like visiting an old friend: going back to baldwin’s book barn

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Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, have a passing thought, go back to sleep?  Well, my weird passing thought in the wee small hours overnight was I had not been to Baldwin’s Book Barn on Lenape Road in literally about 20 years!

I am and always have been a bibliophile. A bookworm. A book hoarder. I love my books.  They have moved with me thoughout my life. Even books from my childhood. Books from my parents. Cookbooks. History books. Gardening books. Fiction by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Daphne DuMaurier to Elizabeth Goudge to Marguerite de Angeli to Dickens to Robert Frost and the list goes on.  I married another bibliophile.  We love out books and they are all over the house in various bookshelves.

Growing up I loved the book store at Bryn Mawr College known as The Owl.  The college disbanded the beloved Owl years ago to make way for progress. There is still The Title Page in Bryn Mawr (which was started originally by ladies who were at The Owl), and that is amazing, but for those of us in Chetser County, and book nuts in general, there is nothing like Baldwin’s Book Barn. Nothing.

And yes, when I popped awake in the middle of the night last night, my mind was on a big stone barn full of books…Baldwin’s Book Barn. What’s not to love? A giant Chester County stone barn built in 1822 filled to the rafters with books? Used books, out of print books, rare books, fun books, paperback books, bags of specially priced books….it’s book Nirvana…and it’s Chester County tradition.

As per their website:

William and Lilla Baldwin established their used book and collectible business in 1934 in nearby Wilmington, DE. In 1946 they moved to “The Barn”. The old milking house was converted into a residence for the Baldwin Family and the stone barn became the bookshop and for some years, a country store museum. We are located deep in the heart of the enchanting and historical Brandywine Valley. Baldwin’s Book Barn is one of America’s truly distinctive bookstores. Step inside and you are transported to another time and place. Today, our store is stuffed to the rafters with a treasure trove of 300,000 used and rare books, manuscripts, maps as well as fine paintings, prints, estate antiques, and other valued collectibles.

Store Hours: 10AM – 6PM Every Day
Except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Baldwin’s Book Barn
865 Lenape Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: 610-696-0816        E-mail: info@bookbarn.com

So when I woke up woke up this morning and my husband asked what else I would like to do today, I said “let’s go to Baldwin’s Book Barn.”  So to the Book Barn we went. And it was like visiting a fondly remembered old friend.

Ahhh the smell of books greets you still even with the door just cracked!!!  And the door still creaked the same was going in. Still the same smell of woodstove fires. And still the same floor to ceiling books! I will note they still have a terrific Wyeth section and Chester County section.

We went from bottom to top, top to bottom. I bought a couple of cookbooks. It is nice that some things remain the same in this life.

I will note as an aside as I overheard this, that they could use firewood for their woodstove cut to 14″ or 15″ lengths if you can GIVE them any.  There are enough woodstove folks in Chester County and so many people with firewood, how about paying it forward a little?

Here are some photos I took.  I will note with amusement that I never knew Paris Hilton wrote a book. I had a lovely time and won’t wait 20 years to go back. Go buy a book!

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unacceptable behavior in malvern borough

This was sent to me by one of my readers to me this morning at 8:05 AM. This is the Flying Pig in Malvern Borough. On the corner of King and Bridge. A nice local business, a staple of the borough community, and beloved by so many in the extended community.

Graffiti.

Tagging.

The irony is Malvern Borough does a lot of murals, so if somebody wanted to paint on walls they could volunteer and paint on walls proactively.

This graffiti is wrong. It’s not hip, it’s not cool, it’s wrong. This is hard-earned money out of the pocket of any small business that has to deal with this.

If anyone knows who did this, or if anyone has external outdoor security cameras that may have captured who these people were going to and from the site, I hope they pay it forward and go to the police. In turn, I hope the police don’t come down like a hammer on anyone apprehended for this, but instead give them something proactive like community service so they can learn and move forward.

I get the people wish to express themselves, but this is not the way to do it. Don’t punish small businesses like this. Don’t punish residents like this. Slow your roll and find another way.

To the Flying Pig and other businesses with exposed walls especially, as we learned years ago when facing a sudden onset of graffiti in Ardmore, PA (Lower Merion Township) it isn’t a bad idea to invest in anti-graffiti paint or anti-graffiti sealer coats.

At the time we were dealing with this in Ardmore, residents used to come together and help the small businesses clean up the graffiti and repaint. I always found it heartening that something that was pure vandalism could bring a community together, even for a short time.

Malvern Borough is a treasure. I am really sorry to have to report on this sad act this morning.

spam calls galore

Spam calls are maddening right now they aren’t even political Robo calls… YET.

This one I finally blocked today and they’ve been calling for a few weeks. Some robot woman named Lisa who wants to help with credit card something or other. I’m sure if you click through, she happily connects you with some one named “George” or “Chip” in Mumbai or the Philippines.

Yeah ummm no robot voice Lisa, I just blocked you.

Whatever company this is for the Robo calls is spoofing Chester county as in it appears to be county offices numbers.

I even had someone call me recently to see if I had phoned them and I hadn’t, my cell phone number had been used in a similar spoof Robo call.

I have a friend in another state whose neighbor got a phone call that was a spoof call using that person’s own home number that they were calling into!

I don’t know about all of you but this is such a bother. They come in on cell phones and on land lines. And it doesn’t matter how many times you put yourself on the do not call list it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

So I just keep blocking the calls which slip through. And No Mo Robo takes care of a lot of them.

Annoying Robo calls are nothing new, but I thought I would post this one because it had gotten me a couple of times because it said it was Chester County someone calling.

the farmhouse rots?

Yesterday I wrote about the old historic farmhouse in East Whiteland on Church Road.

This morning I happened to drive by as a passenger in a car.

Simply put, how in the hell is this farmhouse being preserved exactly? Does this perhaps more closely resemble demolition by neglect versus historic preservation? The freaking place is collapsing, it’s clearly visible from the road so WTF?

Also note the “planting” photos. Cheap trees planted too closely together. Wonder if any are on the invasive species list like the developer special Bradford Pear? Whatever these trees will be mostly dead in a few years, wait and see. (sorry not sorry, my opinion as an experienced gardener. I find it ludicrous that these developers clear-cut forest and field, only to plant poorly.)

If Toll Brothers can get up the sales office for their Great Valley Crossing Development don’t they have time or shouldn’t they have time to save the historic farmhouse like people were told would happen?

if this is progress, we soon will be living in stepford

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99 Church Road, Malvern, East Whiteland ,Chester County a few weeks ago

A few years ago in 2013 I asked rather tongue in cheek if a Toll Brothers development was what Stepford might look like. Now Toll Brothers might not like my opinion but since the whole Crebilly scenario erupted, I daresay my opinions are mild when Image result for stepford wives outsidecompared to some. (Had to get that whole opinion/First Amendment thing out of the way.)

Sadly I am only half kidding about the Stepford of it all.

We are becoming a place where people no longer say what town they are from.  They reference where they live by development. Not by road, town, township, borough, or city. By development.

Ok, so that is how you identify? That is your entire self-image? Your development or subdivision defines who you are?

Every time someone does that, I pause.  I can’t keep track of ALL of the developments, especially in Chester County, can you?

As I said in 2013,   Can you imagine what that next  Appledumb, Mountainfake, Potters Field, and Byers Remorse will look like? (Can’t keep track of all the municipalities and doofy names of developments or developers so pardon the comedic license.)

99 Church Road in Malvern was sold off to become “Great Valley Crossing” a Toll Brothers Community.  Here is the Toll site: Great Valley Crossing.

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Welcome to Naked Acres, err…Great Valley Crossing

Once before the plans were approved this property at 99 Church Road came up in an East Whiteland meeting.  They showed up in subsequent meeting minutes which have disappeared from public view on East Whiteland’s website, but I saved a screenshot:

5-14-14-ew-supervisors-meeting

The date title of this screenshot was 5/14/14, so I don’t know if that is 100% accurate or the date I saved the screen shot.  What I do know is this screen shot was from Supervisors’ Meeting Minutes before Mott stepped down.

I read with some amusement the description of this now christened Great Valley Crossing.  Here is a screen shot:

Heaven starts at $649K++. Choose from four models with jumped up, preposterous names.

Oh the “model” names. It’s like you are buying a car.  So not only will you be identified only by the development you buy into, but will be known by your house model.  Where is the “Tara” model???

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Oh Mr. Developer Rhett, I would like to live in the “Tara” Model. “Twelve Oaks” is so 1863!  (FYI: Tara & Twelve Oaks were mythical plantations featured in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind.)

Relaxed atmosphere of “country living”? Oh.Come.On. Have these marketing geniuses sat in traffic in Chester County lately?? Sadly, it’s less like country living and often more like King of Prussia mall traffic at rush hour. You can’t even garden the way you want to in a lot of these new developments. It’s all controlled and maybe soon the husbands can rejoice that out here in New Stepford, the developments will define wifely attire too?

(Hold me back, New Stepford is a comin’ ! Individuality is BAAAAAD!)

And as THIS development goes up and others are in the pipeline, for how many years will the Great Valley School District remain “award-winning”? Hows about we try “over-crowded” on for size?

Here are the plans for this development I found on East Whiteland’s website. Follow the link.  All developments are magical through marketing until ALL OF THE PEOPLE WITH ALL OF THEIR CARS move in.  Then everyone complains. “Too much traffic” “I thought our taxes were supposed to go down?” “Where is the open space?”

And speaking of marketing, East Whiteland is marketing itself as “The Heart of The Great Valley”.  How much of the ACTUAL Great Valley is still left? Great Valley has gone from having fascinating and important history with regard to this great nation to being a series of corporate centers, strip malls, and developments.

Speaking of history, I discovered this really cool report on the PA Historical and Museum Commission website. It is called The Great Valley Historical Agricultural Region, 1750-1960.

Completely fascinating. Have also uploaded here: great_valley

Here are some shots from 99 Church Road circa 2012:

99 Church Nov 201299 church Nov 2012 b

Also found this aerial shot on Google:

99 Church Rd

This is another 41.50 acres of open space/farmland that will never, ever come back.  And as per a comment on a blog post from 2016, the  development’s “open space” is actually unusable flood plain land, apparently? So these houses are clustered on what land can actually be developed?  And what will the “roads” of this development look like? Will they be wide enough?

And let us not forget in just this part of Chester County, there is OTHER development happening the Great Valley School District…not just East Whiteland, although East Whiteland has the lion’s share. (Refer to this post from early August, 2018)

I will ask again, and keep asking: Chester County residents, do you want the entire county to look like this?  Didn’t some of you move out here to escape this in the first place?

Signing off from Happy Dell Acres (no, not a real place that I know of but I feel like I have to give the area where I live it’s official dumb development name.)

 

asking again in 2018: don’t we have enough billboards in chester county already?

In September, 2017 I asked the question of didn’t we have enough billboards already in Chester County when West Whiteland residents became aware of the desire for the Billboard Baron who spent years having residents from Lower Merion and Haverford Townships attend billboard hearings because he wanted billboards in Bryn Mawr along Lancaster Avenue across from Our Mother of Good Counsel Church for one location. Then there was the whole Lower Merion billboard issue near Bryn Mawr Hospital. This has all been well documented in the media over the years.

A little closer to home for us in Chester County, in addition to whatever happened or hasn’t happened or will happen in West Whiteland, Tredyffrin is now tag you are in in the municipal game of billboards.

Community Matters/Pattye Benson: Proposed digital billboard and demolition of R. Brognard Okie building – Tredyffrin Township, is this progress?

So this is the little Clockworks Building:

clockworks

I love this place!  It and this place not too far away (next photo below) have always captured my imagination:

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These little bits of our history are little architectural gems that dot our landscape.  And Clockworks is an Okie! (Iknow nothing about the other little building and how it came to be.)

toll clock

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Ok so this isn’t my circus in Tredyffrin, I don’t live in Tredyffrin, but I don’t care if the billboards are digital or SMD (surface mount diodes) or platinum encased Lincoln Logs, at what point are there enough? This is at a crazy intersection of a densely populated area. WHY?????

If you listen to the Tredyffrin township meeting recording (and who knows how long this stays on line) it sounds like this presentation occured as part of some litigation settlement agreement? Something like Tredyffrin was threatened with litigation over the way they treat billboards by the billboard company?

So yo Tredyffrin, even Phoenixville fought the billboards. And they WON:

Billboard baron loses fight over Phoenixville zoning
By Michael P. Rellahan mrellahan@21st-centurymedia.com May 28, 2014

WEST CHESTER – A Chester County Court judge dismissed a Philadelphia-area billboard baron’s challenge to the Phoenixville zoning ordinance that he claimed improperly excluded such signs from the borough.

In a May 20 ruling, Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Tunnell upheld the ruling by the borough’s zoning hearing board, finding that the zoning ordinance did allow for billboards and other large outdoor signs to be erected, just not in the location that Thaddeus Bartkowski III and his company, Chester County Outdoor, wanted to erect them.

Bartkowski had filed a substantive validity challenge to the ordinance in 2011, claiming that it unconstitutionally prohibited a type of business from the borough. In 2012, the zoning board ruled against Bartkowski, finding that the types of signs he wanted to erect were a permitted use, even if they were not specifically identified.

It makes you wonder sometimes in these situations whose rights are valued more, doesn’t it? But if Phoenixville could prevail, I am thinking so could Tredyffrin’s solicitor if challenged?

Below is a screen capture from the televised presentation and is this what you want people of Tredyffrin? I will leave you with that image. I put an arrow as to where Clockworks would be removed from.   I vote for Clockworks but I don’t live in Tredyffrin, so that is just my opinion.

I hope the residents of Tredyffrin step forward to preserve their own special historical gateways once again. (Tredyffrin might wish to check out a website called Scenic Philadelphia  and Preserve Our PA Towns /  No Billboards in the Burbs.)

I leave you with a fun fact: Maine is one of a handful of states (Maine, Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska)  that exist just fine without billboards so why can’t we?

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