the haunted estate of goshen road?

Before Goshen Road becomes a Chester County Road it is in Newtown Township when you cross 252.  On the corner of 252 and Goshen Road is the estate once home to the now deceased John Du Pont who killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz in 1996 at his Newtown Square estate.

Foxcatcher Farm is the name of the property and it has been rotting for years.  You can see quite clearly the deterioration of the houses and barns when the leaves are down.  Today I decided to stop on the road and snap a couple of photos – I had my camera and a zoom lens.

The gatehouse is empty although someone has planted fresh mums in honor of the season.

It is sort of creepy.  What is going on with the estate as in the land?  I know there was an auction a while back and the estate as in all his assets was being challenged in court as recently as this past April.

I know in Pittsburgh they have begun filming a movie about John DuPont – also see “Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Sienna Miller to Grapple With Du Pont Wrestling Murder Drama”

I wonder who owns the estate now?  Is it still the Rouse Group? What are the plans for Foxcatcher renamed Ashford? Will there be many mini manses dotting a once pristine landscape and killing traffic there and everything else? Between that and the plans for the old Ellis School/Arco Chemical known as Ellis Preserve, wow…just wow….

Well no one ever said Newtown Township got it.  Sigh. It would be really cool to photograph the estate before whatever happens happens.






daily salvo goes to the dogs and amen to that!

I am posting this because it is just quite simply true and awesome!  Thank you Daily Salvo!  You can “like” Daily Salvo on Facebook and they deserve it for sticking up for the dogs.

one “giant” boo-boo after another…..

Giant as in Giant Food Stores is having one D’oh moment after the other.  I can’t take credit for the new game we are all playing. You see, my friend Ann started us all on the new game of “what did Giant misspell and mass produce and put in its stores today?”

So far this week (and it is only Tuesday) Giant can’t spell Wanamaker and Wegmans.

They have  posters in all the Giant Food Courts depicting old Philadelphia.  Only they misspelled Wanamaker. As in Wanamaker Building, John Wanamaker department store, etc., etc.  The photo here is from the Giant on Boot Road, and I have confirmation from other people who shop at other Giants that this mistake is in their local Giant stores too.

And then just now, my friend Ann noticed another boo-boo superior D’oh moment.

One would figure if you were going to tout your prices as being better than the competition, you would spell the name of whomever  or whatever correctly, right?

(Sigh, they did not)

So we are thinking someone in the Giant of it all needs spell check?

Giant was tweeted about this, but alas no response.

If you have a Giant boo-boo that you have seen, feel free to let us know!  You can tweet any Giant boo boos @gossipgirl19380 .

And here I thought I was only going to shame Giant for the lazy dairy man. A couple of weeks ago the first four cartons of eggs I opened all contained broken eggs.  So I handed them to the dairy man re-stocking the aisle.  He put one of the four dozen with broken eggs BACK on the shelf.

Giant seems to be headed towards its own Giant-shaming page, eh?  It definitely needs proof readers.

D’oh-ver and out.

new discoveries: frazer antiques

A while ago I met this delightful older lady named Molly who is an antiques dealer.  She told me she was also one of the dealers in Frazer Antiques.  At the time I remarked I had always wanted to stop into Frazer Antiques but just never had.

Well today I did. And I will be back.

Frazer Antiques is a bunch of dealers.  It is larger inside than it appears from its Lincoln Highway/Lancaster Avenue exterior.  For the most part, items are fairly priced.  And the condition of most items for sale is very good to excellent.  There are a lot of “smalls” and even larger furniture pieces.  There is a painted chest in there I am drooling over in the furniture of it all.

It is quite simply an old school antiques store that isn’t too full of itself – you know how some antiques stores are?  I get turned off by the antiques stores that either have personnel who size you up when you walk in the door and sniff disdainfully, are over priced, or then there are the dealers who just plain ignore you (like the woman who has the antique shop in the historic Sugartown Village building on Sugartown Road.)

The people at Frazer Antiques could not have been nicer and I had ADD by old stuff as soon as I walked in the door.  Things that I love to look at were there a plenty. The things that make my sweet man laugh at me: tole trays, white milk glass chickens, flow through blue and transferware, silver, depression glass of all hues, oil lamps, and fabulous old porcelain.  There were also dealers who had some cool textiles like Victorian crazy quilts, and interesting bits of jewelry here and there. And cool bits of framed art and terrific mirrors.

Just like l love my Smithfield Barn, this place is going to stay on my radar. Some of their dealers will be at one of my favorite annual shows – Antiques at Kimberton Show on November 17th and 18th .

Anyway…Frazer Antiques is open 7 days a week 10a.m. to 5p.m. The address is 351 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA 19355 (across the road from Classic Diner).  Again, it is a multi-dealer shop.  610-651-8299.

They have been in business for over 30 years.  Check them out!  Tell them you saw them mentioned on chestercountyramblings.





spreading the barn love of it all

Ok, now onto something I really love: The Smithfield Barn.

My barn of barns is having a sale!!!  Kris sent a message:

Happy Fall Everyone!
The barn will be open this FRI SAT AND SUN 10am to 4pm…..RAIN OR SHINE!!! Come out between raindrops and check out the treasures in the barn!   We have some great new stuff and the word of the week is vintage!  We are filled to the brim with lots of great new stuff. Some new items include metal wardrobes, wood boxes and trunks, great new lamps, wicker, dishes, toys, jewelry, and lots of great vintage finds from the 1940’s and 50’s.  As always come out, say hi, find a treasure or two and help us empty out the barn!
Smithfield Barn  425 Little Conestoga Road
P.S. For those who want a sneak peak come stop by Wed. or Thurs. the doors will be open all day (9-2 and after 4)while I finish unpacking boxes!!

Want to be on the barn’s mailing list?  smithfieldbarn  <at>  yahoo <dot> in

Tell them you read about them on chestercountyramblings!

tredyffrin has hired a new manager…

So, Tredyffrin has a new manager.  I still have a bad taste in my mouth from what the exiting manager Mimi Gleason and VP of the Board of Supervisors John P. DiBuonaventuro did to fellow blogger and friend and all around awesome lady, Pattye Benson who authors Community Matters.

Tredyffrin has hired one of their hometown boys, Bill Martin, formerly of Radnor Township fame and the Bashore years.  Not that Bill Martin was a particular fan of Bashore’s (I was told he wasn’t), he was just from that truly unfortunate era.  An era which took the fortitude of some persistent residents, commissioners, and others who were on the up and up to correct.  It was not, however, without blood shed.

Bill Martin went from assistant township manager (and vartious other positions) in Radnor to interim township manager in Radnor in early 2010 when Radnor was saved from the debacle of almost hiring problematic ex-Coatesville manager Paul G. Janssen Jr. as interim township manager.  Martin, however, was ultimately passed over for the permanent manager position when Bob Zienkowski was bought in from Ohio.

I will tell you honestly I am of the Radnor Bob Zienkowski fan club and with good reason – he is amazing. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.   That man walked in to a hot mess, rolled up his sleeves, and got busy.

As an aside, some timely news about Radnor as it relates to Chester County is Bob Zienkowski suggested at the October 15th, 2012 public meeting that Radnor consider studying to leave Delaware County and to join either Chester or Montgomery County.  Yes, municipal secession (see Radnor meeting on You Tube for 10/15/12 and start listening just before 9 minutes 42 seconds to catch this.) The irony is I have always felt Radnor Township had more in common with Chester County versus Delaware County,  but I digress.

Ok back to Bill Martin.  After Radnor, he went to Bridgeport – a very tiny municipality in Montgomery County.  He has been there about a year as per newspaper article I found. Of course, Bill Martin joins another mid level Radnor refugee of the Bashore era, Matt Baumann, who is Tredyffrin’s current Director of Planning and Zoning.  Matt helped me when I got the historical marker for the Wayne Natatorium.  He’s a heck of a nice guy.

Bill Martin is also a nice guy from what I have always heard told.  But truthfully, Tredyfrrin as I see it is a municipality in need of serious remediation ASAP.  And choosing a manager who may or may not be a politically connected local resident may not be the way to go here.  I am actually going to disagree somewhat with my esteemed blogging colleague Pattye Benson ever so slightly.

Pattye comments that this is the first time a Tredyffrin Township Manager is a  Tredyffrin resident and lives in the township.  Now I agree with the residency part, and I think the departing and in the end disappointing Mimi Gleason is actually a West Chester area resident.  What I do not agree with is choosing someone who lives in Tredyffrin now as a manager.  I think the best thing that could have happened to Tredyffrin would have been a new Township Manager coming in from waaaay outside Tredyffrin and the area, truthfully.

I hope I am wrong, but I wonder if Bill Martin will have the chops in the end to take on what needs doing in Tredyffrin.  Tredyffrin has historically been subject to whispers – people are afraid of retribution. And before you poo poo me here, look what happened to Pattye Benson when she spoke up?  That still does not sit right with me, and I still believe that troll of a supervisor John P. DiBuonaventuro as well as Tredyffrin Township’s administration owes her an apology, don’t you?  In true lettergate fashion, I say a written apology.

Insular politics and politics of one party rule without much balance is bad for a community – just look at the snarl of tangled politics that is Lower Merion Township.

So I will be looking for Bill Martin to be an independent voice, beholden to no one.  I hope he can accomplish that.  I hope after what he saw and experienced at Radnor Township during the Bashore years that he can bring a different tone to Tredyffrin.

Congratulations Bill Martin, but my oh my you have a large job ahead of you.

Tredyffrin Appoints New Township Manager/Something about the new manager is very different than his predecessors.

ByBob Byrne  Email the author  5:56 am

Community Matters and TE Patch Blogger Pattye Benson reports that Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Township Manager to replace Mimi Gleason, who left the position in September 17 after ten years with Tredyffrin Township…..What sets him apart from Gleason and others who have served as Tredyffrin Township Manager is that Martin is a resident of the township.

Full details on the new manager can be found here on Pattye Benson’s Community Matters/TE Patch Local Voices blog post.

no apples growing there, that’s for sure

OMG so sick of Toll! They are creating Barbie’s Plastic Dream Villages all over Chester County! And you can’t get traffic lights or directional arrows on existing lights where you need them, but Bryn Mawr Rehab gets a traffic light???

Yes indeed, much to the dismay of many, Toll Brothers got conditional approval from those ratable loving supervisors in Willistown to build more Applebrook Meadows (where are the apple trees incidentally?)

Yes, yes indeed…because you know Chester County won’t survive if Toll doesn’t add 53 more plastic homes. And as noted before, this is nothing compared to all the other Barbie’s Dream Villages they are planning for other parts of Chester County….

Once open space and farmland is gone, it’s gone.  And I still do not understand how it is the economy supports ALL this development?  After all it is not like there is not an ample housing supply is there?

Applebrook Meadows Phase II Gets Conditional Approval

The second stage of the Toll Brothers project will add 53 new homes in Willistown Township.

By Pete Kennedy Malvern Patch

The Willistown Township Board of Supervisors gave conditional land use approval to Toll Brothers to build 53 new homes in the second phase of the Applebrook Meadows development….Applebrook Meadows, located near Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital off Line Road, will eventually include 138 units in three phases. In 2011, the township approved the first phase of the development, which included 54 homes….Shoemaker, responding to a question from a resident, explained that there will be a new traffic light on Paoli Pike at the driveway to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, which will be installed by PennDOT. Shoemaker also serves on the township Planning Commission


(Please note my photo is of plastic houses farther out in Chester County, not Applebrook.  I was merely trying to make a visual point of the McPlasticness of it all)


the forecast is continued cloudy in west vincent

I found an article this morning which leaves me slightly stunned.  West Vincent Township, that tiny hamlet in Chester County that seems to have an inordinate amount of issues and examples of bad government and municipal thugginess, is at it again.

Apparently, sunshine and transparency in government is for other people. The Daily Local is reporting the following:


WEST VINCENT — The Board of Supervisors unanimously repealed its policy of publishing official documents to the township’s website, saying that the policy is “unnecessary” and has had adverse effects.

The decision came during the supervisors’ meeting on Monday, coupled with the announcement that the policy would be reduced to an informal guideline.

The policy to post certain township documents, including meeting agendas, minutes, announcements and policies, was “created as a courtesy to some residents,” said Supervisor Clare Quinn.

According to Quinn, the decision to repeal the policy stemmed from an overwhelming number of requests for additional documents….Brown said one of the issues with the policy was that there was difficulty posting documents on the website within a week of their original publication, and that reducing the policy to a guideline would help resolve the matter.

Well blow me over, someone get those poor people some Internet technology.  They can pay well enough to have moving photos and silliness on their municipal website but not information that would actually be helpful to the residents let alone show that West Vincent Township complies with sunshine and transparency laws in PA? Yowza people!

This is deeply, deeply troubling.  When municipalities go this far to say why they should not release what should be public information in a timely manner, does that mean they are hiding things???  Here is a link to their Right to Know Form . They deserve to be flooded.

Sigh…this municipality is so scary backwards.  So much beauty where it is located and such decay underneath…

And speaking of Clare Quinn, does she have a new business?  If so, are the taxpayers of West Vincent going to continue to be on the hook for her healthcare benefits?  Because correct me if I am wrong but if she is opening a small business she can at least get benefits for herself under the business, right? Self-employment is employment, right? It is easier to get benefits as a business versus an individual, right?

So anyway I have some gal pals who love tea rooms and they told me a place called the Coventry Tea Room was closing – so I looked up their website:

I was curious about Tacie’s so I dug around. So Tacie’s is owned by Coventry Enterprises LLC whose address tags back to Clare Quinn if that where she actually lives ? (And you have to put the corporate names into the forn and submit to see info – see screen shot photos at bottom of this post)   Well, if all true, good thing I do not travel to Pottstown much as I just can’t by a moral sense of right and wrong support a business whose owner once attempted eminent domain for private gain (Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds). And it is a shame because I love little local places like this.  But in this case, I can’t overlook ownership, and I am truly sorry….

Hope Clare doesn’t borrow any fabulous recipes without attribution, right?  But I bet Clare will have lots of yummy products from Birchrun Hills Farm, another business I unfortunately also choose not to patronize because of Ken Miller, who is as everyone knows also a supervisor in West Vincent who was in favor of eminent domain for private gain at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show. (Farmer Ken has been remarkably quiet at meetings hasn’t he?)

And what is up with the Chicken Man is dead posters in Birchrunville Post Office?  And not just about Chicken Man.  Is this how they govern in West Vincent?  Fear and thuggery?  How come the developments in West Vincent are getting fresh paving and none of the older back roads?

The shame of West Vincent is that if they spent half the time doing positive things in this twisted hamlet versus what they actually do, this would be among the most desirable places to live, wouldn’t it?


Today is a sad day for me.  Today I had to say good-bye to one of my critters.  A little red-brown dachshund named Mr. Peanut.

Mr. Peanut entered my life with the oversized name of Eugene.  He was one of Bill Smith’s boys from Main Line Animal Rescue a few years ago.

When I rescued him his story was a sad one – he had been in a fire and abandoned by his humans.  As the story goes a kind fireman bought him to MLAR.  A miniature dachshund, he was even smaller when I rescued him.  And he had never had basic veterinary attention.  He was in fact, seven pounds and a few ounces and for his size, he should have been heavier.

He quickly wormed his way into my heart and the hearts of others in my life both friends and family.  He was a smart little guy and very vocal for lack of a better description.  He used to make this happy sound we called  “mrrrrrrrr”  .  My friend Barb always thought he would be a great children’s book.  Unfortunately, Mr. Peanut and I never got around to writing it.

As Mr. Peanut aged he lost both his hearing and his eyesight.  Yet for a good long while he adapted.  But in the middle of the summer he had a seizure and was never the same since.  The past few weeks he started to slide more and more down hill, barely able to walk, and when he did walk it was mostly in circles.  And although he was eating, he was losing weight by the day.

Today he told us it was time to go.  If you listen to your pets, they do tell you.  It is heart breaking when you accept what they cannot say in words.

I don’t think losing a dog ever gets easier, and I have cried buckets today, and will probably do so for a while.  But I always promise my pets I will never keep them around just for me, and I have never broken that promise.  Today however, was really hard.

Maybe this is not the best time to be writing this post because emotionally I feel so raw, but he was such an awesome little dog, he deserved a shout out.

So now my little friend has gone to the rainbow bridge.  I miss him already.

A final note is to remember that there are a lot of wonderful dogs like Mr. Peanut who need loving homes.  Don’t shop….adopt.  And support local rescues like Main Line Animal Rescue.

Mr. Peanut was 14.  He had a lot of fans.  Including a very special reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer who is one of my mentors.  This is what she wrote today…read with tissues:

Miniature Dachshund dies, his work on earth done Montco Memo/Bonnie Cook

Even the smallest dogs have a job to do.

A miniature dachshund named Mr. Peanut had such a job. It was seeing his owner, Carla Zambelli, a Montgomery County blogger, writer, and photographer, into safe harbor from life’s hard knocks.

There was something about that joyful, high-pitched bark and the dancing on little back legs that was consoling when he greeted you at the door, even if you didn’t know his story.

Lifted onto your lap, he would burrow into your armpit and fall asleep, a package of warm contentment.

Mr. Peanut did not have a good start in life.

Near as we can tell, Mr. Peanut was found by firemen abandoned outside a gutted housing complex in Norristown in the mid-2000s. His family simply never went back for him. The firefighters scooped him up and took him to Main Line Rescue, where Carla saw him and was smitten.

When the experts examined him, they found that he had never been given dog food, leash training, or any medical care. Most of his teeth were rotten and had to be removed. He spent the rest of his life taking antibiotics for various health problems.

Carla had some setbacks, too. Her personal life went south in 2010, and Mr. Peanut, along with standard dachshund, Iggy, were a tag team, helping her cope.

When Carla learned she had breast cancer, and mounted a fierce battle to beat it back, Mr. Peanut and Iggy were there. The tag team of rust-colored clowns never stopped being a force she could lean on.

Carla beat the cancer and created a new life in West Chester. His human was safe, his work on earth done, so Mr. Peanut began to cycle down.

Carla called us about a month ago, saying that Mr. Peanut was failing and we better come quickly if we wanted to see him one last time.

On a rainy Sunday, we went. Carla put Mr. Peanut in our arms, and he settled in quietly without the usual clamor, his graying muzzle and black nose resting on our elbow.

When Carla put him out to do his business, he could be seen circling the deck on determined little legs, the will to live still strong.

But even strong little hearts give out.

Last night, before the sun set, Carla and her life companion, a kind man named Ben, had Mr. Peanut put to sleep. The legs are still, the bark quiet

Rest in peace, brave little one.