more collateral damage in gladwyne, pa from hurricane ida

Old real estate listing photo
for Gladwyne’s 1690 House – it was for sale a few years back.

Damage from Hurricane Ida was a hot topic among fair goers at the Harriton Fair yesterday. I know because I saw Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov getting his ear bent about it, especially about the Mill Creek Road Bridge.

Now sometimes over the years I have been hard on Commissioner Scott Zelov. We know each other from things Lower Merion. But where I will always give him credit is unlike others, he shows up to events in Lower Merion Township, and listens and engages with residents. I especially give him credit for supporting Historic Harriton House and the fair because the commissioner whose ward contains Harriton can never seem to show up for anything there which I find strange because it’s a wonderful place.

Anyway, River Road in Gladwyne was hit horribly and other places in Lower Merion as well. But I did not know about other Ida collateral damage until this morning when a member of Gladwyne Civic posted the following (and I am re-posting verbatim):

‼️📌MILL CREEK ROAD BRIDGE
From Scott Zelov, LM commissioner: the Mill Creek Road Bridge at the 1690 House has to be demolished and re-constructed due to extensive damage from Ida. The engineering and design could take 9 months, and then construction could be another 9 months, meaning that the bridge won’t re-open until March 2023. This bridge is owned by Montgomery County, not Lower Merion Township. We are working with the County to try to compress both the design and construction periods. TO CONTACT COMMISSIONER ZELOV
https://www.lowermerion.org/services/township-secretary-s-office/board-of-commissioners/commissioners/v-scott-zelov 📌‼️

An old art item found on Internet of 1690 house.

This makes me really sad. The history of the 1690 house is amazing. There is this website called Living Places which has a history. I will share an excerpt:

📌The Mill Creek Historic District is located in Gladwyne, Lower Merion Township, on the west side of the Schuylkill River. Approximately ten miles from downtown Philadelphia, it is situated at the juncture of Mill Creek and Old Gulph Roads alongside of Mill Creek.

…,The area was originally settled by a Welsh Quaker named John Roberts “the miller” who purchased the rights to 500 acres of land in the Welsh Tract in 1682. Taking title to 250 acres; he set up his grist mill called “The Wain” by 1690 or earlier….The house at 543 Mill Creek Road is the oldest in the area and possibly in Lower Merion Township. Originally it was the log house of John Roberts, the Miller, c.1683. The house, which is commonly called “the 1690 house” has been expanded several times and now bears no resemblance to the original. It is 1 1/2 stories has brick chimneys, and dormers with slanting overhangs. Presently, it is sheathed with wood shingles. Over the years, Mill Creek Road has been raised giving the house the appearance of being in a gully.📌

Lower Merion Conservancy photo

The 1690 house is a private residence. It’s a gem. I actually had senior portrait photos taken at the old mill across the street- way before it was restored into a private residence.

Of course this begs the topic of bridges in this area. And roads under construction BEFORE Ida . Everything seems to take so long. Like the hanging rock on 320 and the road closure that is supposed to be done by November, 2021. The hanging rock AKA “Drummonds Head” is actually located in Upper Merion Township and they are supposedly shifting the roadway AWAY from the rock, so it’s got me wondering what they are doing to the creek on the other side?

But my point is even THAT is taking forever. And you can’t get around easily and it’s right where 76 has an exit. The Mill Creek Road Bridge being out will mean a need for a huge work around connecting parts of Lower Merion Township to other parts of itself.

But I am glad the 1690 house can be saved. Here’s hoping the re-engineering can lift it up some and save parts of the original structure to incorporate into the re-build.

Ida was a real natural terror and my heart goes out to the people who own the 1690 House and my friends on River Road and elsewhere. And no, I have not seen photos of the 1690 house post-Ida

Part of an old real estate listing of 1690 House.

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