Yesterday I wrote about the wrecking ball of doom hanging over a very beloved and well-recognized landmark, the Old Covered Wagon Inn of Strafford PA. Once it was a tale of two counties, and apparently at some point the structure got plunked 100% in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County. (Say, has anyone asked Radnor Township how they feel about this?? It is right on the border and they are always taking care of than intersection aren’t they?)
Today thanks to Pattye Benson I have these great photos to share with you. And a new post:
There has been questions about the exact date of the Covered Wagon Inn. According to Tredyffrin Township’s 2003 Historic Resource Survey, the construction date is attributed to circa 1780. A team of professionals from Preservation Design Partnership in Philadelphia conducted the municipal survey documentation project, which surveyed and documented over 350 historic resources in Tredyffrin Township.
Interestingly in 2004, the Historic Resource Survey was given the Government Award by Preservation Pennsylvania. The project was described as “providing a usable preservation planning tool for a suburban township currently under intense development and redevelopment (in the form of “tear-downs”) pressure.” The award description went on to say that, “Tredyffrin Township Historic Resources Survey represents a model for the use of technology to document and plan for the management, protection and preservation of historic buildings, sites and districts valued by a municipality.”
The township’s 2003 Historic Resource Survey was funded with taxpayer dollars and was intended to aid the municipal officials and staff in the protection of Tredyffrin Township’s resources. The preservation of historic buildings like the Covered Wagon Inn is a one-way street. There is no chance to reuse or save the building, once it’s gone. Preservation and restoration is the ultimate form of recycling. What is historic, and worth saving, varies with the beholder.
How horribly and sadly true. Not everyone sees the value in our old and historic structures.
Don’t you wish they would in this case?
http://www.facebook.com/SaveCoveredWagonInn (like the Facebook page and share your memories and photos!)
The Facebook messages and memories are pouring in – today one that just touched my heart:
I proposed to my lovely wife 64 years ago there
I.can’t.even. How beautiful.
All these people sharing all of these memories.
And less than 24 hours after launching the Facebook Save page… 1,141 likes and growing! The petition had 1893 signatures last count and that also has not been up a full 24 hours.
#ThisPlaceMatters Keep it up! Thank you for caring!
When my friend Pattye Benson told me about what was up for discussion at a recent Tredyffrin Township meeting, I thought I misunderstood her. I thought they could NOT possibly raze the old Covered Wagon Inn located in Strafford on the corner of Lancaster and Old Eagle School. After all, it is one of the most rcognized landmarks on that part of the upper end of the Main Line in Tredyffrin, Chester County. It also is an ongoing example of adaptive reuse. No matter who rents or owns the site, it endures.
But it is true. (check it out on Scribd)
As Pattye writes for Community Matters:
The last item in front of the Planning Commissioners tonight has personal interest – a land development application to demolish a building a construct a CVS Pharmacy and drive-thru. Summit Realty Advisors will present a plan for the 1-1/2 acre property located at 625/629 East Lancaster Ave. in Wayne. This property is located on the corner of Old Eagle School Road and Lancaster Ave – the Paddock Restaurant (previously John Harvards Brew House) property.
I have no issue with the redevelopment of this property, including the demolition of the ‘new addition’ located at 629 Lancaster, which housed the Paddock Restaurant. But … I have a real problem with demolition of 625 East Lancaster Ave, the historic building that currently houses Thos. Moser Furniture. According to Tredyffrin Township’s 2003 Historic Resource Survey, the building was built about 1780 as a private resident. John Palmer owned a farm which included this structure in 1873, indicated on the 1881 atlas map. The structure was enlarged during the 20th century and was known as the Covered Wagon Inn. Well-known on the Main Line for fine dining and dancing, in its heyday the Covered Wagon Inn featured big name bands and performing artists such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington and their orchestras.
I personally also have no issue with redevelopment per se (although I will admit I do not see the need of yet ANOTHER big box of a chain drug store or a big box store in general) but like Pattye I have a HUGE issue with razing this historic building. The old Covered Wagon Inn has stood for 250 years. It’s a local landmark in use currently, means something to the area, so why demolish it? Especially when the Summit Group ironically was involved with a very special adaptive reuse in Ambler, PA as Pattye continues:
In a review of the Summit Realty Advisors website, there are many, many CVS Pharmacy development projects, including a similar current project in Media. However, in the midst of their drug store building portfolio, I discovered a very special project by John Zaharchuk, owner/developer with Summit Realty Advisors. Zaharchuk oversaw the redevelopment of Ambler Boiler House, the 19th century power plant of an abandoned asbestos factory. Working with historic architectural firm, Heckendorn-Shiles (a former historic house tour sponsor) of Wayne, the project redesigned the circa 1897 brick building, preserving its architectural integrity and recycled it into a clean-and-green office development.
Now…what to do with this? You see a major stumbling block is Tredyffrin, like many Chester County municipalities, historic structures are NOT protected (you know like Linden Hall and Loch Aerie in East Whiteland for two other examples?)
So what can we do? Quite simply raise awareness and try to change the developer’s mind. Can we do it Chester County and beyond? The answer is we can darn well try! The building is in good shape and occupied and has been basically continually throughout the course of time.
Yesterday we put our heads together as the blizzard swirled around us and we started a Save The Covered Wagon Inn, Strafford Pa page on Facebook, launched a petition on Change.org http://tinyurl.com/SaveCoveredWagonInn .
In less than 24 hours we have just shy of 500 signatures already on the petition (and growing!) and well OVER 1000 Facebook page likes and growing. Thank you to those who have joined us already and here is an invitation for any of you out there wherever you are to join us!
#ThisPlaceMatters so we have shared our early efforts with The National Trust For Historic Preservation too! In addition to the petition and Facebook page we invite anyone who is preservation minded especially when it comes the the old Covered Wagon Inn to take a photo outside the building with a simple hand lettered sign on a pie of copy paper that says #THISPLACEMATTERS and either post it on the Save The Covered Wagon Inn Facebook Page or post it on Twitter to @SavingPlaces @tredyffrin @TredyffrinTwp .
Also we are looking for photos of the Old a Covered a Wagon Inn throughout the years. You can send them to Pattye Benson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on or message them to the Facebook page.
One thing that has come out of this since we launched the Facebook page is people sharing memories of The Old Covered Wagon Inn throughout the years. My friends and I in our early 20s danced many a night away at the then “Main Lion” . Here are some of the other memories:
“My parents met at the Covered Wagon! It was a family favorite…..for so many reasons.”
“I have a personal connection, it was the site of my wedding reception. More long term, my family, Davis’, have a long history in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County ,dating back to the 1600’s as shown by Graves in the Valley Baptist Church off Valley Forge Rd, Devon. Please preserve and protect the history of this area and this building in particular.”
“My mother took me to see Harry James at the Covered Wagon. She convinced me to go backstage to get his autograph. He must have been in his 70s but he could really play. Nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.”
“They can’t do it!!! Our Saint Katharine of Siena eighth grade graduation celebration was there!! It’s like tearing down Independence Hall, or Betsy Ross’s house. Buildings that involved very very important people and/or events MUST be preserved, cherished and maintained.”
“I remember the 70’s when Mt. Zion AME Church Devon had many Fashion Shows at The Old Covered Wagon Inn. It was gorgeous. So much history. Hopefully it will be restored.”
“The Old Covered Wagon was a frequent advertiser in the Radnor Historical Society Bulletin years ago; feel free to use this ad if you wish to post it.”
There is also another post on Community Matters you should read:
Well that is all from me on this snowy Sunday morning. Thanks for stopping by. We hope you will sign and share the petition. As an extended community our history matters.
I don’t know it must be something in our DNA that if you are a person termed a “nester” when you hear bad weather is coming you want to cook. And bake.
For some reason pumpkin bread popped into my head. I had one more can of pumpkin in the Lazy Susan and raisins and currants and candied ginger. I did not have the nuts I like to use in pumpkin bread which are walnuts or pecans, but I did have roasted unsalted sunflower seeds.
So I took my basic pumpkin bread recipe and changed a little.
Enjoy the recipe.
Pumpkin Bread 2016
1 can of pumpkin 15 ounces and NOT pumpkin pie mix
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground green cardamom
3 cups white flour
1/2 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup dark seedless raisins
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
Zest of one small orange or tangerine.
Granulated sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two loaf pans – the ones I use are vintage and about 8″ x 4″ approximately. I grease with either butter or canola oil.
In a big mixing bowl first blend together your pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla.
Next add the spices and salt and blend.
Next add the baking soda and baking powder and blend.
Incorporate the flour 1 cup at a time until blended.
Stir in the sunflower seeds, currants, raisins, ginger. Add the coconut- and it has to be unsweetened. Sweetened coconut would be too cloying in this recipe.
Bake on the same shelf in the oven for about 55 minutes – I have had days where it took five minutes less and days were took 5 to 7 minutes more. So keep an eye on it.
When a toothpick comes out clean you’re done.
Cool loaves of pumpkin bread in their pans on a cooling rack for about 40 minutes. Then remove the loaves from the pans and allow to cool completely on the cooling rack for a couple of hours before slicing.
You can freeze these loaves as long as you wrap it well in saran wrap and a good freezer bag.
I have also substituted dried cranberries and white seedless raisins in this recipe.
Sooo…what are we going to hashtag this thing. You know we can’t get through a weather event without a HASHTAG. What would the media do?
Coming up with hashtags and acronyms is amusing to me – games with words, after all.
They are calling this a “blizzard for the ages” and even the New York Times seems all hyped up about this storm.
PA Governor Tom Wolf has already declared a state of emergency.
The media to INCREASE storm hype are calling this Winter Storm Jonas. Since that makes you think of a bad boy band, that might make for an angry storm just out of storm lame name indignation.
Anyway, every good storm needs a hashtag and I say …..(wait for it)…. #Blizzardpocalypse
#Blizzardpocalypse has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Yes I know, I am being all glib now and this time Saturday I might be somewhat crabby and not wanting a repeat of Little House in The Big Woods 2014 or Modern O’Pioneer.
But for now? For now I am having a little fun.
Please remember to use common sense and stay off the roads and keep fire hydrants CLEAR of snow. And don’t forget to stock up on bread and milk.
Again, feel free to post photos of snow in your neighborhood on Chester County Ramblings Facebook page.
Okay. So it’s going to be a whole lot of something or a whole lot of nothing. The last storm like this that was a Snowmageddon were those storms in 2010. You watch lots of TV, read books and take snow photos. In my case it was also an excellent opportunity to clean house and redecorate. (Plaid just wasn’t my color.)
Here is what the National Weather Service said not so long ago:
So…how about this? Post your snow photos on Chester County Ramblings Facebook Page like everyone does for the TV stations and newspapers. No prizes, just #showyoursnow – hey use that hash tag!! #showyoursnow
We survived the ice storm of February, 2014, so #wegotthis. Be smart, be safe, keep neighborhood fire hydrants clear of snow (if you have any on your street), make French Toast and Pancakes….and drink good cocoa and coffee. Some say beer, but I don’t drink beer because I don’t like it (yes I know some consider it a crime against nature.)
Thanks for stopping by!