process that is wrong?

The Daily Local in their royal we should be looking at what is upsetting people, not supporting efforts to render them mute or close to it at public meetings.

Just my opinion as an outsider looking in, but I feel *very* strongly about public process, open government, good government and public participation.  The government in West Vincent doesn’t seem like they can follow their rules and structure that they have now, they can’t even manage to not “lose” meeting tapes according to residents can they?   So now they want to give the rules rules so everyone can follow them?  Am I following that correctly?  And *none* of this has anything to do with a small town government that is somewhat out of its depth in a modern world and really just at the end of the day might not want to work so hard?  Lordy if that is what some officials believe, step down, it seems there are more than enough people interested in rolling up their sleeves and doing a good job for the home team, right?

And if I can sign my name to what I write for newspapers, and so can some of the editors I have written under, I think so can the editorial staff of The Daily Local.

Here is the editorial:

We are going to assume that Tom Helwig, a resident of West Vincent and a representative of that township’s Republican Party, was speaking hyperbolically recently when he compared the township’s board of supervisors’ attempt to reasonably regulate the manner in which the public is given the opportunity to speak to the remnants of the failed communist system in Russia.

Helwig accused the supervisors of attempting to hinder the comments of those with opposing viewpoints….“Our purpose is to create a structure within which all West Vincent residents can speak freely at public meetings, rather than to continue permitting a few individuals to outtalk and outshout everyone else,” said newly elected Supervisor David Brown. “Those outshouters complain that our intent is to limit public participation. Nonsense.”

Supporting free speech and true good government is not nonsense.   Making light  of people concerned with true good government in my opinion is also not right.  Enough said, except this is my opinion and I am entitled to it.

wine roads of chester county

An item has caught my eye in The Daily Local today that I think is well worth passing along:

Posted: 03/07/12 07:36 am   

Whether you are a first time trailblazer or a vino veteran, the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail is a collection of seven award-winning wineries and is worth every sip. Their annual “Barrels on the Brandywine” event is approaching fast, and it’s your chance to sample each and every one of the winery’s favorites, plus score a taste of the recent harvest.


The “Barrels on the Brandywine” event will take shape every Saturday and Sunday in March 2012, jumpstarting on Saturday, March 3 and running through Sunday, April 1.


I have planned wine tasting events, attended wine tasting events and have even done the wine road of Alsace (France).   I have also visited many of the wineries on the North Fork of Long Island (some of those wines produced in the Hamptons are quite nice.)

This is an event right up my alley and sounds fun.  Now granted, as nice as some of them are, the Chester County wines will always be step-children to the wines of Oregon, California, and Europe.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do this.  The wines have grown over the years as the local wine makers have gained experience, had vines and processes mature, and so on. Plus touring wineries is just plain fun.  They are cool and interesting places.

Please drink responsibly and remember a tasting is just that, a taste.  It’s not supposed to be a St. Patty’s Day Pub crawl so if you do this, be responsible.

For more information and to purchase tickets or passports or whatever they call them visit the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail Web Site.

Participating wineries are:  CHADDSFORD WINERY, 632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA (610)388-6221; www.chaddsford.com, KREUTZ CREEK VINEYARDS, 553 S. Guernsey Rd., West Grove, PA; (610)869-4412; www.kreutzcreekvineyards.com, PARADOCX VINEYARD, 1833 Flint Hill Rd., Landenberg, PA; (610)255-5684; www.paradocx.com, PENNS WOODS WINERY, 124 Beaver Valley Rd., Chadds Ford, PA; (610)459-0808  www.pennswoodswinery.com, and one actually in Lancaster County (so I don’t quite get how it counts on the wine roads of Chester County, but I digress. The Lancaster County vineyard is TWIN BROOK WINERY, 5697 Strasburg Rd., Gap, PA; (717)442-4915; www.twinbrookwinery.com

If you decide to attend and buy tickets because you read about it on this blog, be sure to tell them you read about this on chestercountyramblings.  I am not being compensated for publicity, but I think they should know where the pay it forward came from.   Personaly I hope I have time to go and take photos as I think this sounds like so much fun!



it’s not nice to criticize, but…

……It took that reporter from the Daily Local/Mercury almost a month to report on skeet shooting leaving Ludwig’s Corner.  I think that’s a bit ridiculous.

By SARA MOSQUEDA-FERNANDEZ smfernandez@journalregister.com

Posted: 03/05/12 12:57 pm

WEST VINCENT – Ludwigs Corner Horse Show Grounds will no longer be home to the Chester Springs Skeet Shooting Club.

The gun club, which had been established on the grounds for about 60 years, disbanded on Monday, Feb. 6….According to Jacobs, the contract for the gun club’s use of the property as a shooting range allows for a 12 month notice to end the lease, giving them until February 2013 to stop using the site for skeet shooting.

“It’s just amazing that they were thinking of us instead of themselves,” said Jacobs…….Most of the complaints related to the noise [WERE] caused by the sport, however, according to Jacobs, when the neighboring houses are sold, the contracts inform new owners that they will be living next to a gun club.

  Jacobs also said that the club, which was founded primarily by World War II veterans, was not only renter of a portion of the property, but also gave the association significant donations, and provided several volunteers for the events held at the grounds, most notably the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show.

Oh and here’s a lil’ update from the Sainted Chicken (think maybe The Daily Local can check this out?):

People have asked what happened at the township hearing (Feb 13, 2012) for the Pam Brown Corrective ordinance. The video is on the Township website. In a quick synopsis, there was a resident that asked what the changes were and would the changes be explained. He was told that “the ordinance had been on the website for months and that he should have read it” (paraphrased). Shortly thereafter, several people (Patty Kozac, Michelle Thomas, unidentified others) pointed out that there was change towards INCREASE in density, not reduction. The Supervisors denied the claim for several minutes stating that is was a decrease. It was realized that the wording did INCREASE density. The Supervisors took almost a ONE HOUR executive session while the crowd waited and now will perform further review. Apparently, the Supervisors did not read the ordinance either.Nor do they follow the law, once again. To meet in Executive Session, the subject must meet certain criteria.

http://www.lgc.state.pa.us/deskbook06/Issues_Citizens_Rights_02_Pa_Sunshine_Act.pdf     See page #42

For the density discussion Meeting February 13, Video Part 1, 24.24 minutes to 32.30 minutes. The rest of the hearing is gone. Poof! Disappeared. I understand that the hearing went from 7:30 pm to about 11:00 pm. Only 30 minutes of the hearing is available. Why? ANOTHER video missing. Most likely to prevent the viewer from hearing the Pam Brown discussion. Just like the missing December 16 video which most likely is to keep the viewer from catching Clare Quinn calling a resident a “bitch”, (which Clare Quinn denies).

The hearing has been continued to April 2 for the Pam Brown Corrective Ordinance and will continue to field questions and figure out what has been changed and why. I recommend people be there. I understand the last hearing was well attended.

By the way. In today’s Pottstown Mercury, a sad article on the demise of the Skeet Club in Ludwig’s Corner.
It is my belief this is the strategy of the township to erode finances from the Horse Show to push them towards a sale of the property to the township. Support the Horse Show. Become a member. Attend the event. Remember those that are still attempting to take it away, albeit subversively.

To see my previous mailings please click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos  As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.   Especially though, if you don’t want to continue to receive my mails, please tell me, it will be done.  Just hit reply to this email or write to chestercountynews@gmail.com
Best wishes

Disappearing public meeting tapes?  Wow that is so Good Government for West Vincent, isn’t it? I mean good lord, I criticize Lower Merion but they make the meeting tapes available and run them on public access television. Radnor is even easier access to things of a sunshiney nature.  Look at West Vincent and their “minutes may be available” of it all.  Seriously?  Aren’t they required to make things like this available, not lose meeting tapes, minutes, etc?  Who are the state reps and state senators that serve in and near West Vincent? I am also curious to know is West Vincent this bass ackwards because they seceded from the rest of the Commonwealth of PA and possibly the U.S.?    Seriously, the more I hear about West Vincent the more I wonder how the State hasn’t looked closely at them and the way they do business at a minimum.  Mayberry politics at their worst. West Vincent needs sunshine and a good broom.

being discussed in chester county: pennsylvania and politics of the uterus

I am going to wade into uncomfortable waters in conservative Chester County.  I found a post on the Phoenixville Patch that is worth discussing.  It is by a woman name Lisa Longo.  Apparently Politics of the Uterus is the key to 2012 politics in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Here is an excerpt:

Blog: What is the GOP Thinking? And Why Are They in My Uterus?

I have to say, I never expected the GOP to so totally torpedo itself.

How could they have mishandled everything to this extent? First they unleash their extreme caucus, also known as the “tea” “party,” which leads to the birth of the Occupy Movement. Then they decide to take the party right off the cliff by picking a fight with women, and not just any one woman, they made ALL of us angry over the non-issue (to women) on their issue of contraception in health care.

And now some State Legislators are attempting to pass heinous, invasive and unconstitutional bills that will insist a woman be given a mandatory ultrasound prior to abortion. It is beyond offensive….

Which brings me to another interesting movement born recently, the call for a nationwide day of protest in state capitals. Karen Teegarden had an idea, to bring women together and raise our voices and let legislators know we have had enough. What started as the We are Women march has now become the United Against the War on Women March, and it is going to be one amazing day of nationwide protests. More info at: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/UniteWomen?sk=wall

This day of national protest will be our message to the GOP: stop assaulting my rights! And to tell you the truth, I feel constantly assaulted by the GOP. Starting with my arrest at the first Tar Sands, and the constant fight to get the FRAC Act passed, the repeated fight to stop the Keystone XL, the cuts to education, health and welfare, and now this, the final insult, they want to take away my right to control my own body…..The bill in PA is scheduled for a March 12 vote. Between now and then we need a fast, and furious, campaign, to make sure the GOP is put on notice: vote yes on this bill and we will do everything we can to make sure you are not re-elected. It is time to explain to legislators in no uncertain terms that the GOP has no business in my uterus.

What a woman chooses to do with her own body is a personal matter and neither legislators, or men in clerical (methinks the Catholic Church needs to deal with it’s out of control and pedophile priests before they open their mouths further) or judicial robes should decide what is best for her.  My choices as a woman are not necessarily the ones another woman would take, and while among female friends we might discuss what we do, that is not to say we presume to tell other women what to do with their bodies.

And yes, I am Catholic and I am a registered Republican.  My views are my business, but I do not feel any of us have the right to tell other women what to do unless they are abusing a privilege.

Perhaps I would not have a feeling on this if I were not a breast cancer survivor. But I am.  And as a survivor of not yet a year I can tell you sometimes it bugs me when non-medical professionals who are not of my inner circle or family presume too far in telling me what to do.  It’s a walk a mile in my bra kind of thing. Don’t play politics of the uterus – which incidentally did not work so well for monster charity Susan G. Komen recently, did it?

As a woman, it is hard to get the medical treatment you want at times, even with health insurance.  I think that politically driven legislation like HB 1077 in the PA House is dangerous to women’s health initiatives overall.  Already there is enough we can’t get coverage for on a regular basis as a woman.

Not all women are meant to be mothers.  Not all women can afford to be mothers.  Life and medical issues precluded me from being able to bear children.  Yet I do not feel as a woman I have the right to judge other women in this area.  Unless of course they treat their kids like litters of stray kittens dumped in a box on the side of the road.  Then I might have something to say just because as someone unable to have their own children I am astounded when women do not recognize how lucky they were to be able to choose to become a parent.

Anyway, the furor over HB 1077 grows.  Bills like this reduce all women to being mindless brood mares.  It is also because of legislation like this that yes, movements like Unite Against The War on Women and We Are Women March- PA (and other states) are growing.  Much like the protests of the 1960s and 1970s, I feel these protests are going to be monsters.  And are they all wrong?

Any discussion, here?  I am irked that as someone who needs routine ultrasounds of all kinds that I have to jump through AMAZING hoops for approvals  and proper codes with health insurance, yet a politically driven bill like this means that women who might not CHOOSE to have an ultrasound will get one whether they want one or not!

The primary sponsor of this bill is ironically a woman.  Kathy L. Rapp.

Here are the rest of the sponsors:


















Adolph is Delaware County and serves part of Radnor Township.  Truitt is Chester County. Lawrence is Chester County.  Schroder is Chester County. Hennessy is Chester County.  Barrar is Chester County. Kllion is Chester County.

Dan Truitt has two websites I found.  One for campaign and one for “state-related” matters.  John Lawrences also has two websites.  The campaign website where he tells you how he will fight for affordable healthcare and his state spot. Check out the rest of the Chesco kids on this helpful page called Chester County PA Legislators.

I found a website called Chester County Politics which may have some politician info on it – haven’t delved into it, did not know it existed until today.