stuff the underpass…west whiteland township (ship road)

Above is a reader submitted photo.

You see, this morning that big old truck decided to stuff itself under an underpass on Ship Road.

Ship Road is in West Whiteland, and like many other roads in our area has railroad underpasses. The heights on these tunnels are posted.

I am sure as in a lot of the situations we have apps like Waze to blame.

Except I don’t understand how people can drive rigs this big and can see where it’s posted as to how big/tall the tunnels are and still do things like this?

Is it that these truck drivers really don’t know how tall their rigs are? Or are they so intent upon their cell phone and apps they don’t see the underpasses coming up?

mind you, all the increased traffic on our roads due to development and other issues doesn’t help this situation does it?

this is chester county

This photo was taken yesterday while a friend was driving by Lloyd Farm in Caln.

No, Lloyd Farm is not saved. But apparently a tenant farmer is back.

This is the Chester County we lose with every development. This is why many, many brave souls are boarding a bus at 6 AM May 6th to go to Pittsburgh for Crebilly.

Yes, Pittsburgh. It’s not uncommon for court calendars to fill up and apparently they’re jammed around here. But I am told if the developer had agreed to the venue not going to Pittsburgh it could have been closer and wow, right ?

Here is the information on how to ride the bus from Mindy:

Dear Friends,

This is a reminder that the next court date for oral argument in the Toll Brother’s appeal will be held:

MONDAY, MAY 6TH, 1PM

Allegheny County Courthouse

Room #313

436 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, PA  15219

Thanks to Randell Spackman of Thornbury Farm (who also happens to be my wonderful cousin), a chartered bus has been arranged for those that wish to attend but prefer not to drive.  Here are the details:

*Bus departs from Thornbury Farm Market at 6AM:  1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester  (http://thornburyfarmcsa.com

*Cost of the bus is $45 per person/round trip

*Bus will return the same day

*Free parking at Thornbury Farm

*Here is the link to purchase bus tickets:

https://crebillybustopittsburgh.brownpapertickets.com/

Friends, please do not miss this great opportunity to support the Westtown Township Supervisors and Township Solicitor Patrick McKenna in their brave battle to preserve the national, historic view shed from our Revolutionary War on Crebilly Farm (part of the Brandywine Battlefield) and prevent over-development in an already saturated region of Chester County.  We need bodies in the court room.  We need MASSIVE PUBLIC OUTCRY!!!  A full court room of supporters will speak volumes without saying a word.  It will send a clear message to the panel of judges that indeed we care and we are standing up for what is right.  Please contact any friends and family you have in the Pittsburgh area and ask them to attend this very important court appeal.

Together we have come so far and I thank all of you for your efforts.

We must keep going.

If not you, then who?

Sincerely,

Mindy Rhodes

Neighbors for Crebilly had the following to say:

Tell our Commonwealth Court Judges in Pittsburgh how much Chester County residents feel about their Quality of Life. Attend the oral arguments on Monday, May 6 at 1pm with your neighbors – all headed to Pittsburgh.

Several groups and interested parties are all working together to make a statement and presence by filling up the courtroom in Pittsburgh. We’ll fill one bus first and then start on the second. If we don’t reach a threshold number to fill the second bus, we will refund your ticket purchase. The coach holds 54 passengers.

With that said, tickets are $45 each.

First come, first served.

Your ticket is your placeholder, reservation.

No ticket purchased, no seat on the bus – we have to make this easy to manage – we’re all volunteers and need to be fair to all.

You will need a ticket to board. Print-at-home tickets or mobile tickets supplied at purchase.

We anticipate leaving Thornbury Farm, 1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester, PA 19318 at 6am and will return from Pittsburgh between 4-5 pm. It is a long day for everyone and to be compliant, the motor coach company will staff two drivers for your safety. Coffee and refreshments will be available for the ride out. Convenient parking at Spackman Farm.

Please post and share this simple ticket purchase URL: https://m.bpt.me/event/4224737

Not every piece of land or old house can be saved. That is the reality. But some of these properties don’t have to become developments.

And with these remaining big parcels in Chester County, I don’t understand why these families can’t put at least part of the land into conservation and preservation and not just turn everything over to a mega housing developer.

People want to tell us that we need all this development. We don’t. And all this development is causing other issues in our communities.

Between pipelines and residential developers, Chester County is becoming a war zone.

It’s time to start gathering within our individual communities and telling our elected officials we don’t want so much development.

We also need to band together as Chester county residents and tell the Chester County Planning Commission and Chester County Commissioners and anyone else who we can get to listen that we don’t want so much development.

Thanks for stopping by.

dear east whiteland and east goshen: we need a little “sunshine” about shared intersection improvements at king and 352.

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For a while (as in at least a couple of years by my estimation), we’ve been hearing about the potential of intersection inprovements at Route 352/N. Chester Rd/Sproul Rd and King Road.

Mentions of it have shown up in reports in East Goshen and East Whiteland. It even showed up in an East Goshen newsletter in 2017.

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But what we as residents of these two townships have been hearing lately is disturbing.  A traffic circle.  Personally I hate them.  That is not why I find it disturbing, however.  What disturbs me is to build/construct a traffic circle land has to be taken. Taking as in eminent domain.  So who is on board exactly as a resident with this?

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How many residents in these municipalities, would lose land and/or their homes? I certainly wouldn’t be o.k. with that.  Would you? So if the traffic circle happened, potentially would Lockwood Chase development residents be o.k. with the historic marker sign for Battle of the Clouds being moved as well as whose homes might have to go by byes?

And what of my friend Tim and others who might be looking at some kind on GINORMOUS retaining wall?

There is not much information the public can look at.  I will be honest and tell you I have put in Right to Know Requests for East Whiteland and East Goshen about this project, and I encourage others to do so as well…especially if you live closer to ground zero for proposed intersection improvements. I fully expect them to deny a lot of what I asked for, but I am asking anyway.  If they say they won’t on the basis of real estate, that to me would be an indicator as to the truth of plans that include eminent domain.

I do not have a problem with improving the intersection, I have a problem with circles AT THIS LOCATION as I think they are a nightmare and MOST IMPORTANTLY BECAUSE I AM 100% AGAINST EMINENT DOMAIN.

March 2018 EGT

A simple solution of course would be signal improvements which would allow each of the four sides to go individually. (I do not know if I am articulating that properly.)

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I am not a traffic engineer but sometimes simple solutions are the best.

Of course I must also mention that, d’oh, the increasing problems at this intersection has to do with increasing traffic….and a lot of that has to do with ALL of the development out here.

Increased development = increased density = increased traffic = increased burdens on infrastructure.

I think we as residents need to be granted more transparancy as this process progresses.  I do not think we should settle for “don’t worry, we’re working on it.”

Please watch an excerpt of the April 10, 2019 East Whiteland meeting. The excerpt I captured contains public comment on this topic.  I think if you live in East Whiteland or East Goshen or travel through this intersection from other neighboring munipalities on a regular basis you should definintely watch my friend Tim’s presentation.

Residents of East Whiteland and East Goshen together we are stronger.

#NoCircle #NoEminentDomain

from the humble to the fairy tale fantastical: chester county needs more preservation of land and architecture.

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Soledad Mansion, Exton, PA

I had all these photos from Chester County Day this past October that I had never edited. Life got busy, along came the holidays, and here we are, months later.

But I do not know that now is a bad time to be editing. Actually, I think it is the perfect time given my recent posts on preservation.  And Chester County Day is the perfect tour day to go around the county and see what makes where we live so magnificent, so special, so worth preserving and fighting for.

Our architecture ranges from the humble to the classic farmhouse to the fantastical. We need to preserve this.  We can’t continue to allow the hum drum homogenous plasticity of dense developments to continue to run rough-shod over our county.

If elected, appointed, and county planning officials aren’t going to help, we have to seek alternative means.  For example, when will we see these crazy developer driven zoning overlays that walk, talk, and smell of spot zoning go away?

It’s hard.  We stand up in our communities and we become targets. Literally targets.  For defending what we love.

This afternoon, the Philadelphia Inquirer landed a whale of an article for 5 PM release online (give or take, as far as time goes.) It speaks to what people are going through.  The article is about Lloyd Farm in Caln.  The article describes in great detail what people in Caln are going through.  And they are, of course, but one municipality dealing with these issues.

The Lloyd farmhouse is older than the nation. Caln Township residents are fighting for its survival.
by Vinny Vella, Updated: March 7, 2019- 4:29 PM

The Lloyd farmhouse in Caln Township has a star-studded genealogy, a background that reads like a who’s who of American history.

William Penn himself sold the land it sits on to a wealthy family, a grant that paved the way for the creation of the state. A century later, it became an unofficial stop on the Underground Railroad, according to local histories of the pipeline to freedom. All the while, its caretakers maintained crops that state historians have described as an early example of the agriculture that would come to dominate the region.

But after years of deterioration and multiple owners, the 1757 building’s history is coming to a close, unless a frantic scramble by residents and local historians can stop it. They’ve embarked on a last-ditch effort to grant the farmhouse historic status, working against the demolition permit its owner has received from officials in this central Chester County community.

“The saddest part of this, from my perspective, is that all these historians from up and down the Main Line have contributed to this, and it’s had no effect,” said Cheryl Spaulding, who lives across the street. “I’m not surprised this is going to be developed, but other projects have kept these houses, incorporated them into their design and ultimately saved them.”

It’s a very long article. That is but a small excerpt.  Read the whole thing. It’s beautifully written.

This article tells the tale that can be superimposed over many municipalities. East Goshen, West Chester, East Whiteland, West Whiteland, West Vincent, Upper Uwchlan, Westtown, Willistown, West Goshen, Caln…the list is as long as there are municipalities. Humble and affluent communities alike.

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Going through these photos a few months later was like having fresh eyes. Some of my photos were of houses on the tour, others were of things I saw along the way.  Things that break my heart like a development rising behind a corn field.  It’s like a trick of the eye. It’s eerie.

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Or what about the water in a fountain of a bucolic estate rising and falling in the fountain with an office park off in the background?

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Where we used to see fields, we see development. Where we used to see fabulous 18th and 19th century  Chester County farmhouses , we see development. Everywhere, we see development.

When I look at all the wonderful architecture that is representative of our county from the dawn of the American Revolution, to the industrial revolution, Victorian and Edwardian splendor, humble to fantastical and everything in between it is almost like you can’t breathe because it is SO spectacular.  Then you can’t breath because every time you turn around something is being bulldozed and fields of cookie cutter samey same Tyvec wrapped homogenous architecture that won’t stand the test of time is rising up in its place.  Have you ever visited one of these developments as they are being built? You can sometimes literally smell the plastic Lego Land of it all.

Our history and architectural heritage and open space can’t always belong to the bulldozer and the wrecking ball. Chester County deserves better.

Enjoy the photos. I sure did going through them again.

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ghosts of houses abandoned on swedesford

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This is the irony of Chester County today: these were marvelous little houses that faculty and staff of Church Farms School lived in once upon a time.

Then came developers and now they rot. Day by day, month by moth, year by year. No one does anything except sometimes mow the grass.  These houses just sit there and fall apart.

But they were tough, well made houses in their day so I am guessing they haven’t rotted fast enough?

But with all the butt ugly development, these houses would have been welcomed once upon a time by families looking to live in Chester County. But oh no, along came the developers.

And they rot. And no municipality seems to care.  Someday they will be an office park or a townhouse development.

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what a difference a year or two makes in west whiteland

Ashbridge house in Exton. 2017.

I took the above photo of Ashbridge House located in West Whiteland at Exton Main Street in Exton in 2017.

It’s been mothballed for years in plastic since the mall was built. It’s another Chester County property with quite the history.

They even have a sign up in Exton Main Street about it:

Supposedly this house is being restored. I don’t know exactly which decade that’s going to occur in however, do you? I found this 2017 West Whiteland Planning Commission document (CLICK HERE) which indicates it would be preserved in the middle of hundreds of new apartments. (Also check out the Daily Local Article from May, 2017 and a blurb on the WCHE website from the same time.)

Hundreds. Because you know there aren’t enough apartments and townhouses and carriage houses being built in West Whiteland Township now are there?

That’s crazy. Obviously it was approved. Click HERE to see a list of developments in various stages in West Whiteland. Suffice it to say, I thought the list of developments in East Whiteland were bad enough. And I can’t say for sure that these lists are current as to what development is planned where.

But I digress.

Here we are in March, 2019 right? So a couple of weeks ago I guess it is now, I was over at Exton Main Street with my husband. I can tell you I was stunned by the way Ashbridge House and the outbuildings looked.

Ashbridge House in Exton. 2019.

When exactly is the preservation going to finally begin? Is it just me or do others of you out there think it’s never going to happen and someday will just hear how the house mysteriously fell down?

Ashbridge House in Exton. 2019.

I just don’t understand. I don’t understand why people no longer seem to care about historic preservation in a county that used to be known for it.

If you are interested in Ashbridge house, I have found a couple videos:

Janice Early’s terrific history video

Abandoned Steve Adventures 2013 video

Ashbridge House in Exton. 2017 or 2018.

tragic photos of the desecration of lloyd farmhouse

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Submitted by Anthony, a photographer

A blog reader named Anthony has sent in this marvelous set of photos of Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse I posting here.  It is all so tragic. Before I load up the photos, please enjoy this summary history courtesy of Chester Couny Author Historian and Artist, Catherine Quillman:

Lloyd Farm, also known as Valley Brook Farm, has been a community landmark that has spanned generations of change in the Downingtown/Caln Township region. The farm itself sits one of the last remaining parcels from a William Penn land grant dating to 1651 . 

According to a Chester County architectural inventory listing historic resources, this former “estate farm” is comprised of stone farmstead with a 18th-century core and 19th-century alternations and additions of exceptional architectural style. It is one of the few area properties that has retained much of its original plantings and specimen trees as well as its open space and historic landscape, complete with a tree-lined long entrance way and a circular drive with a mounting block at the front of the house.

The nearby historic one-lane Lloyd Bridge spanning the Beaver Creek and Lloyd Park, a 30-acre “dog” park given by the Lloyd family to Caln Township in 1969, have added to property’s community status as a beloved landmark.

As a virtual theater of Chester County’s history, Lloyd Farm has adapted through the years. Its early ownership reflects the region’s influx of Irish Quaker immigrants from the 1720s to 1750s; the 19th century local industries that included farming, dairying, and quarrying; and the era of the “gentleman” farm when it was owned by William McClure Lloyd, a Harvard graduate and Philadelphia stockbroker.

Lloyd’s great grandfather, John K Eshleman, a physician and botanist, made the Lloyd Farm famous as one of the few documented sites on the “Underground Railroad.” Eshleman, who began helping escaped slaves in 1840 while living in Lancaster County, became a key “stationmaster” after he moved to Caln in 1848 and joined other Quaker neighbors to form what has been called the “northern” route through Chester County.

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Also of note are  videos out there on Lloyd Farm:

Lloyd Farm and what is happening in Caln should be a wake-up call to preservationists and residents throughout Pennsylvania, not just Chester County.

Historic Preservation can’t just be a cute pair of buzzwords, they have  to mean something. And in order for it to mean something changes have to occur in a top-down approach starting in Harrisburg with the laws that govern us.

We need a complete overhaul of the Municipalities Planning Code, that archaic outdated state-level bible that guides the planning and zoning within our individual communities throughout the state whether we want it to or not.

This state level bible, the Municipalities Planning Code, has not been comprehensively updated in too damn long. (There were some 2007 updates you can look at here.) They need to re-define historic preservation, land preservation, open space preservation, suburbs, and exurbs just to name a few things which come to mind.

Furthermore, our elected official even on the most local of levels through to Harrisburg and Washington DC should serve their constituencies, not special interest groups, and not their own political ambitions. If they cannot accomplish that, as we are seeing in Caln Township now and elsewhere, they need to be replaced.

We are losing on a daily basis what makes Chester County so special. We are losing land, we are losing our amazing architecture, we are losing history, our equine and agricultural traditions as we are losing the very farms that put food on our tables!

Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse could still be saved, but I don’t think it will be. We need to learn from this and act. And that starts with changing the faces of those who govern us. Wherever we live, we deserve government representation that fights for the residents, supports the residents.

I also think our county planning commission should have a Chester County resident as it’s executive director and at present, it does not. Someone who doesn’t live here, doesn’t get it.

Finally of note, the historic Witmer’s map of Caln:

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