I can’t tell you how many people told me I didn’t know what I was talking about when I wrote the post recently about the old Wayne Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Well, one of my readers contacted me this afternoon and told me that she was being destroyed beginning today. A little while ago I was sent a picture which is the first one on this post.
Demolition has begun. Truly a goddamn waste.
This beauty is going with barely a whimper from Radnor Township. A property of historic import, which also had been lovingly and meticulously restored. In the place of this great house will be some soullessMcMansions, probably front and loaded to boot.
Also, now gone are so many of trees, and the beautiful gardens. And those gardens had some very old plantings. I think it was an ash tree that was very very old on this property and they didn’t even take cuttings from it. It survived when many of its species did not. Radnor Township pays lip service to being good environmental stewards and tree tenders too, in my humble opinion.
This is a waste. It is purely a waste. And I hope the ghosts of that bed-and-breakfast haunt that new development and future residents. This place could have had an adaptive reuse that could have been worked into this brand new development.
This is why I urged Radnor Township residents to start going back to meetings. And something you should start with sooner rather than later is Fenimore Woods. If you think Fenimore Woods should be left as woods, you know the way it was originally intended, don’t depend on an old politician to be your sole voice who has been commissioner so many times throughout the years that he can’t not act like a commissioner even when he’s not in office.
Get involved in your township before it’s too late. And get yourselves a new manager too. Maybe it’s time for all of you to start adding up all the crazy stuff that has happened under his watch. Are you really better off with him? Or don’t you deserve better? And yes, you can question who governs you and you should. You also deserve a manager who is accessible to residents and you don’t have that.
If any of you take photos of the demolition in process, or have old photos of this place, feel free to send them I will post them.
RIP Wayne Bed and Breakfast Inn at 211 Strafford Avenue in Wayne, PA.
……Radnor politicians, former and current, always amusing.
Yesterday I wrote a post about Radnor Township. Yes, I know there are some in Radnor Township, especially politicians present and former who still hate (yes, hate) when I write about Radnor, or speak about Radnor. (Actually, over the years a lot of Radnor government and a fair amount of the politicians have always hated when anyone dares talk about Radnor.)
I have been getting the special treatment for years. It actually amuses me, because I have done some good for Radnor over the years.
After I wrote the post, it was shared. Hey well, blogging happens, right? Well, not in Radnor. Shock and horrors. Officials perceive themselves as running the Shangrila of Delaware County, and a lot of Delaware County just shakes their heads. (Well I say shakes their heads, it’s more polite that repeating the choice words I have head over the years, but I digress.)
Do not misunderstand me, I love Radnor Township. It is a beautiful place with amazing history but if they don’t start looking for reasons to reduce the footprints of development plans (for example), it is going to look not so fabulous and will lose it’s character. (Which of course is why they should not mess with Fenimore Woods.)
North Wayne in particular is a favorite of mine. I first became a fan of North Wayne when I was a kid. The fanciful Victorian architecture in particular had me at hello, just like Cape May, NJ.
North Wayne has grand Victorian homes with sweeping porches, tree lined streets, and smaller homes of a more fanciful bungalow style. Many of these homes have been lovingly restored. You see Queen Anne, Second Empire, Tudor, shingle style, stick style, craftsman, and colonial revival homes dotting the streets neatly laid out on a grid pattern. I actually wrote an op-ed in 2011 about this when the Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn was being discussed. A beautiful old house at 211 Strafford Avenue. Of course the sin of that location now is the proposed development with the preposterous name, correct? Old growth trees and gardens will also disappear, won’t they?
Anyway, so my writing about something Radnoriffic is not so unusual, but because I don’t live there, according to some dinosaur aged local politicians desperately seeking new relevance I am a bad, bad girl:
The Chester County Ramblings is mean-spirited and reflects on a larger problem in the country: divisiveness bolstered by personal attacks. Tammy Cohen and Bill White are decent people and don’t deserve this treatment.
~ old politician who doesn’t like bloggers
And old politicians generally speaking, often have equally old and odd cheerleaders, so here comes a 70-ish babe with her comment about me:
Dreadful! Mind your own business CHester Co whiner!
~another wayne fan, cheerleader to old politician (lovely message copied exactly, warts and all.)
Oh my goodness! I might never recover! The nerve!
Now I am no stranger to blog critics in Radnor. This sad old politician (who has been a commissioner more than once in Radnor’s first ward starting in like the 1980s, right?) wanted to muzzle the blogs in 2009, right? He doesn’t like bloggers, right? He heads up this group called (I think) “Friends of Fenimore Woods Coalition.” They have no website or Facebook page or any kind of presence online, which is their choice, but he can’t say that others, even outside of Radnor Township, can’t comment on this issue. Even me. It makes people feel they are like a secret society, the Shakers of North Wayne or something.
Opinion and First Amendment rights. To take pot shots at me essentially because you are outraged that I am not following the prescribed method of dealing with a local issue? It’s a bit ridic. It’s your local issue, I am just talking about it because I stumbled upon a PUBLIC meeting on cable. It was just fate that brought us back together so you could say I was terrible, etc, etc.
They don’t like it that I have expressed my opinions on this topic in Radnor and others. Ok so that hasn’t changed with any of you over the years. You’re still there, I am still here, why do I need your approval? Do I actually need you to stamp a passport of sorts when entering Radnor Township?
I am going to remind my “fans” of things I did for North Wayne, ironically.
Example 1, an editorial written in February , 2009 by me for then Main Line Suburban Life. The end result of this was North Wayne got a little stormwater management under the Wayne, PA train station parking lot adjacent to the train station. How do I know this? Because the lead engineer who then became Septa’s general manager, contacted me after I wrote the editorial and said “Hey we have room in the budget for a little stormwater remediation.” And Septa back then, did that and also a couple of other things right there.
Example 2, the Wayne Natatorium Historical marker. Here is the video from Radnor Historical Society:
Now I am sure my Radnor critics don’t like it when I write about ANYTHING Radnoriffic, yes? Like when I reminded them about the history and back story in Garrett Hill in August, 2022?
Radnor Township has a lot of overly entitled people. Always has. And they have always had a lot of ideas about who can say what, when, and how. But damn Radnor, you sure have had lots of politicians with issues in general, haven’t you? 2017 was a particularly bad year for Radnor Democrats in particular, correct? (Hey just READ HERE. and HERE) And 2016? Also bring the popcorn (READ THIS. ALSO THIS. ) I could further back, I could more a little forward. You breed interesting politicians with interesting ideas of how to treat the public, don’t you? (Don’t answer, you know I am not making it up.)
Now here are two old articles on Fenimore Woods:
So yes, now I have acknowledged once again that the gloriously self righteous of Radnor Township still don’t like my blogging. And as I said in 2009, the thing about blogs and bloggers is they are a catalyst for community conversation. But open community conversation and engagement has always been hard for Radnor, hasn’t it?
Again, going back to 2009 when this came up with this politician the last time I said that in Radnor, those who advocate for real change need to realize one thing: none of you will ever move forward until you learn to let go of the past, learn from the past, and try new things. For some of you it means trying to learn to understand how social media works. (Still does.) Back then a lot of this tempest in a teapot started because of a blogger who went by the handle “Chicken Sandwich.” I didn’t know who they were for real then, still don’t today. But they upset the status quo in Radnor. Like Radnor Coyote on Twitter a few years ago. Never knew who that was either, but they were also pretty darn funny.
I am out there in multiple communities. Always have been as a blogger and people do talk to me. There are also just things I am interested in.
And why do people talk to me? Because when I have time, I take that minute to listen, and try to see the good in people. Sometimes I don’t see that good. That’s life.
At present, I don’t see the good in old political war horses who wish to steer something the way they want it to be steered, period end of story. Why steer me? Why not simply say thank you for talking about the importance of Fenimore Woods and helping raise awareness? But instead y’all have to ramble on about how I don’t help your cause and I have an inflated sense of self importance.
Inflated sense of self importance? Moi? If that’s what these people think, I can’t dissuade them of their foolishness, anymore than I can not feel that out to pasture politicians seeking new political relevance are sad creatures, right?
It’s a big world out there. These people don’t have to like me, and in some cases I have never liked them. That’s fine. But when you have a community issue that every time someone thinks it is settled, it ends up it is not and someone raises awareness to this plight just because it is not phrased or said exactly the way you would say it, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong or the person is bad.
That phrase God don’t like ugly and you aren’t all that and a bag of chips comes to mind.
Allow me to bottom line it for you: I am not going to pitch a tent in Fenimore Woods or move to Radnor. I would not wish to live in Radnor or Lower Merion today. It’s far too crowded for me for one thing. And the issues are too plentiful to ignore. But for God’s sake, as a community at large, Radnor Township residents need to wake up and participate where they live.
Completely by accident last night when channel surfing on FiOS, I ended up at the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners meeting. Good lord.
I even sucked my husband in on this meeting and he literally said to me “Do these people really run that township?”
The whole meeting had issues, but the thing that drew me in and kept me watching was the Fenimore Woods of it all.
Start at the 1:37:00 mark (approximately.) Try not to be distracted by Tammy the Parks and Recreation Twinkie. She was wearing a shirt that you could see her bra through. And of course Madame President Mulroney speaks very nasally and her outfit was Escape from Harry Potter.
Fenimore Woods is just that, woods. And the parks and recreation Twinkie seems to want to spent a lot of OPM (Other People’s Money) to create a vision for this space that Radnor residents don’t even want!
The amount of money that the parks and rec Twinkie wants to spend is astounding! I’ll let you watch the meeting to listen for yourselves. But if she got her way, it would be well over $2 million! Basically it’s beg, borrow, and steal to get the money? Including potentially taking from Township reserve funds?
And public comments indicate that this project has been going on for a few years but the actual public has not exactly been part of the process all along? Talked about 2016 but the public not part of it until like 2021?
120 plus trees being taken down in plans and more? Residents don’t want Fenimore tatted up municipal-style. Literally to destroy the tree canopy. Old growth woods. And look at that park in Garrett Hill, Clem Macrone? How many mothers will tell you how hot the playground equipment is because there are no longer enough trees?
Paul Road and Walnut in Wayne has an 18 acre subdivision planned. Where there once were trees and wildlife habitats? Naked acres with planned McBoxes? Valley Forge Military Academy has also been selling land off apparently including 500 feet from the entrance of Fenimore Woods which will be an assisted living facility? Added traffic, light pollution, loss of habitat in a part of Radnor Township that was so pretty. According to resident Matt Marshall that is 43 acres of tree removal and loss of habitat, traffic and light pollution already scheduled for the next 5 to 7 years before we get to the Fenimore Woods of it all, right? Matt Marshall used to serve on both the planning commission and as an interim commissioner. So he actually knows what he’s talking about and he’s asking them WHY are they doing this now? Why not just hit the pause button? Realize that this is a treasure without overbuilding? Good question right? Along with why is this plan SO far ahead without true and meaningful taxpayer input?
Jim Higgins a former commissioner with whom I have never had any love lost for also looked like he really wanted to scream and yell when making his points. He is very disturbed by the thought of this. And this is a commissioner that one of the reasons I never really loved, particularly much as he was the one who wanted to outlaw blogging or something once upon a time, crazy right? Well, last night he was spot on. Higgins reminded them Fenimore should be woods, “not a modern antiseptic commercialized place.” He called the plan “scary.”
Hence my whole thing with Radnor keep the woods in Fenimore. And truthfully, wouldn’t that make a great T-shirt or lawn sign?
Commissioner Maggy Myers was the only one who stood up for the residents. she cried bullshit on this whole thing throughout the entire meeting. As well, she should have because talk about. Oh my God, living up to the total cliché of tax and spend Democrats.
Residents want Fenimore to be as it is. Exactly as it is. Yes fix the pavilion and stables, but not some grandiose plan that the residents DO NOT WANT. Residents want a natural park. Care for the pond. Consider park as a whole. It’s not supposed to be Disneyland. There already are parks with lots of big playground spaces.
Can we talk about how Radnor got here? Can we talk about how Radnor doesn’t maintain the park land they have now much like a lot of other Main Line municipalities? Can we talk about how Radnor has left the stables which are supposed to be historic structures rot much like they’ve wasted the potential of the Willows Cotrage a second time? Can we talk about how Radnor supposedly was starting 2023 with a deficit and why would they even bring a plan like this forward now? And is there an actual deficit, if so, how much and why?
And what is the former finance guy now manager actually doing? Can you also say it’s a little hard to talk to your township manager when he’s got the pit bull running point in his office and if you don’t meet her sniff test you can’t talk to your manager and you pay for all of their salaries if you live in Radnor Township, don’t you? Bill White was a good finance guy but he is not a good manager. He did a lot of fast talking during this meeting last night, but I can’t get over the whole thing that it seems like certain inmates are running the asylum over there in Radnor, and why is that? And last time that got bad, they ended up with the Bashore of it all, didn’t they?
And let’s talk about the board of commissioners. Do they really know what’s going on within the entirety of Radnor Township? It seems to me that a lot of them not only don’t know the literal history of the township, they are painfully unaware of the political history, and shady ass past, aren’t they?
Fenimore Woods is but the latest example.
So Radnor, let’s make it simple, OK? Your residents pay the taxes, right? They don’t want Fenimore Woods to change the way the Parks and Rec Twinkie presented the plan last night. They quite literally want to KEEP THE WOODS IN FENIMORE. They can’t keep being a Tree City USA if they keep taking down the trees.
Patch has a rudimentary article up. But it doesn’t capture all the nuances of taking the time to watch the meeting. Radnor residents need to get busy with this or they will literally pave paradise and put up a parking lot.
Radnor Township is a hot mess. Also last night? If you were watching the meeting on FiOS, it got interrupted when Matt Marshall the former planning commission member was speaking and all of a sudden it cut into another meeting that took place at another time and you’re watching that video until a correction happened and it went back to the meeting last night.
Radnor residents better wake up sooner rather than later on this one and many other things. It’s not just a slippery slope of issues in this municipality right now, it’s more like a big mudslide.
Thanks for stopping by. Even you former Commissioner Jim Higgins, as I know you peeked. Astounding as it may seem to you, people are allowed to have opinions on this travesty even if they don’t live in Radnor.
I don’t know what it is about rainy days, but I think they make people contemplative. What I have been thinking about today is why people are afraid to let their true selves show on social media.
I’m not talking about the people with the absolute whack job political comments and just nasty griping. Those are just your average keyboard warriors who have an online persona. The reason I am not putting them in the category of not letting their true self show, is basically their online personas, their keyboard warriorness if you will, is just a version of their own personalities.
Of course these are the people who say that I’m hiding. Well maybe hiding in plain sight, because basically it’s most simply put that I choose to be selective about with whom I want to interact. I feel absolutely no compunction to engage with perfect strangers who strike me the wrong way. That’s my right, and I always find it amusing that they think because I write a blog that they should have unlimited access to me personally.
I have a friend who has clinical depression and as part of her current round of therapy she’s been blogging. It’s raw and it’s beautiful and I applaud her for telling her truth because what she’s doing is hard. But luckily for her she’s not already known as a blogger, so she can write her truth. She doesn’t have people who perceive her as the antichrist. That’s a gift, and I envy her that.
I am viewed as the antichrist by so many. At the end of the day I really don’t care, but it’s one of those things you just think about once in a while and you wonder what the lives of these people who are criticizing you is really like?
And the reason I’m wondering about that is because of the lives that some people wish to portray on social media. Like the people who want to be an influencer for whatever reason, or think they are an influencer. I’m still not exactly sure what influencers actually do. And I don’t know that you can actually be one if you’re over like the age of 35 or 40. Some of the ones who wish to portray themselves as influencers on social media who are closer to my age if not older seem to be only interested in the free stuff they can get. And these are all people that can afford to buy their own meals and go to parties without being comped.
Then there are the people who want you to always see how fabulous their lives are and how important they are. But are they? And are their lives fabulous or are they somewhat lonely?
On social media there are people who tell me every day what it is I should be writing about. And a lot of them are cuckoo for Cocoa puffs. Or they castigate me for writing about something. Why does it matter so much to people what I choose to write about? They are also free to write about whatever they want. But they don’t. They just tell me what to write about.
I’m also fascinated by the way people use social media day to day. For example there’s this whole thing with this social media outlet called “Only Fans.” I recently by accident discovered someone I know of (as in not a friend, just someone around) being on there. No, not Denise Richards or any other celebutarts, a fairly regular, albeit I think troubled person. And all I could wonder is would life ever get that desperate that you would degrade yourself in that way. Because I see it as the objectification of women, and a hard ugly thing. Someone chastised me and said it gave people an outlet to be independent content creators in the pornography industry.
Porn is not one of those things I have ever understood. It’s just not. Once upon a time many years ago I remember being in someone’s basement helping them sort stuff. And there was this giant box of videotapes. Literally full of the Debbie does Dallas and more titles. I remember looking at them like this isn’t a random playboy magazine this is a little extra and they told me they were holding the box for someone so his family didn’t see them. I never believed that because why would you hold onto a giant box of porn for someone?
Sociologically, I think we live in fascinating times. I think you have the truth people want you to see and what the actual truth might be. And the trend now seems to be to not be honest about how you were feeling about anything. Everything is unicorns farting rainbows. I don’t work that way, I don’t know about you.
But every time I will post some thing randomly about how I’m feeling on that particular day if it is not something super cheesy or unicorns farting rainbows or something that the average crowdsourcing social media user might consider acceptable, I can’t decide which is worse: the comments or the private messages. And what most people fail to comprehend is just because someone posts something on social media, it doesn’t mean they are in crisis or they are looking for advice. Sometimes they are just venting. Some of the people you see farting advice and opinions on everyone’s Facebook posts also might wish to stick to their side of the street and their messy lives that they think people don’t know about. I know I’m not being mean, sometimes you see these people and you just shake your head to yourself and say I can’t believe they just said that to so and so.
Like if I post how I’m feeling about my relationship with my mother ever. My relationship with my mother has never been easy. And that’s not because I dislike her or I don’t love her, that couldn’t be further from the truth. But I don’t think I’ve ever been the child she really wanted. My sister more fills that role, and that’s not saying anything or implying anything, it just happens to be the truth. She was the one who was able to have children, etc. I didn’t marry until later in life and was never able to have children.
I guess it makes me sad sometimes, because I’ve lived my entire life feeling like my mother doesn’t really see me. And that’s not because I’m a bad person or she’s a bad person, I just think she simply doesn’t understand me. Or doesn’t want to. She never reads anything I write, for example. Ask her, she’ll tell you she doesn’t have the time. It’s actually pretty funny to me. Because she was the one who always wanted me to write. And when I was younger I didn’t want to write.
When you grow up in what is categorized as a traditional childhood, you are supposed to grow up and become the adult that continues the traditional things. And if you deviate from your expected role, that’s a problem with a lot of peoples’ parents. I’m not the only one who has gone through this in my lifetime. But you’re not ever supposed to talk about it out loud, let alone post about how you’re actually feeling on social media.
I think that’s why I have been so sad about these ladies passing away that I call the great ladies of my childhood. A lot of them were my mother’s friends. Or the parents of some of my friends. But they were also my friends. And there is nothing greater than the gift that you can give someone else seeing them for who they are, not who you want them to be. These ladies always saw me and accepted me for who I am.
So if you think about this whole category of being seen, it just makes you wonder why people essentially put fake lives on social media as what is being seen. What is it the people are so afraid of? Is it so scary for people to see you for who you are? Or is it easier to pretend to be somebody else?
I also see people that go by on social media who seem to have this whole tough persona on social media. But is that who they really are, or is that who they want us to think they are because it’s easier for them to deal with life that way?
So when you show yourself on social media, do you feel uncomfortable sharing your actual truth? Is it easier to go along to get along? Is that something we should applaud in people, or should we encourage people to be who they actually are?
I don’t actually have the answers here. I am just throwing out some thoughts on a rainy day.
Well dayyyyyuummm people, now there’s a headline. Kirkwood Farm AKA the Jackson/Rockefeller farm in Willistown appears to have been sold to M. Knight Shyamalan? So this means Shyamalan accomplished what preservationists in Willistown failed to do? Because as you know this is yet another large land parcel with no conservation easements pre-existing, right? I think people would be surprised by the list of whose big properties do not have conservation easements other than Rock Hill Farm. But hey that is a story for another day.
by Kevin Riordan and Frank Kummer Published Mar 24, 2023
A company traced to an address used by M. Night Shyamalan, writer and director of The Sixth Sense and Knock at the Cabin, has paid $24 million for a 210-acre Chester County property that was associated with generations of the Rockefeller family.
Public records show that Woodkirk LLC sold the Kirkwood Farm on Providence Road in Willistown Township to 944 Providence Road LLC for $24 million on March 14.
The registered address for 944 Providence LLC is on Campus Boulevard in Newtown Square. That is the same address used by the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation Inc., the famed director’s charitable organization.
Shyamalan, who grew up in suburban Philadelphia, could not be reached for comment. He and his family live in Willistown on an estate called Ravenwood.
Conservationists who had feared hundreds of houses would be developed on the Willistown Township site known as Kirkwood Farm are relieved.
“The sale is going to have a conservation-minded outcome,” said Kate Etherington, executive director of the Willistown Conservation Trust. “Kirkwood Farm is not being sold to a developer. And we’re thrilled.”….
A rolling landscape of fields and woods in the center of Willistown — an 18-square mile community of 11,000 — the Kirkwood Farm was listed for $29.9 million, sales agent Lavinia Smerconish said.
Advertisements by Compass real estate described a property that was available “for the first time in 90 years” and offered “endless views” punctuated only by “five charming residences, two barns, a pond, a stream, and spring house.”
Smerconish said the property was sold by descendants of William Rockefeller Jr. who along with his brother, John D. Rockefeller, founded the Standard Oil company in 1870. The farm has belonged to generations of the Rockefeller family and in recent years has been used by members of a hunting club. The farmhouses have been rented to tenants, and two remain occupied, she said.
Public records show the property was associated with Almira R. Scott, daughter of William G. Rockefeller, once treasurer of Standard Oil. Notably, it was also associated with Hardie Scott, a former Republican U.S. representative who married into the Rockefeller family. Scott died in 1999 and appointed M. Roy Jackson, also a scion of the Rockefellers, and the Glenmede Trust Co., as executors. Jackson was a grandson of William Rockefeller Jr., who died in 1922.
Goodness the Inquirer sure scooped the rest of the media, didn’t they? And two of my favorite writers. Riordan and Kummer seem to be writing the stories that matter, the ones that people want to read. With the oddness that is print and television journalism these days, Chester County doesn’t get the same coverage it used to. Of course I remember when The Philadelphia Inquirer had a Chester County Bureau in West Chester, and The Daily Local News had a whole fleet of reporters covering Chester County from all angles. But the state of print journalism is an entirely separate conversation as well. But the only other people to cover it was Philadelphia Business Journal. Of course when they shared it on their Facebook page lots of comments ensued:
Heavy sigh. I am always amazed at what people don’t know about how government works either on a local level or state level. Yes I agree wholeheartedly that we need to have less development but people have no idea what has to happen to make that happen.
Local development is ruled by The Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania AKA the “MPC.” The MPC requires an act of the State Constitution to comprehensively change and update it. It has not been comprehensively updated since I think either 1968 or 1969. Interesting to note for Chester County residents the gargantuan development known as Chesterbrook was allowed to be built because of this code, correct public officials? For a little background on Chesterbrook read THIS.)
When the MPC was created, suburbs and exurbs looked different and were defined differently. But because this is the Bible that guides all the local zoning in the state, when elected officials literally tell you they can’t do things a lot of the time it’s because they can’t do things a lot of the time. But your state elected officials can indeed do things like enact an act of the state constitution and update the MPC. If they actually did that then we could have better and more meaningful historic preservation, land preservation, land conservation and possibly even some restrictions on development and as far as how much we have to have and what communities can say no to.
As it stands, property owners don’t (IMHO) have that much that makes historic preservation and land conservation appealing. If it was more appealing and if there were more tax breaks then maybe more would conserve and preserve. No maybe these are just my opinions but I don’t think so. All you have to do is literally look at the parcels of land in Willistown (and elwhich are not under conservation easements. One of the comments mentioned a place called Sweetwater farm. I didn’t even know that was for sale I thought that had sold a while back. (According to RedFin in 2021.)
So back to 944 Providence Rd in Willistown. So if M. Night Shyamalan has bought it, he achieved what no one else could and beat out developers. I remember when this place got listed it went under agreement I thought fairly quickly and then I never heard anything else about it. So I had forgotten about this, truthfully. Wonder what the fence protesters of Willistown think of him now?
It isn’t a pretty fence, but M. Night Shyamalan gets to keep it!
A judge in Chester County, Penn. has ruled that the “Sixth Sense” director can keep his 123-acre property wrapped in this yucky 8-foot high green mesh — much to the horror of his neighbors. I see pissed-off people!
Residents of Willistown Township complained that the plastic netting was an eyesore, but local officials ultimately sided with the filmmaker, who argued it was the only way to keep deer from decimating a network of floral gardens on the property he purchased in September 2006.
Hopefully they just thank M. Night Shyamalan and leave him alone this time, but pro-tip to him: it’s Willistown so don’t try to have a flower farm and avoid conversations about sewer sales and miles of concrete sidewalks…..
Willistown, Willistown, Willistown it’s always entertaining to learn your news.
Following up on the Savvy Main Line article which set the Main Line on fire, it seems our shopkeeper without a store has seen the end of her bankruptcy case? What does this mean for her creditors? Time will tell….will she stay or will she go now?
Chester County, like her neighboring counties used to be a farming seat. Acres and acres of fields as far as the eyes could see. Cows, horses, sheep. The landscape dotted with old barns and farmhouses. Sounds of fields, being plowed, or crops being brought in, and more.
Dairy farms were a big part of Chester County. Now all we have for the most part are memories of the farms that used to exist before development and before developers drove up land prices, making farmers unable to keep their land for future generations, like their fathers and grandfathers before them.
Now, for the most part, the memories we have are of those great dairy farms large and small are old glass milk bottles. I have little pint sized ones on my kitchen windowsill. I use them to root plants and hold flowers.
I really don’t think that government and politicians no matter what political persuasion really value farming anymore. Just like in Pennsylvania I don’t think they value the way we want our communities to look, as opposed to being stampeded and trampled by new development that feels like it arrives every minute of the day.
What once was hangs on in little memories like when you come across the little bottles. Here’s hoping people eventually wake up before all is lost. Yes, we do need some development, like it, or not for us to move forward. But there is simply too much of it. It has become a problem. It is destroying us.
Remember those fresh vegetables you love do not grow on the roof of Whole Foods in Exton, nor do cows and horses and sheep and goats and more graze there.
I just posted about the Oaklands Estate Tenant Farm House after driving by a couple of days ago. I said in that post, I feared it would just be torn down. I didn’t know. Now I know that it’s actually true I am going to say that out loud.
A bit after I posted my post, some of the family that used to live in that beautiful farmhouse posted some photos. Of a pool refurbished in 2021 and things like that. The house had huge beautiful gardens and a wonderful library in the house. It was a home, a much loved home.
Some McIlvaine family members were living on site until they had to leave after the sale. They have been kind enough to give me these photos to show all of you.
I get that a car dealership probably doesn’t care about an old farmhouse but we in Chester County should care about our old farmhouses, and I want the memories to survive through photos. The descriptions on the photos have been provided by a family member and I would like to thank Shane McIlvaine in for sharing his precious memories. And these are precious memories for these people.
But when estates have to be settled and there are a bunch of relatives involved, properties sometimes have to be sold. And given the absolute insanity of the real estate market and how developers on a quest to play PAC MAN and gobble up land all over, it makes it hard for individuals to compete to try to save these properties, let alone family members who want to hang on to familial homesteads and be able to afford to buy out other family members.
So when someone else asked Shane McIlvaine about the situation, we all learned some interesting information and the reality of the damage overdevelopment does over time:
“I moved out last year when we sold it to Exton Nissan. The chimney never caught on fire…it was an electrical fire from a poor stucco job exposing a wire…Even though I had just recently refinished the pool, the property was slowly sinking into the wetlands because of surrounding development. It needed hundreds of thousands in repairs. Decided it was time to go when yellow jackets were discovered within the entire back wall of the home. In the 70’s it never flooded and it had a useable pasture for farm animals.…Brand new pool put in 2021. It does make me a bit sad since it had been in the family since the 1700’s. My grandmother lived in the guest house and was the owner. When she recently passed her estate was divided, and I couldn’t afford to buy everyone out of their share of the acreage.”
The house and/or the spring house is sinking slowly into wetlands because of surrounding development. That old phrase you hear about water seeking it’s own level strikes me as apropos in a sad way. This is a real cost of over-development, which sadly is somethings the West Whiteland corridor has plenty of. Water no longer has anywhere to go because of all of the development. And with climate change and increasingly obnoxious weather patterns, where we never had flooding, we have flooding.
And if there was more open space, water would have a place to go. They can engineer stormwater basins and whatnot all they want, but it doesn’t really replace old fashioned open space with room for water to go.
Back to death of a farmhouse….
So Shane McIlvaine is the nephew of former State Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith who was also Vice President of West Chester Borough Council once upon a time. Shane’s father was her older brother. His dad passed away in 2012, so his aunt became the Executrix.
Other information: Shane McIlvaine has the original deed, William Penn land grant paperwork, and some pictures of the farm workers from long ago.
Let that sink in: this is yet another property that was a William Penn land grant being destroyed for development. (Yes, that is my opinion that too much land, too many farmhouses, farms, open space, etc are being destroyed.) Lloyd Farm in Caln is also crumbling by the minute, was a William Penn land grant. Our history of Chester County, of Pennsylvania, of this very country is lbeing destroyed and for what?
If you look at other countries like the one we spring from originally, England, they value their heritage. In this country, it’s super sad but we do not. Not all of us, but too many decision makers for sure in Harrisburg, for example.
So maybe, just maybe if state representatives and state senators could get off their collective political asses in Harrisburg and do their jobs, which includes updating the Municipalities Planning Code comprehensively to protect the constituency they are supposed to serve as opposed to special interests, that would be awesome. And it’s not all of the state representatives and state senators, but there are so many that are in with all sorts of obvious that they forget whom they’re there to serve.
So hypothetically, speaking, maybe if the Municipalities Planning Code had been updated, there might not be so much development in West Whiteland, and this farmhouse and William Penn Land grant remainder would be worth maybe saving?
We all need to do better. We can’t keep standing idly by as our very history disappears.
Here in Chester County we keep losing what makes this county special. Farms, land, open space, history. We loose it with every devil of a development project we don’t really need – you know like that warehouse development project being discussed at present in Uwchlan Township? Or any of the apartment and townhouse developments we don’t actually need more of in a county once known for farms and open space. It’s all bullshit being shoved at residents as the latest and greatest until it’s not. And it’s not.
I don’t think any bells can be unrung here with this historic farmhouse that’s part of a historic William Penn land grant. That actually upsets me. To follow in screenshots is all the West Whiteland stuff talking about the demolition execution timeline.
One last comment from Shane McIlvaine about all of this development. It makes me sad. He literally has been someone in a farming family who has grown up watching farms disappear. Imagine what he has seen. Chester County has lost so much. When will it stop?
“ It is sad. In the early 90’s when my Grandad and his brothers sold the 300 or so acres between Whitford and Rt100 (becoming Waterloo Blvd and a bunch of condos), I knew it was all downhill for Exton as peaceful farmland. A few yrs later Waterloo gardens sold to a developer when the matriarch of the Le’Bouttlier family passed and that property had to be split between siblings. So will go every other last chunk of Chester County land. Honey Brook is the next target for developers. Our other family farm called Springton Manor towards that direction was sold as well but partially preserved luckily.”
I have written about both houses before and they are neighbors. First is the Joseph Price House at 401 Clover Mill Road in Exton. It’s on the corner of S. Whitford Rd.
Supposedly it has a caretaker, but there seem to be so many holes in the house as it sits and rots, that you have to wonder if it’s safe. There are constant rumors that the guys who own it have sold it, but it never seems any sales go through, so are they just a pair of house hoarders? (You can look up the owners, it’s public record.)
Then there is the neighboring and equally rotting old farmhouse at 105 S. Whitford Road in Exton. It’s an old tenant farm from what was the Oaklands estate once upon a time. Supposedly dates from 1750 and this is the respect it gets? (Again, you can look this house up, it’s public record.)
Yes fuzzy photos taken in the rain as a passenger in a car yesterday and there was traffic, so not the best photos.
I don’t really have much more to add. I’ve written about these properties before. And it always gets me when you go up S.Whitford Road that these two historic properties are so close to each other. I will note that the white farmhouse looks like something is going on to the side- the right side when driving by to meet Route 30.
Both of these houses in my opinion are demolition by neglect. What is happening to both of these houses is criminal. The Joseph Price house in particular will shortly reach the point of no return if someone can’t convince those owners to sell to preservation minded people. I don’t think there’s any hope for the beautiful old farmhouse and My guess is that will be torn down. I predict with both these houses someday we will all say to one another “Do you remember those really cool houses?”
I really hope that the West Whiteland Historic Commission is able to fully document these properties inside and out before it’s too late.
So Kristine Howard only won her State Rep re-election because her opponent was a cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs candidate who is even less qualified as a politician as she is, and because face it 2022 was the lesser of two evils election, wasn’t it? The woman who ran against her, was literally such a bad candidate that even Republicans voted for Kristine Howard.
Howard now wants to run for JUDGE. I mean, it would be a nice salary bump wouldn’t it? According to published media reports judges serve 10 years and the salary is supposedly$197, 119, so that is like more than double what she makes now, right?
There are a lot of Democrats who want to be judge this year, especially off of County Row in Chester County, correct? And then there are some running who are Magisterial District Justices and they haven’t even finished their terms yet, correct? Sorry, not sorry, I kind of have a problem with that. If you haven’t completed the initial task you were originally elected to, why should we consider you for judge?
And I think Kristine Howard is one of the worst offenders because I’m still trying to figure out what it is exactly she has actually done for us since she was first elected aren’t you? She doesn’t support the people whose lives have been damaged and ruined by the pipelines, does she? She’s not someone you see around unless she’s running. Like she showed up this week at the rededication of the Malvern Historical Commission and opened her mouth for a few seconds. Good thing a public photo op was posted. It’s like proof of life that this State Rep exists.
With this state rep photos are always the subject of some amusement where she’s concerned because when she ran for her first race, the photo was like 15 years old. Literally people didn’t know who she was at first because she was not out much and she didn’t have current campaign photos. I totally get liking certain photos of yourself over others but people literally didn’t recognize her when they actually met her for the first time.
So now Kristine Howard wants to run for judge, so she actually showed her face at something local.
She seems to hide from her constituency, and her staff is not particularly helpful, because there are so many people who have said so. I’ve never contacted her office personally, because when she abandoned her constituents harmed by pipelines, I was kind of done. I mean that was a pretty basic need to just be heard on the part of her constituents affected by pipelines before you get to all the other issues, and she couldn’t even do that.
And is she qualified to be a judge? It doesn’t appear as if she has ever had time in a courtroom does it? So, maybe if she was running for Magisterial District Justice? It would be different, but she’s running for Superior Court, and if you don’t have the chops, you don’t have the chops. And I don’t think she has the chops. I think she just wants this because it’s more money and job security for a decade.
It’s like that quote out of the movie Working Girl in 1988 when Joan Cusack’s character Cyn says:
“ Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.”
~ Cyn, Working Girl 1988
I wasn’t even going to write about this until I saw that the good state rep was doing her proverbial kissing babies public appearance things. But it needs to be discussed. She has not done an adequate job as our elected state representative and now she wants to be a judge? We can’t see that she has any actual courtroom experience, but now she wants to be a judge? So is being a judge job security, and then a platform for running for something else?
Mar 21, 2023 1:31 pm EDT | Updated Mar 22, 2023 9:23 pm EDT
MALVERN, PA – State Rep. Kristine Howard announced Tuesday her candidacy for a judgeship on the Chester County bench.
Howard is serving her third term representing District-167, which consists of Malvern borough and Charlestown, East Whiteland, West Pikeland, West Whiteland, West Vincent and East Caln townships.
There are five vacancies on the 12-judge bench.
So far, 12 candidates have announced they are running in the May primary for a 10-year term serving the residents of Chester County. Judges earn an annual salary of $197,119.
Howard, a lawyer, is serving her third, two-year term as a Democratic legislator after being reelected in November.
” My work as a legislator gives voters a clear picture of the perspective I will bring to the bench,” Howard said in announcing her candidacy. “I have an extensive voting record and have written and published my opinions on many topics.”
Howard of East Whiteland Township said her decision to run for the judge was not easy, noting she loves her job as a lawmaker, a job which provides the public with her position on issues impacting the resident of Pennsylvania…..According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Howard and Judge Nicole Forzato are running on the Democratic ticket. The other 10 candidates cross-filed on both Republican and Democratic tickets.
They are Dave Black, Andy Rongaus, District Attorney Deb Ryan, P.J. Redmond, Don Kohler, Sheriff Fredda D. Maddox, Thomas McCabe, Judge Lou Mincarelli, Sarah Black, and District Judge Paige Simmons.
Her work as a legislator. Good to know she’s working right? Because it has been hard to tell and you rarely hear her actual voice. She’s pretty much invisible to her constituency as an elected official unless it’s a photo op for something.
Also look at who submitted that photo in the opening screenshot I captured from the Patch article which is really not an article but a press release? Isn’t that the guy who is supposedly both her political handler and fancy man? And you’ve seen him show up on campaign finance reports getting paid? If she was a judge, who would be the voice you heard adjudicating from the bench, him or her? What would he get out of her being judge?
Kristine Howard is also someone who always appears completely ill at ease speaking in public, and being a judge is a pretty public thing day in and day out, so how would she cope?
Then there is her LinkedIn. Again, you don’t see actual courtroom experience. You see that she has a law degree, but when someone is running for judge at this level, having a law degree isn’t enough, you need actual experience.
Running for judge of Common Please Court, is a big deal. And the Chester County Democrats did NOT endorse her either. Of course, that begs a different conversation of is the bloom off of the rose with her in Chester County?
Chester County Democrats Choose State and County-wide Candidates for Party Endorsement
West Chester, PA. (February 16, 2023) – The Chester County Democratic Committee (CCDC) has selected candidates for endorsement for the 2023 Primary Election at its annual Endorsement Convention, held virtually on Wednesday evening.
Chairwoman Charlotte Valyo stressed the importance of the endorsement process, especially given cross-filing Republicans expected on the May 16 Democratic Primary Election ballot for non-political races. She also noted the recent election successes of Democratic candidates across the county, leading to several very competitive primary races.
Valyo stated “The Chester County Democratic Committee has successfully endorsed a full slate of candidates to run for Judicial and County seats in the 2023 election. The Democratic slate is representative of Chester County, the candidates are highly qualified, and will continue the Democrats’ record of governing responsibly for all Chester County residents.”
For state-wide races, the Committee endorsed Dan McCaffery for State Supreme Court; Jill Beck, Esq., and Judge Timika Lane for Superior Court; and Judge Matt Wolf for Commonwealth Court.
The Committee was proud to unanimously endorse incumbent Chester County Commissioners Josh Maxwell and Marian Moskowitz, along with incumbent Prothonotary Debbie Bookman. Current Register of Wills Michele Vaughn was also endorsed, although not unanimously. Earning first-time endorsements for open seats were District Attorney candidate Chris de Barrena-Sarobe, Esq., Recorder of Deeds candidate Diane O’Dwyer, and Kevin Dykes for Sheriff.
With a very unusual five openings on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and 13 declared judicial candidates, that position proved to be extremely competitive, requiring several rounds of balloting to endorse Sarah Black, Esq., Judge Nicole Forzato, Sheriff Fredda Maddox, Esq., Thomas “Tip” McCabe, Esq., and DA Deborah Ryan, Esq.
This year’s Democratic Primary Election is May 16, 2023.
That is a fascinating press release. It also mentions the Register of Wills race. The incumbent was not universally endorsed by her party. Does that mean perhaps she should spend a little more time in the office? And Recorder of Deeds? That is an office that has seemed to have had messes and messy revolving door hasn’t it? And the woman whom they endorsed has been there through a lot of it and it’s still a mess, so why should we vote for her?
But that’s a conversation for another day. Let’s get back to Kristine Howard. if she decided for some strange reason that she had wanted to run for Magisterial District Justice , I would not have had a problem with that and why do you ask? Because that is the one judicial category where you do not have to have a law degree or be a lawyer. And technically, you don’t have to have quart room experience either. But State Rep Kristine Howard wants to run for Court of Common Pleas. She just doesn’t have the chops for this job.
I know we all have to get through the primary before we get to the general election. I almost wished that judges were a political as far as parties went, and they just ran as qualified or not qualified individuals. I personally do not want someone who is purely a politician to be a judge, and that doesn’t matter what political party they are. When somebody runs for judge, they have to have some kind of practical court experience that would qualify them for the Court of Common Pleas.
So Chester County Democrats you have a task ahead of you. You need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Most simply put, State Rep. Kristine Howard when it comes to a judicial race is sadly the chaff. I mean, if she’s tired of going to Harrisburg, she could always run for County Commissioner like State Rep Tim Briggs had been considering in Montgomery County until he changed his mind, right?
It’s not up to me to decide if Kristine Howard ends up on the fall 2023 election ballot. But I can tell you she won’t be my choice. She shouldn’t be yours as well. She just doesn’t have it to be a judge.
We need judges on the bench for the right reasons. Being a judge should not be a political steppingstone, or a place to hang out for a decade with a higher salary. I believe people who run for judge should have a true calling for it.
That’s it that’s all I’ve got to say the rest is up to the voters in May.