historic destruction


This was the Pugh House. Or more formally known as the Ann Pugh Farm at 523 Pugh Road in Wayne, Tredyffrin Township, Chester County.  The realtor who sold it is Sue Fitzgerald of Berkshire Hathaway, or formerly known at Prudential Fox & Roach. Or so I am told (the photos tend to indicate this is the same property.)

Not to put to fine a point on it, but I hope she chokes on her commission.  It’s historic blood money in my humble opinion. No one in historic preservation that I know (and one of my friends is head of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust ) even had this property on their radar as in danger.  ( See today’s post on Community Matters) Why? Because this place was lovingly and perfectly restored and was completely updated even with a guest barn! It sat on 2.2 bucolic acres with a beautiful pool.  It was built in 1795 according to the Realtor’s website. Here is the deed: pugh road deed

I just do not understand what possesses people to destroy properties and homes like this.  Just because they can somehow doesn’t seem acceptable.

This house was a treasure. And I could kick myself for not photographing it when I could have a few months ago when I was in the area photographing other homes for Tredyffrin’s historic house tour. I actually got turned around on Pugh and thought this was one of the houses I was supposed to photograph initially.

Also no one seems to have heard about any kind of demolition or salvage sales and can you imagine what has been lost?

This is how the Realtor described her listing:

Property Description

       * Historic Property with sections dating from 1795, 1833 and 1839, with further expansion in 1917 and 1940. (No historic preservation restrictions – just great stories to tell!)
* Formal Living Room and Grand Dining Room (seats 25) for elegant entertaining.
* Handsome mahogany paneled library/study with built-in cabinetry and wet-bar.
* Farmhouse kitchen with custom cabinetry, wood countertops, center island, gas cooktop, Sub-Zero fridge, double-ovens and sunny breakfast area.
* Cozy family room/den with original hearth fireplace.
* Generously proportioned master suite with dressing area, ensuite bath and sitting room.
* 5 Fireplaces (4 in use; 3 wood-burning with gas starters and 1 gas).
* Rich, wide-plank wood floors.
* Zoned heating and central air (main house)
* Temperature-controlled wine room
* Heated pool with spa
* Flagstone terraces, patios and walkways
* Guest Barn with large living/entertaining space, kitchenette, dining area, loft bedroom and full bath.
* Picturesque Spring House (now used as a potting shed) and meandering stream for skipping stones, wading barefoot and catching tadpoles!
* Detached, over-sized two-car garage with loft storage.
* New cedar roofs on main house, guest barn and spring house (2013)
* Newer gas furnaces in main house (2010) and guest barn (2013).
* Expansive grassy lawns and mature landscaping offer a quiet, private retreat.
Lovingly maintained and cherished. A truly special property for the discerning buyer… Make this your “forever” home!



MLS#: 6231093
Lot Size:
2.2 acres
 Year Built:
5 (4 in use)
oversized, 2-car detached
 Special Feature:
Guest Barn
 Special Feature:
Spring House
 Special Feature:
Heated Pool with Spa

Here are some of the photos that Prudential advertised the property with (including on Pinterest):

farmhouse kitchendrlr

libkitchpool and guest barn


18 thoughts on “historic destruction

  1. SAD SAD SAD. Would love to know who the new owners are, They are the ones tearing down….under zoning can they turn that 2.2 acres into multiple lots? To spend 1.4 million and then destroy it is essentially paying that much for land. I know “property rights”, “if you want to save it you should buy it”, blah blah blah…but it just makes you want to cry.

  2. one could cry. I no longer live in the area, but have always been proud that Chester Co. and other Pennsylvania areas preserved, treasured and respected property like this. I the money spent was just for the land- shame, shame. So sorry that no one was paying the right attention. What for- a housing project, a shopping center, a gas station??? The ghosts of houses past must be crying.

    • Without knowing the details, I assure you this will be one or two houses at most….it becomes more “tragic” when it’s a lovely home, but half of Pugh Road has been demolished over the past score of years in favor of bigger, better mansion-type homes. All those office buildings below Pugh Road took over farms.

      • For real? You are saying it’s okay to tear down an amazingly and lovingly restored historic property like this because it will only be “one or two” McMansions?

        I think there’s a lot more happening on Pugh Road than anyone knows about.

        If this property was derelict and had been empty for a decade or two, then I would still be upset that the house was taken down, but I would understand a little more because empty and derelict houses just fall apart.

        My opinion is this is just wanton destruction. That house and its current state of restoration with its restored barn and pool and grounds had more than enough snob appeal.

        But hey, I’m sure to more plastic mushroom houses will be just a fabulous addition to the area.

        Oh by the way you do know that Pattye Benson of community manners has
        written about this too? It is from people in Tredyffrin like her that I learned about this – – this discovery didn’t originate with me. It originated with people who have almost driven off the road since it began out of shock

        Bottom line is it might be the property rights of the landowner to have knocked down this beautiful historic asset but It doesn’t make it right. And I am entitled to that opinion as well as not thinking much if realtors who broker deals like this.

        Thanks for letting everyone know this will be a subdivision

  3. There is no fair way to associate this sale with the realtor. She is hired to sell the property, and Sue Fitzgerald is a very professional and competent realtor, a TE parent and a local resident. She advertised the property — and highlighted the historical features. How can it be her fault that 2.2 acres sold for $1.4 million? And that’s the issue. The house was free. The land cost that. Taking it down and building anything would be more energy efficient and suit most buyers. One only has to google “mansions lost” and see reams of articles on the loss of historic homes and barns. In our community, we are LUCKY when the buyer wants the house. It’s a major commitment to buy and own one of these historic mansions. Taking it down is not necessarily about greed. Whoever bought it can build something the same size for a fraction of the cost and live in it for a smaller cost, or sell it and make a profit. . It makes me sad, but again — we are all lucky when the buyer can afford to KEEP the house. Lower Merion and Radnor have “tighter” regulations on demolition, and yet have been unable to prevent it when bought on the open market.

    • Hi there – I don’t know who you are, but you can tell your realtor friend if she has something to say she can say it herself.

      I have a lot of friends who are realtors, and they don’t seem to get into sales situations like this. I hope she enjoys her commission, I still think it’s historic blood money. Like it or not, I am entitled to my opinion.

      If she is indeed a resident of Tredyffrin then one would’ve hoped she was more sensitive to the historic importance of this property in Tredyffrin and in Chester County. If she is a resident one would hope she would NOW be supportive of Tredyffrin Township trying to adopt some stop gaps so hopefully at least some of these demolitions were discussed publicly before they happened.

      Basically the state of historic preservation overall in Pennsylvania is nonexistent. And 1.4 million is hardly a great deal for that kind of prime real estate into different if it was just being sold as a teardown for the land.

      My final comment is the fact that she is a parent has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. Not quite sure why you feel the need to have brought that up.

      Thank you for visiting

      • Read the listing. This realtor highlighted the historical features. She included information about it. She has no way of knowing or controlling what the buyers will do with the property. She LISTED the property, which means she put it for sale. Her listing information is very sensitive to the historic nature of the property.

        That being said — I brought up her status in the community because we all act like it is an evil being that sold the house. She is a competent professional and chooses to live her. And I am not speaking on her behalf. I am simply pointing out that anyone who is angry at Ms. Fitzgerald is directing their anger at the wrong place. Ask the township how someone bought, closed and got a demolition permit in 30 days. Ask your realtor friends if they have ANY control over who buys a property and what they choose to do with it.

        $1.4 Million “is hardly a great deal”….for 2 acres on Pugh Road….well, that’s what it was listed for. And the SELLERS accepted a contract for whatever….

        This can make you as mad as you want to be, but it has nothing to do with the problem. Seriously — go on Bing and enter the terms “MAIN LINE HISTORIC MANSIONS DEMOLISHED”…..it’s a real search term because it happens. When the previous owners decided to sell, they put this in motion.

      • I didn’t say she was an evil being – you did. Remarking that the commission is like historic blood money might not be something you like, but it is opinion. As for historic preservation basically sucking in PA, you are preaching to the choir and the fact that this property got destroyed for McMansions to be (no doubt) is case in point. As for that demolition permit, it was undoubtedly in the works before the deal closed unless something more typically nefariously Tredyffrin was afoot, right? Tredyffrin is one of those municipalities that has just been sleazy for decades isn’t it?

  4. Not familiar with Tredyffrin historic ordinance(s) but in East Whiteland there is a process to follow to demolish historic structures that are part of a specific list onfile with the township. There are also incentives to keep a structure – allowing additional uses (with limitations). It was difficult to get that ordinance passed, the property rights advocates came out with all sorts of accusations of “takings” etc etc. If Tredyffrin has a similar ordinance i can’t figure how they got the demo permit so fast! Apologies for possibly missing it, but has anyone confirmed they GOT a demo permit? Before EW had the ordinance, we lost historic structures to fire company practice burnings with no notice to the historical commission. Hurts to think of the beautiful materials inside that could have been carefully removed to “live again”—

  5. ok egg on face….just followed links and read Pattye Benson’s page….they really did get a permit in less than 30 days and the Township-powers-that-be never checked their own Historic Ordinance Survey records in Tredyffrin. Yikes! Sad to learn from Pattye’s article that their Historic Comm only meets quarterly and they no longer have a HARB. How do we encourage preservation when the folks in charge don’t care?

  6. As a person who was privileged to spend much time in this house, over the last 30 years, I can assure you it is a devastating loss; for the township, the community and a special area where historic homes are common and so often not treasured as we’d wish. But it is neither the seller nor the realtor’s fault. For Citizen Jane to suggest the sellers put this in motion is ludicrous. The family lovingly restored and maintained the home for decades. And many are saddened by its demolition, including that family. Thank you for posting about it. Hopefully, the Township will make more thoughtful efforts toward preservation and historical significance in the future. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to view what goes up in place of 523 Pugh Rd. It was one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a crying shame to know and see that such a charming, beautiful home and piece of history is gone forever. They just don’t build them like they used to…

  7. April 2014….I recently “shared” this page on a Facebook Page about Delaware County. This “share” had really big interest….glad I shared this horrific news….

    • ENQ for the share. This form however was located in Chester County. Not Delaware County. Thx for reading my blog, I appreciate it!

  8. 3 historic properties in east Goshen were just taken off of the historical registry. One of the members of the EG Historical Commission just reigned last week because of the blatant disrespect the EG BOS showed during a removal hearing. Within 40 seconds of the hearing starting, one of the supervisors made a motion to take a property off of the registry. The supervisor knew the contractor. No one seems to realize that the townships have a monetary interest in removing properties from the registry. They remove them every chance they get unless the BOS is actually interested in preserving history.

    • Can you please give me the locations of these properties? I am happy to write about this if you would like. East Goshen doesn’t televise anything so I will also need to know which supervisor is behind this.

  9. It was a beautiful house. I was able to spend time there as I was/am still very good friends with the former owner’s son. Broke my heart to see that house be demolished. Some very fond memories were made in that house.

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