Now I had heard billboards wanted to come to Upper Merion (township in Montgomery County adjacent to places like Lower Merion and Radnor Township in spots best known for the King of Prussia sprawl of malls) as in those giant things they call “monuments” that are on 202 in Chester County, Quakertown, attempted on Route 100 with a “farmer’s market”, and disposition unknown in East Whiteland on Route 30, and other places.
What I didn’t know in the Upper Merion situation until this morning when somebody pointed it out is that these billboards put a park at risk. Bob White Park to be precise. Who knew?
Apparently no one reads the papers because there was an article in Main Line Media News a while back:
📌📝UPPER MERION — Some call them signs, some call them digital billboards.
Catalyst Experiential, the company that creates mergers of “art, architecture and advertising” calls them monuments that integrate “visual communication technology with local landmarks, infrastructure, and community experience, which encompasses the display as well as the ambient light sensor and other technology.”📌📝
Whether or not Upper Merion Township will welcome the monuments in parks and underutilized parcels will not be decided until Nov. 12 when Upper Merion supervisors will again consider the concept after tabling the matter at Tuesday’s meeting….📝📌
The company was proposing installations at four locations, including Bob White Park, Betzwood Bridge, 795 W. DeKalb Pike and 216 Allendale Road.📌🎂
The proposed amendment to zoning ordinances to amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance would permit and “encourage the innovative commercial use of certain lands within the Township” while establishing a township-wide communication platform.📝📌
The monument lease agreements would allow, among other things, a “proposed 30-year lease agreement with Croton Road Upper Merion Land Holdings, LLC for the lease of a portion of the property known as Bob White Park for the exclusive right to construct and maintain an off-premises advertising display subject to the terms and conditions outlined in said lease.”📝📌
Following a detailed presentation by Thaddeus Bartkowski, CEO of Catalyst Experiential, several residents voiced their concern about not having been informed about the hearing.📌📝
“All of these changes at Bob White Park are being made without any input from the residents,” said one resident. “None of us really knew until tonight what was going on. There’s lots of places to let us know … there’s social media. You could have shared the presentations with us. The workshop meetings used to be televised but they are no longer.📌📝
Interesting name cropped up if you click on article link and read the whole thing. Upper Merion has the same solicitor as East Whiteland Township, Chester County—Joe McGrory.
So again, I think the billboards are hideous and most locations in Upper Merion being proposed are locations already kind of hideous, but this whole plan for Bob White Park? Why has it gotten this far? Have Upper Merion officials lost their tiny minds?
So if I have this straight, billboard company wants to lease a portion of this park to erect a “monument” in a heavily wooded portion of park that faces the expressway? As in the Schyulkill Expressway? So maybe houses near the park wouldn’t have full on sign blast of light, merely an unhealthy glow potentially but that is not the real problem with this location is it? Isn’t the real horror of this location the potential RE-ZONING of park land to COMMERCIAL?
So OMG let me understand this: if Upper Merion re-zoned a public park to commercial land zoning wouldn’t that mean a park might not have legal protection if Jim Bob Shiny Bright Developer showed up down the road and tried to do something? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that is a dumb ass plan isn’t it?.
And apparently in return Upper Merion would get “park improvements”? Talk about sell your souls to the devil right?
So look, not my county, not my people, not my township. But fascinating in its proposed vulgarity, none the less. Upper Merion residents, I feel for you. No one likes these billboards, well except for the company who likes to build them.
Oh Joe Gale. Once I thought he showed promise. But it sadly has become apparent over time that he is nuttier than a fruitcake and so divisive. He seems hell bent on his personal agenda, which also seems as clear as mud some days, doesn’t it? And I find it fascinating that he does all this while living with his mommy, and what happens when he brings a girl home? For those wondering why I write about a Montgomery County Commissioner, it’s because I spent most of my life living in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and when he was first running people I know and respect told me how wonderful he was blah, blah, blah and how he would be terrific for Montgomery County.
In Italy they call men like Joe Gale a mammone which literally translates to “mommy’s boy”. There have been a lot of articles written about mammoni (plural of mammone) and I find it all fascinating. Some of the articles ruminate about these guys having Peter Pan complexes. And CBS 60 Minutes even did a piece on mammoni years ago and maybe we should suggest Joe Gale for an updated piece?
Now I am not saying I have a problem with Joe because he’s young. One of our Chester County Commissioners, Josh Maxwell, is not much older than Joe Gale and somehow he manages to live on his own and is married and is an adult (and a heck of a nice guy too.) Josh became Mayor of Downingtown at 26. Sadly, Joe Gale is no Josh Maxwell.
Joe Gale doesn’t have emotional maturity, he seems instead somewhat stunted, and isn’t that sad?
Now I am not saying that the other two Montgomery County Commissioners are prizes, because oh hell to the no they are not. Montgomery County is a political swamp in need of a good draining and cleaning. And Montgomery County has surpassed the dysfunctional prizes once held by Delaware County ( see the chronicles of Delco Tom Paine before they disappear. Peter Porcupine is still a genius.)
Now if Joe Gale actually did anything for Montgomery County residents, well I probably would shut my mouth. But all he does is push his own somewhat clear as mud agenda from the comfort of mommy and daddy’s house. In June he released a very offensive statement concerning rioting, looting, and Black Lives Matter by any standards conservative or liberal in my humble opinion:
Yes I got into PACER. First Amendment victories thrill me.
So hey this is what Joe Gale thinks of all of us:
My gosh Joe Gale, isn’t the First Amendment marvelous? I mean I know you think it should be subjective and all that but it gives you the right to literally call a divine Main Line lady,Caroline O’Halloran and the rest of us who simply do not agree with you the “Marxist Mob”. My gosh my golly I have not been referred to as anything so delightful since a white sneaker wearing tea partier spat in my face and called me a Socialist years ago (while I was a card carrying Republican, no less.)
So Joe Gale started out like a true Alex P. Keaton at 20 running for Plymouth Township Council I think it was. He lost. Ran for something again there in 2013 and withdrew. He ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2015. He has more political experience if you want to call it that, than actual work and life experience. He worked for about a year at a clerk position at Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. He then had job for three years at some developer. Briefly in 2018 he ran for Lieutenant Governor. So the job he has held the longest is Montgomery County Commissioner, but what has he actually done?
Back when he first wanted to be a Montgomery County Commissioner I found his Alex P. Keaton-ish self meh but palatable. After all considering the legions of skunks who had been Montgomery County Commissioners how bad he could be?
Let’s look at how he has approached COVID-19? Is it just me or does he act like it’s not real? And look at all the photos he poses for, including with old people which makes you wonder is he doing contact tracing? Or is anyone doing contact tracing on him?
Joe Gale’s website is a marvel of spin and oh the giggles. However, he marches all over social media angrier than Trump and that is saying something. Do they tweet to each other from the potty? Oh and his Twitter account @VoteJoeGalePA says “Joe Gale’s Personal Twitter Account. This is Not a Public Platform or Official Government Page.” Oh alrighty Joe and I have a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn….but I digress….
A First Amendment victory against petty political tyrants like Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is to be celebrated. However, I have zero sympathy for anyone in Montgomery County if you let this mammone get re-elected.
This post is brought to you by my First Amendment rights. If you live in Montgomery County, do yourself a favor and DON’T vote Joe Gale whenever he’s up again or for whatever he tries to run for next. Mail him some new binkies and call it a day. Or demand he gets recalled. There has to be a process for that somewhere right?
And all you loverly politicians out there who like to block constituents in Chester County? This ruling against Joe Gale is a very much more local not so distant legal precedent.
I love old maps, don’t you? This is an 1870s map above and at bottom of the post, is one from around 1912. Both maps are of Easttown Township. I have several good friends who live there and many others who used to live there who are concerned about the pace of development and things in the Easttown Township, Chester County. Everything seems shall we say, developer driver and hey is term limits something they should consider for certain boards and elected positions?
Anyway, there is a renewed effort to save Easttown from itself…err I mean the township and connected parties, if I am being delicate enough? I am just posting this and interested parties can draw their own conclusions. It’s a shame that all of the investigative reporters seem to have evaporated because at a minimum Easttown’s government and boards make good theater. They also don’t seem to like recorded meetings, sunshine, or any resident who disagrees with them or doesn’t suck up.
Easttown seems to be a township governed by petty tyranny and those with limited imagination. Oh and they won’t like this opinion but thank you Baby Jesus and the First Amendment for allowing me to be bitchy when the spirit moves me. (The spirit is moving me.)
If you would like to join these concerned residents to #SaveEasttown, please do.
Here are pertinent emails for Easttown: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
I don’t know who the township manager is right now, website says firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the names of the members of the planning commission and when their terms expire:
Allow me to introduce myself: part of who I am is indeed a suburban housewife. And I am offended that apparently we are all supposed to be pregnant barefoot in the kitchen, or at least chained to something in the kitchen. And drooling versus thinking.
If you love this President, there is no way on God’s green earth that you can talk your way around this tweet. It is offensive to every woman everywhere.
And I say that as someone who has never exactly been a women’s libber but I’m starting to understand why you get to be that way as a woman more and more every damn day.
This is purely and simply a male chauvinist PIG sexist statement.
And of course it is also just more of the Twitter rantings of someone who you have to question if they are mentally fit at this point to be President don’t you?
I don’t know when we moved into a dictatorship or oligarchy or something pretty damn close, but here we are people.
This man does not represent America. This man does not care about America. The only thing this man cares about is his own toxic narcissistic self and what he can get out of all of us. As in how much money can he make of of us before he walks or gets shoved away?
This country is teetering on total disaster. And you can lay it at his feet. These toxic politics of running a country on Twitter has created a divisive, caustic atmosphere in which we all must try to just exist. That’s not fair to any of us, no matter what your political persuasion.
We are suffering from a global pandemic which Washington DC really still isn’t dealing with because telling the truth might interfere with someone’s re-election campaign, right? COVID-19 really isn’t real is it? It’s just something made up by politicians opposing the current administration, have I got that supposition down correctly? Essentially people are dying but as long as this guy gets re-elected that’s all that matters right?
WRONG. And I’m speaking to all the Republicans out there who secretly within the four walls of their own home know this isn’t a good person to have as a Republican president yet because they think they will turn to pillars of salt if they vote for a Democrat they will be among the Sheeple in November.
And let’s talk about other things in this country. How about the great racial divide? What has this administration done to combat racism? NOTHING. They have made it worse. Until 2020 I didn’t think it was possible to make it worse. Yet here we are and people are dying because of that as well.
People are rioting in the streets yet Marie Antoinette with a comb over would just let them eat cake (or more appropriately in this case, McDonald’s.) I would ask if he was a student of history but I think he was the one that mixed up World War I and World War II and the last global pandemic the other day, correct? If this guy was a student of history he would understand how and why revolutions happen, right?
And I’ll remind you I’m not a screaming liberal. I am a suburban housewife and former life-long Republican. I am also a woman with a brain who definitely resents the crap out of men who are sexist pigs and talk down to us. Or anyone.
And as a suburban housewife, I could probably tell the President of the United States more about affordable housing than he actually knows. To make such a broad and offensively sweeping statement is also at its core, utterly ridiculous.
Affordable housing also means things like housing that all seniors can afford to live in when they are downsizing. We need to look no further than our own communities to see all the elderly moving out because they can’t afford to live where they raised their families. Just like young couples starting out can’t afford to raise their new families where they were raised. And new housing developments are pricing all kinds of people from multiple socio-economic levels out from where they live, so in a sense, everyone needs affordable housing. The top 2% in this country are fine, it’s the rest of us who have to worry.
Affordable housing isn’t some dark stain of Section 8. And published research shows that affordable housing isn’t some evil foisted on society. How about with all of the new developments that they keep building that are mostly townhouses, condos, and apartments they add affordable units each project? If they are going to keep approving these hideous developments in local municipalities, they should at least throw in a few affordable units, but they don’t. They never do.
We actually need safe affordable housing. But before we get to that it also might be nice to have leadership in Washington that has actual respect for women. I resent a politician that wants to tell me what it is I and any other woman in this country are supposed to do with our bodies, and how we’re supposed to think.
And if you want to get into the whole pro-choice/pro-life debate which doesn’t belong on pulpit or political platforms in the first place, the basic tenet here that everyone is missing is that it doesn’t matter if a woman is pro-choice or pro-life it’s her decision to make. Period.
Believe it or not, a woman can be pro-life and also be pro-choice based on the belief that every woman has to decide what is best for herself.
Gloria Steinem and Susan B.Anthony’s spirit rolling in her grave, I am over here. And I am getting your points more and more every day.
Women are not the chattel of sexist politicians.
Our forefathers did not fight and bleed to form this great nation to have it come down to this.
As my readers know I also write a gardening blog called the nightgown gardener. I started that blog because my readers asked me to have a blog just about gardening. I don’t make money off of it, I don’t get special favors because of it, it’s just writing about gardening. Like this blog I pay for it to be ad free.
As my readers know gardening is a passion of mine. So I share my knowledge and my tips and my sources and my resources and photos of my actual garden on this blog.
The times we live in gardening is a happy thing. It brings you closer to the earth, it brings you peace of mind , it lets you express yourself artistically and even grow your own food. and I have been sharing my garden rating since I started doing it both on this blog and my gardening specific blog.
Writing about gardening is not controversial it’s nice. And we need more nice in this world. So why on earth is Facebook censoring me? I don’t have the answer to that question but they are censoring me. For some unknown reason, starting yesterday, they started REMOVING and BANNING anything I had written about GARDENING.
Meanwhile Facebook allows cybercrimes to occur daily like cyber stalking and cyber harassment and fake news and heck even porn to pollute it. They allow racist propaganda and all sorts of other nasty things that you can think of yet they ban happy things like writing about gardening?
It makes NO sense. I am not a monetized blogger I don’t even promote my blog post with Facebook ads. I just share what I’m doing in my garden on my garden blog . And somehow that is a bad thing?
Facebook and their algorithms are all sorts of screwed up. And there is no one you can contact or talk to about this. Well I’m not taking this line down.
Their algorithms are actually in fact practicing censorship, then they need a serious makeover.
Mark Zuckerberg I know you won’t be reading my blog because you don’t care about anything other than all the money you are making, but you should you say you wanna make the world a better place and gardening is one of those things that accomplishes that.
Facebook is wrong here. They had this issue in March.
Yes, in Facebook’s fakakta wisdom, sharing about gardening is bad. Maybe they should fix their algorithms and “weed” out the bugs.
Of course part of me wonders if Facebook has a problem with WordPress all of a sudden? At the end of the day I don’t really care why it’s happening I only know it shouldn’t be happening. Gardening and cooking are happy things in a world that is filled with COVID-19 nastiness right now.
I swear there is a meme for everything and this one is pretty much perfect. Why am I posting this? Because some people just floor me on social media. Facebook especially.
Backstory: a few years ago when I had my first knee surgery, I was literally just home from the hospital and practically still drooling from the anesthesia. Sitting in a daze in bed, I was mindlessly looking through social media on my tablet. I noticed this one woman posting comments on my Facebook timeline that I just didn’t want to deal with. So I didn’t say anything, I just deleted the comments. After all, your personal Facebook page is like your virtual house, right?
So the woman whose comment I had removed posted another comment in the same vein. There I was practically drooling like you can do after surgery and anesthesia and I wondered what alternate reality I was living in that this woman wouldn’t just get I probably didn’t want to deal with this? I made a decision. I deleted the new comment and quietly unfriended the woman and went to sleep.
Unfriending this person was not something I wanted to do. But when I was still sitting in bed the next day scrolling through Facebook still somewhat dazed post surgery, I knew it was the right decision. Why? Because she took the argument of the deleted comments and moved them essentially to another woman’s Facebook page (whom I also knew – ironically I introduced them to one and other) and sat there talking about me like I couldn’t see it. Kind of like they were talking on the phone only it was all playing out on Facebook. It was crazy and I decided, sanity and maturity should prevail, and I just blocked both of them so I wouldn’t have to see their online brand of crazy in the future.
Still part of me felt bad. I had known the one woman for many years. But knowing her was sometimes exhausting. The other woman was always just kind of sad always striving to belong. Also exhausting. I sent both women a note explaining why I had decided to distance. I figured I’d make one last attempt at salvaging the relationships. I explained to them I just had surgery and I didn’t want to deal with any of this right now. But if they wanted to talk about it, explain what they didn’t understand, and I would try to listen. Need list to say, that didn’t happen never heard from either, and I went on about my life. I wish I could say I missed either woman, but I don’t.
I especially don’t miss people who act like this while experiencing a global pandemic. Life is kind of stressful enough right now. What I didn’t expect was that they would do this again to someone else. I sadly thought this behavior was because of me. But it’s just them.
A very nice woman who is a very close friend has literally just had a similar experience with these two over the past couple of days. My friend had posted on HER Facebook timeline that it really bothered her that people including the President keep referring to COVID19 as the “Chinese Virus.” She said she found it offensive. In my opinion she’s not wrong.
No matter what your opinion is, my friend said it on her timeline. It’s kind of like when a lot of us don’t judge the women in menopause posting the Nametest things all of the time that says they wish they were pregnant again or what movie star they think they look like. Their thing, not ours.
To be clear, viruses do not know borders and even the CDC Director Robert Redfield agrees with this point. To keep saying that over and over puts Chinese Americans and other Asians in Jeopardy much like what happened with the Italians and Japanese during World War II and the internment camps in this country. Or the Irish need not apply campaigns and signs you would see in shop windows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.￼￼ It’s kind of like referring to the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century as the “Spanish flu”. The virus didn’t actually originate in Spain that might’ve been one of the first places that documented it in newspapers. The COVID19 virus exploded in China, but there is no absolute that it is the true country of origin for the virus.
Well the woman I removed from my timeline a few years ago, of course had to argue with my friend. My friend politely asked her to kind of stop, and sadly that didn’t happen. So my friend just quietly unfriended her and blocked her and removed the comments. Below is the comment that finally made my friend have enough.
Now you would think that would have been the end of it. But sadly no, the other woman I had removed from my circle of friends a few years ago for chiming in where it wasn’t her concern did so again. Seriously:
So my friend unfriended and blocked the other one too. I truly am stunned at how pig ignorant people can be. It’s like these women have this whole tag team of nastiness, which is truly sad. ￼ I wonder if either one of them gets it yet that more and more people distance themselves from these two all of the time. They are having social distancing practiced on them as a matter of keeping one’s sanity.
My friend wasn’t “slamming” the President. She was specifically referring to a term in this whole coronavirus world we live in that she found offensive.￼￼
Given the times we currently live in and everything that everyone is going through, wouldn’t you think that these two women would have better things to do than to argue and spread vitriol?￼￼ What do they gain with these little Facebook games?
I am really sorry that this happened to my friend too. I remember how upsetting I found it briefly at the time. It’s like this whole sense of betrayal when people are so nasty. Then you realize no one is worth that crap.
Look, OK, we probably all have a more than small dose of cabin fever at this point. We are living our lives in a way we’ve never had to live them before. But when I look at what those who live through World War II have to say it just sort of gives you a whole new perspective.
￼￼ I can’t make people be kinder to one another. And I’m sure some will have￼ comments about what I have written today. It’s just one of the many things I am thinking about because face it, we all have so much time to think right now. And perhaps that is part of the problem. I don’t think some people are comfortable with their thoughts.
But I don’t understand with all that we have to deal with why these two women persist in doing this? All they are doing is isolating themselves further from people within their community and showing the world how unhappy they are. And that’s the thing that we are also discovering through all of this staying at home and self isolation: we are not islands unto ourselves after all. Humans need human contact and community￼￼, and it takes a global pandemic to realize it. So try being nicer, right?
I have always maintained that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It would be nice if right now with our every day lives up-ended indefinitely if we could try to make it more of a blessing than a curse.￼
If something annoys you or you don’t agree with it, you don’t have to leave a comment every time. Sometimes you can just scroll past it. That way people don’t fight and friendships remain intact during a very difficult time.
When there is an election coming in West Vincent you can always rest assured that the same old political bullsheit will surface. Oh yes, bad words…please alert the potty mouth police. (Yes, sarcasm, we are talking about West Vincent, after all.)
Take the letter above. Written by Vomitorious Ralph err…that suave Country Squire former Lower Merion Township resident and political operative , former West Vincent Supervisor…David Brown.
Hence, elections in West Vincent are like seeing dead people…err former politicians desperately seeking relevance.
(Yessss people…..Buckle up West Vincent between now and Election Day it will be CRAY CRAY…..)
The largest irony about reading this letter? Wondering if it’s autobiographical to the author’s cronies and their days gone by?
I mean come on now really Mr. Brown? My goodness. If you were Pinocchio 🤥 would you be able to hold your head up now?
You can always count on West Vincent to be super nasty at election time. I have experienced it personally and have saved the screen shots to prove it. Cyber bullying, cyber harassing, the dickitude factor runs high.
I fully expect they will attack me again because oh my gosh my golly I don’t like the crap that spews out of West Vincent every single election season.
If you want the tea and scones administration to return, by all means be of the sheeple and for the sheeple and vote sheeple. Sara Shirk is your gal.
But if you want a nice man who is thoughtful and caring and honest, then vote for George Dulchinos.
File under things that drive me crazy. Not everything some developer’s marketing team labels as “Main Line” today is actually the Main Line…nor does it have to be.
One of my favorite quotes about this appeared on Facebook recently:
Die hards stick to the Original Main Line. Realtors and blow in’s want everything within 40 miles called the Main Line.
The Main Line refers to the towns between Overbrook and Paoli as per the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Malvern and Frazer are Chester County (for example) and should be delighted to be that. Realtors peddling new development are baptizing Malvern as Main Line the way they have already done with Chester Springs where they call what is actually Downingtown Chester Springs because they don’t think anyone would like living in Downingtown. Or saying Newtown Square is the Main Line also isn’t technically true. Newtown Square is Newtown Square and lovely in it’s own right.
Sad but true. Some even try to say Exton, Blue Bell, and Chester Springs are also the Main Line. Now hell, we know Chester Springs proper isn’t the Main Line every time when the nouveau Main Line heads west for Chester County Day and Chester Springs homes are on the tour (like last year) and folks don’t know how to drive (or park) on our roads or how to be polite in the houses…but I digress…
People. Learn your railroad history. It is how these towns were built.
The Philadelphia Main Line, known simply as the Main Line, is an informally delineated historical and socially pretentious and ridiculous region of suburban Philadelphia, as freaking created by old railroad lines. These towns became more cohesive along the Pennsylvania Railroad’s once prestigious “Main Line”, which ran northwest from Center City Philadelphia parallel to Route 30 (Lancaster Ave to some Lancaster Pike to some Lincoln Highway to others.)
The railroad first connected Philadelphia to the Main Line towns in the 19th century.
They became home to sprawling country estates and hotels belonging to Philadelphia’s wealthiest families, and over the decades became a bastion of “old money”. People built their summer homes out here at that point. In the 18th century wealthy Philadelphians summered in places like Fairmount Park. In the 19th century the railroads moved them further west.
After the Civil War, Bryn Mawr was a popular spot for Philadelphians to come to escape the summer heat. Of the many hotels and boarding houses in Bryn Mawr, the one that aided most in its development was the Bryn Mawr Hotel or Keystone Hotel, as it was also known, built in 1871. This grand summer resort was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and was located in the countryside just north of the station. The four-story masonry building was designed by Joseph Miller Wilson. The hotel had 350 rooms, a fashionable polychromatic slate mansard roof, and an enormous veranda. The hotel’s amenities included: gas lights, bath tubs, the first elevator on the main line, a “ten-pin alley”, first quality mattresses and one bathroom on every floor. This splendor was destroyed by a disastrous fire which broke out in October 11, 1887 at 6:30 a.m. Most of the building was destroyed by the time Philadelphia fire engines arrived by railroad gondola car.
A second Bryn Mawr Hotel was built on the site in 1890 by a neighborhood syndicate. This new, four-story, granite structure was designed by acclaimed architect Frank Furness, of Furness, Evans & Co. The Hotel was inspired by the Chateau de Pierrefonds, a 16th century French chateau, and contained the latest technologies, including steam heat and electric light. From 1896 to 1913 the hotel hosted its own annual horse show that drew high society Philadelphians. The new Furness designed building cost the promoters half a million dollars. Half of this amount was obtained by sale of stock and half through the sales of bonds. The stock never paid a cent of dividend, and when the bonds finally came due, the group could not pay the interest. The mortgage was foreclosed and with this, the hotel stopped operations. Later the building was bought by the Baldwin School for Girls.
The Main Line has this fabled history. I lived there until a few years ago. My parents moved us there when I was about 12. So yeah, I know the history. In some regards I think I lived there in the sunset of it’s greatness. The Main Line as it exists today I find distasteful and gauche sometimes because well, the nouveau Main Line neither gets nor appreciates nor really cares about the actual history.
Until the railroads, the Main Line was a lot of country. Farms, quarries, mills, even factories. It became genteel versus rural/copuntry living by it’s very history. The Pennsylvania Railroad and 19th century real estate developers and speculators truthfully get the credit here.
….So it was with Devon Inn, a brief history of which was given in the series on large fires which have occurred in this vicinity in past years. In the early morning hours of January 18, 1929, this famous Main Line hostelry burned to the ground. The pictures illustrating today’s column show two views of the Inn as it appeared in its heyday. They were sent to your columnist by James L. Kercher, of Conestoga road, soon after the story of the fire appeared in “Your Town and My Town” in the spring of 1952. The reverse side of this picture postcard of the Devon Inn describes it as the “social center or the Main Line,” located in “beautiful Chester Valley” and “open from May to December.”
….Among its attractions they list the Devon Horse Show, polo matches, kennel show, Rose Tree Horse Show, Belmont trotting event, Chesterbrook races, Bryn Mawr Horse Show and Devon fancy cattle show. And these are not all, for the list continues with the Horse Show Ball, Spring flower show, golf and tennis, private theatricals, Bal Masque, Autumn flower show, auto exhibition, the County Ball and Devon Inn’s beautiful Japanese Floral Cafe. This cafe was evidently located on one of the Inn’s wide porches…The history of this old inn is an interesting one. The original structure, called the Devon Park Hotel, had been built in 1876 to house the overflow of visitors to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Three years later, fire destroyed the first building, but it was replaced soon after by a larger and more ornate structure, erected on the same site. This is the one shown in today’s picture.
For some years there was great rivalry between the Devon Inn and the Bryn Mawr Hotel for the patronage of fashionable Philadelphia summer boarders. Located on the site of what is now the Baldwin School, the Bryn Mawr Hotel was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. This rivalry ended in a complete victory for the Devon Inn, when the Devon Horse Show made its initial bow. The show immediately became a nationally famous event, with entries and visitors from all over the United States. The socially elite from New York and the Long Island Colony, from Boston, Chicago and many other cities throughout the country filled the Devon hostelry to capacity each horse show season.
When the Bryn Mawr Hotel burned to the ground, the Devon Inn lost its only serious rival….
When this topic of what the Main Line actually is and what the actual historical boundaries are crops up on social media, someone always leaves a conversation feeling offended.
Sorry not sorry but Malvern isn’t and never will be the Main Line. As I have said before, it’s Chester County and everyone in the Malvern area should be ok with it as Malvern already has a wonderful identity and history.
In 1828, the Pennsylvania legislature authorized the construction of the railroad between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. This was known as the “Main Line” of the Public Works system. This, in turn, caused the development of the surrounding area.
After the Civil War, track improvements were sought and new station houses were erected to include more stops along the line. In recognition of the heritage of the areas along the rail line, many stations were given English and Welsh names, such as Narberth, Ardmore and Bryn Mawr.
Many changes were made to the rail route and so the Commonwealth purchased lots surrounding the rail line with stipulations on setbacks and improvements to the land next to the station houses. In Bryn Mawr, it stated that the building of “hotels, taverns, drinking saloons, blacksmiths, carpenter or wheelwright shops, steam mills, tanneries, slaughterhouses, skindressing establishments, livery stables, glue, candle or starch manufactories, or other buildings of offensive occupation” was prohibited.
The result was “a complete picture of suburban comfort and elegance with wide avenues and roomy and open ornamental grounds, spacious lots for building and homes of more than ordinary architectural tastes.” These new homes served as the summer residences for many affluent families. The Main Line was now established.
The Pennsylvania Railroad promoted this area in brochures describing the “opportunities provided by the railroad for ‘summer sojourns’ away from the city and the desirability and convenience of suburban living.”
When we were growing up there was this little thing we did to remember the order of the train stations. Old Maids Never Wed And Have Babies. Overbrook, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr. You can find this mentioned here on this blog which I find amusing because they say they think the ditty ends with Bryn Mawr Station because it was thought of possibly by a Bryn Mawr College girl. This blog is called Philadelphia Reflections and I love it because they write about the most interesting stuff!
One of my dear friend’s grandfathers was an executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He moved his family from the city to Haverford near Merion Cricket Club. The road they settled on had several homes built as a direct result of the railroad. Like many of the homes in Wayne, it was desirable because one could walk to the train station.
Growing up, we never thought the Main Line was one centimeter past Paoli…because we knew the history. Today it’s like saying you are from Greenwich, Connecticut or similarly affluent and storied suburbs. Or even what defines Manhattan, versus living in the other boroughs of New York City but saying you live in Manhattan.
The mansion stood at the end of a half-mile long drive, in the midst of 750 acres. The estate was magnificent, to say the least. It had been erected in 1911, in the style of the Georgian Revival, and was crafted by the prolific architect Horace Trumbauer – designer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Duke University Chapel, and the main Harvard University Library, to name just a few. The façade of the manor was classic “old money” – adorned with brick, accented with ornate cream molding, and finished with large traditional sash windows….Too good to be true? A fairytale perhaps? Surely, a scene from a movie? Well, yes… and no. Because not even MGM, the esteemed motion picture conglomerate, would believe it. The mansion, Villanova’s Ardrossan estate, was the inspiration for 1940s The Philadelphia Story, and has since been dubbed by the Philadelphia Inquirer a “house so grand, even Tinseltown had to tone it down.” The house in question, however, is very much real, as is the lifestyle that comes with it.
But Ardrossan is only one small portion of the prestigious and affluent area known as the Main Line. Situated just west of Philadelphia, it is comprised of the seventeen different towns in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties – each of which is connected by the railroad, and the area’s namesake, the Main Line…..These estates and their residents have come to define the Main Line. But what does that mean? With the birth of the Main Line in the late 1800s, there also came “an extreme type of class-consciousness. The flood of wealth that created American family fortunes in the late 19th century settled around a handful of cities and was expressed in different forms of conspicuous consumption and elaborate social behaviour,” writes Ian Irvine in the Sunday Telegraph. Irvine compares Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Philadelphia’s Main Line to call attention to the grandeur associated with the area; but that’s where the similarities end. “In more traditional… Philadelphia, however, society turned almost feudal, almost English in its attitudes – ‘old’ money and ‘old’ families counted for everything. The very term WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) was coined to describe members of Philadelphia society,” a term popularized by University of Pennsylvania professor E. Digby Baltzell. And an appropriate term it was….Nowadays not every Main Liner may live like a Scott, but the expectation to act like one endures. As Betty Feeney and Julia Lorenz Gaskill noted in 1955: “the Main Line is a way of life which both its natives and newcomers tend to view as the best this side of Paradise.”
The lure of the Main Line as well as the lore of the Main Line. I still find it crazy. And I for all intents and purposes grew up there. It’s only the Magic Kingdom if you can really afford it and I often wonder how many can actually afford it versus the great pretenders? I lived there for so long because it was where I called home from the age of 12 into my 40s. And yes, I always knew I would probably eventually leave not for anything else than it keeps getting more expensive and if you are realistic you have to ask is the Main Line really worth it?
A Ride on The Main Line. The War of 1812 had ended and the country was expanding by extending its borders westward. New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia were the major seaports which stood to benefit the most in trade to the west. The road system could not handle the increased traffic so we entered into the age of canals, which offered faster service and were cheaper to operate.
New York built the Erie Canal which joined the Hudson River with Lake Erie, thus providing a through waterway from New York City to the Great Lakes. The Erie Canal opened in 1825.
Maryland, replacing their National Road, began the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which connected Baltimore with the Ohio River.
As a counter measure, Pennsylvania decided that it wanted to develop its own canal system linking Philadelphia to the frontier city of Pittsburgh and authorized its construction. But when the survey was made, it was found that there was not enough water in the right places for a canal between the Delaware and the Susquehanna Rivers.
In March 1823, the Pennsylvania State Legislature issued a charter for the first railroad in the state. It authorized the construction of an 82 mile railway, from Philadelphia through Lancaster, terminating at Columbia (on the Susquehanna River), as part of the “Main Line of Public Works of the State of Pennsylvania.” The nickname, “The Main Line,” derived from this early Pennsylvania railroad…A Government Venture. The Philadelphia & Columbia Railway was one of the earliest railroads in America and the first in the world to be built by a government rather than by private enterprise. The contracts for the work were granted by the Canal Commission, under whose supervision the line was operated. Considered a public toll road, individuals and companies paid tolls to the Commission for use of the rails. They also supplied their own horses, rolling stock and passenger or freight facilities.
The Philadelphia & Columbia Railway finally became operational on September 1832, with carts and wagons dragged by horse power on a 20-mile section which began in Philadelphia (at Broad and Vine Streets) and ended at Green Tree Inn, west of Paoli….More than any other person or entity, it was the Pennsylvania Railroad that built the Main Line. For 111 years, its trains linked Lower Merion with Philadelphia and the nation. Even today, three decades after the railroad merged with a rival, the Pennsylvania’s legacy continues to shape life in the township.
The Pennsylvania Railroad began its long association with the Main Line when it purchased the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad from the state in 1857. At that time, there were only three stops in Lower Merion: Libertyville (serving modern Narberth and Wynnewood), Athensville (now Ardmore) and White Hall (Bryn Mawr). For a little over a decade, the Pennsylvania concentrated on rebuilding the line and developing long distance traffic. As late as 1869, the railroad operated only a handful of local trains along the Main Line.
So…look at the dates referenced by The Lower Merion Historical Society. 1832. Duffy’s Cut anyone? (Duffy’s Cut is the name given to a stretch of railroad tracks about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, United States, originally built for the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in the summer and fall of 1832. The line later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line. Railroad contractor Philip Duffy hired 57 Irish immigrants to lay this line through the area’s densely wooded hills and ravines. The workers came to Philadelphia from the Ulster counties of Donegal, Tyrone and Derry to work in Pennsylvania’s nascent railroad industry. They were murdered.)
And just so we are clear, I am not some old Main Line trust fund baby. We lived there because my parents decided to move us there as we got older for access to better schools and a way of life that included being able to play outside whenever we wanted. However, where I grew up was close to where one of my great-grandmothers was in service. Rebecca Nesbitt Gallen. She was a summer housekeeper for the Cassatt family (think Merion Cricket Club) at their Cheswold Estate. Of course Alexander Cassatt was also famous for his Chesterbrook Farm in Berwyn. We of course know Chesterbrook today as the giant development that popped the cherry of suburban density development. It’s hard to believe that Chesterbrook today was once a glorious 600+ acre farm, right?
Photo source: Pinterest
And yes, Chesterbrook Farm was in Berwyn…yet Chesterbrook the development today has a Wayne post office zip code. Yup even Chesterbrook wasn’t o.k. where it really was, was it?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That could apply directly to two very dissimilar areas of Radnor today. But each was a result of technology creating a need and ambitious men filling it. Although they don’t look the same at all, each was its century’s response to changes caused by technology.
In the late 19th century, the railroad had opened up the western suburbs for white-collar workers who wanted to escape the filth and disease of the city. It’s almost impossible today to imaging just how dangerous it was living in a large city and that didn’t even include crime.
Infant mortality was rife, and often mothers died in childbirth or from infections afterwards. Influenza today dreaded mostly for its discomfort killed tens of thousands each year. Men died young, maimed and broken in brutal factories. Everything was dirty, both from the coal smoke that permeated every space and from the animals which were ubiquitous.
But the trains made it possible for people to live and work in different places. After the railroad barons moved themselves along the Main Line, building monstrous estates, it was time for the middle class. The first development in Radnor designed to bring folks from the city was a 300-acre estate belonging to J. Henry Askins. Called Louella Farms, it was named after his two daughters, Louise and Ella.
In 1869 he began building houses some of which remain on Bloomingdale Ave. in Wayne clearly designed for middle-class families. But he was really too early, although he did create a community of sorts. The farm lay alongside the Main Line tracks. His mansion, also called Louella is now the Louella Apartments.
This was the center for further development in what would become Wayne. Askins liked the feudal nature of his “community” and encouraged development of other facilities south of Louella and the train tracks. This resulted in the Presbyterian Church, the Opera House and the Post Office, all built between 1870 and 1874….
A century later, transportation technology did it all over again. In the mid-1960s the state announced that it was turning Rt. 202, a two-lane highway running south from King of Prussia into a limited access four-lane highway. Radnor officials knew that meant urban sprawl was coming to Philadelphia’s far suburbs….The Fox Companies didn’t build everything, but they developed and controlled it. “The scale was large enough for two or more companies for construction and retailing,” he says. “Part of what we wanted to do was create a community with a physical and social sense, and landscaping is very important for that…..The original idea was to have a mix of housings. “We wanted teachers and cops to be able to afford to live here, for instance,” he says. “Unfortunately the economic realities of what happened to housing prices in the 1970s defeated that.” There are still different styles and price ranges grouped together, so that the 2700 units seems more to be clumps of housing.
As part of a plan to help control the tide of growth Radnor created a unified development area on a 1000-acre plot alongside the highway. This meant that the rules as to density of population and other zoning and regulatory issues would be worked to encourage controlled development. The Fox Companies, headed by Dick Fox, bought up most of the land and although there were several parcels of land, by far the largest was Alexander Cassatt’s “country place,”Chesterbrook. Farm” He named the development for Cassatt’s farm.
Chesterbrook is a mixed development, with office buildings, several types and styles of houses and townhouses and open spaces.”Issues such as schools, open space, traffic and roads were defined to help counter urban sprawl,” according to Jim Hovey, president of The Fox Companies. “Cassatt’s farm was owned by a company owned by Bill Levitt, Jr. son of the creator of Levittown. The Fox Companies were able to acquire three of the four packages of land.
Yeah, I know this has been quite the ramble. But I just don’t think Chester County needs to be completely annexed to the freaking Main Line. It’s preposterous. Stick to the history. It tells you the boundaries. And yes, there are several towns (and townships) that have parts of themselves which are part of the Main Line historically, although not in their entirety. Like parts of Chester County. Chester County has a rich history that is far more interesting than the mere history of the Main Line which was created by the railroads.
I will close with this funny as hell map of the Main Line I found on Pinterest. It is by a local artist and graphic designer named Barb Chotiner. She lives in Narberth…which is another place with it’s own unique and lovely history, yet it is part of the Main Line by history.
Thanks for stopping by….writing today as always from beautiful Chester County, PA. (NOT the Main Line.)
Whether it’s the railroad underpass in Radnor Township at the train station on King of Prussia Road, or the underpass at Old Lancaster Road in Lower Merion Township, or any of the multitude of railroad underpasses and tunnels that dot Chester County, why can’t drivers read and comprehend the height limits?
It’s crazy. In the past one could argue back in the day that these railroad bridges and underpasses weren’t marked. BUT THEY ARE MARKED TODAY!
Malvern Borough 2018. A friend sent photo to me.
LOOK at the photo above and below! The underpass is MARKED CLEARLY! How can you miss the giant yellow painted steel beam with the height on it??
Photo found on Google attributed to Abel Bros Towing.
Someone told me once that the giant painted yellow steel beams are a few thousand a piece installed? I think they are a great idea in these locations because it keeps the truck from hitting the structure it hits the beam. Mind you it doesn’t necessarily stop trucks from getting stuck under the underpass or tunnel but it does help with the initial hit.
Every time a truck does this everything comes to a halt. Why? Because engineers have to look at the bridge to make sure it’s structurally sound after each accident.
How do companies allow truck drivers who don’t know the height of what they are driving? If they have a hard time remembering, why not have a big sticker on the dashboard that says your truck is X feet X inches tall?
I think a lot of this has to do with driving apps like Waze. Waze doesn’t include tunnel heights or even warn of tunnels and/or underpasses that I know of, do you?
How many years of hits from trucks can these old railroad tunnels and underpasses take?
I have gotten stuck on Ship Road before when they were removing a truck from under the railroad underpasses / tunnels there. You really get stuck because when you end up behind one of these trucks then everybody wants to turn around immediately and not pay attention to any of the other vehicles around them.
It’s just one of those things that keeps happening in our communities. And it’s not because these places aren’t marked. They are marked. And in a lot of places they are also marked with giant yellow steel beams with the height attached.
I don’t get this any more than the people that destroy Chester County’s iconic covered bridges by also not reading the height limits and running into them.
Please note that both Ship Road photos are from last week.
Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. ~ Oprah Winfrey
So why don’t we do that? It’s a question I asked myself recently and am going to strive to do better in the future.
When social media first started it was “What a great idea and what fun!” Today? Today I often wonder. It seems to be more and more the virtual play ground where the idiots you choose not to associate with in real life congregate.
As a blogger, I accept I am an acquired taste. I am fine with that. As a human being off the screen in the real world I am also an acquired taste. But if we were all identical carbon copies of one and other the world would literally be overrun with Stepford Wives.
As a blogger, I am not a compensated blogger. When I write up a business I visited, or a restaurant I ate at, or a non-profit event I attended it is because I paid to do those things just like everyone else. Well maybe not like everyone else because there are bloggers and social media “influencers” who are…. well… compensated. In other words their good opinion is paid for in some fashion.
When I write, it’s my own experience, good or bad. I bought the goods, ate in the restaurant, bought a ticket to the non-profit event, used the paid services of a company. There are people out there who do not. They expect goods and services and even fees to write something up. Sometimes businesses are afraid to NOT slide them stuff because of what they might write or say on social media.
There are even people who take money for supposedly all sorts of services but it is really just about getting free stuff and then moving on to the next business? I have a lot of friends with small businesses of all kinds, so that really bothers me. From a moral compass standpoint, it also bothers me. It’s like blackmail, isn’t it? How do you live with yourself? How do you take the proverbial food off of someone else’s table?
Now onto the more personal side of social media. Why are the keyboard tigers allowed to roam freely and wreak havoc?
I am an admin of several Facebook groups. I have strong opinions so I do not mind strong opinions. But I do mind people who harass, badger, curse a lot (so ugly to see in writing) or who are just mean spirited to be mean spirited. Or love to be super passive aggressive while just simply trying to stir the pot.
Recently I just quietly deleted the comment of a man who was just being an ass. To me. For no reason. I had never spoken with him or even interacted with him online. The comment was essentially abusive. I chose NOT to respond which would have started an online flame war.
In online forums and other online discussion spaces, a flame war is a series of flame posts or messages in a thread that are considered derogatory in nature or are completely off-topic. Often these flames are posted for the sole purpose of offending or upsetting other users. The flame becomes a flame war when other users respond to the thread with their own flame message.
I chose to be an adult and admin for the greater good. I never said anything, just removed the comment and took advantage of Facebook’s mute feature which is a handy tool if used properly to cool off a situation. Well, the person who commented then decided to start private messaging me.
Note the use of your over you’re. Up until this point I had not removed the person from the group. Just muted them for flaming comments. Who they are is immaterial to the conversation. They were a stranger with a case of keyboard cowboyism. After sitting on the interaction and pondering it with other admins, we decided they would be happier elsewhere.
One of the groups I admin is a gardening group. It is large and popular and has grown from local to regional to national and international membership. I wanted a place where people could come from all levels of expertise and even professionals.
My group is blessed to have not only regular people but gardening professionals and growers who freely share their knowledge and expertise. A good portion of them are paid for their expertise handsomely so I think we are really lucky. I am a rabid gardener but I don’t know everything so I like to learn and share information.
Sometimes even in a gardening group people get like the Sharks versus The Jets. Yes, a theater reference. West Side Story — an award-winning decades old adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet”. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs. And that is what people get like on social media.
There was this thing happening in the gardening group that really was so ridiculous. This divisiveness between organic based gardeners versus everyone else. Someone who was a professional posted about their own HOME garden with a helpful tip. A person I had had problems with before started challenging them. The professional never lost their cool and answered all questions gracefully.
But the aggressor, who had demonstrated a similar pattern with others in the past, wouldn’t let it go. It turned from a conversation of opposing points of view to badgering. It was unpleasant. This person doing the haranguing hadn’t learned from the comments other admins had removed, so this time I muted them. And told them I was doing it and why.
They never said anything, but their supporters then started. It was unfair and they should basically be allowed to turn a nice group into a place where many felt uncomfortable. One of the champions of this person started messaging me. They literally messaged me yesterday at 9:32 AM. I did not see the message until 10:04 AM or maybe a few minutes later, because hello I was having an actual life. Do you live on the Internet? I don’t live on the Internet. I spend far too much time on it some days and I am making an effort to NOT be that way. But when you are an admin of Facebook groups especially, people seem to have boundary issues.
So this person who messaged me was responded to. But that wasn’t good enough. They had to then try to start a passive aggressive situation of their own on the gardening group page. They wondered if they were “safe to post” like a pack of rabid dogs was suddenly going to appear on their doorstep and rip their keyboard, phone, or tablet from their hands. As an admin that is a post that will escalate tensions that may exist.
I messaged the person and asked WHY they had to post that when I had actually taken the time to respond to them. My description of the timing was different she says. Ok she lives in my area is there a different time zone I am not aware of?
Then she says:
Not sure where the disconnect here is coming from, but blessed are the peacemakers. Peace.
BTW, the word “ramblings” implies a kind of laid back, relaxed enjoyment of gardening. So, maybe chill out.
She goes on to say how she is just “speaking her truth” and she’s a “stream mom” and so on and so forth. And how I was wrong to mute the person who had been badgering people about…gardening.
No honey, I am not perfect and I get tired of being a babysitter. And with a couple of thousand people to manage virtually, some days it is exhausting. One gets tired of being a babysitter and a referee of adults who should all know better. But for some reason when it comes to social media they lose their manners and inhibitions….. social norms and acceptable public behavior flies out of the window. It is crazy. And face it, we have all seen people go off the rails. Not naming names but look at a certain elected official on Twitter, right?
Having had enough of this back and forth, I blocked that person on messenger and removed them and the admins had to create a new rule so people got it:
New Group Rule as people seem confused: aggressive or passive aggressive comments towards gardeners for their decision to use biological (organic) or non-organic chemical controls in their garden will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be removed.
It’s a gardening group folks, not an environmental activist group. No one should be chastised for their gardening methods on their own property.
We all do not have to agree but just because someone chooses organic vs. non-organic or vice-versa does not make them a bad person.
Babysitting. Babysitting I do not get paid for and toddlers are better behaved at times.
It’s the love hate relationship with social media.
Then there are the people who capitulate to the whims of the social media haters and badgerers.
Years ago (as in 2013) I was part of a closed Facebook group still from where I used to live. I was still new enough to Chester County that I wanted to keep up with where I had lived essentially most of my life. Moving to a place as an adult over 25 is very different than when you are young and starting out. It is not as easy to meet and get to know people and although I had already fallen in love with Chester County, I sometimes still missed where I used to be because I missed a lot of my friends.
I did not, however, miss the BS of the Main Line. And long before I moved west, back in the early days of Facebook I decided that some people I did not wish to interact with on social media because they were horrible to me in real life, even in public. You see, that was a drawback of being a blogger and a sort of social activist.
There were literally people who would eviscerate me in public and in letters to the editor of the local paper at the time as well as leave comments on local and regional media website articles that were truly horrible. They weren’t just being Internet trolls, they were bullying and harassing me. They wanted to tear me down because at the end of the day I did not see things exactly the way they did and the way they told their minions to think.
It was a great sociological study. It was taking the theory of bullying in the middle school lunch room to a whole new level. And these were also the people who would holler like stuck pigs if kids were bullied in school or on the playground. And I would just watch and wonder why they didn’t get where the kids were learning the unpleasant behaviors from?
So when I joined Facebook, I decided rather than risk further interaction with some fo these people, I would take the high road and just pretend they weren’t there and preemptively block them. I wasn’t talking about them, I just wanted to limit their access to me personally. I am not a public official and wasn’t then either. I was just a woman they didn’t like very much. I could live with that. Not seeing them around on Facebook was very peaceful. Of course, that is why Facebook has privacy settings, right?
Lo and behold the admin of this community group from where I used to live messages me. How she was going to have to remove me from the group. Not for anything I had actually posted (which by 2013 was literally a couple of banal things like recommending a plumber), but because I had chosen to block these people who were miserable to me in the real world when I joined Facebook.
I tried to explain to her that was to keep the peace, I wasn’t blocking her as an admin and group page owner. I was being responsible in an effort to avoid unnecessary online confrontations. But oh no, her definition of community was she chose to capitulate to literally adult mean girls and they had the right in community groups to see everyone. I tried to explain I chose not to do that because I did not wish to have them have a window into my life.
Truthfully, I did not care about her group and belonging at that point. I really didn’t need it, I was fine in my new life and her actions made me realize that. But it was the principle of the thing. How can you self-profess to be a good person by demanding they open themselves up to unpleasant people in a social media group? (But this is a person who wants everyone to love them and needs to feel as if they belong, so in a weird way it made sense, didn’t it?)
The rules of social media groups in general include you can’t block the admins and moderators. But you CAN block people you don’t get along with or who make you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason. It is WHY privacy settings exist.
A couple of years ago, I decided to quietly unfriend this person on Facebook. We really were never truly friends, maybe short term acquaintances. So I decided to let her and some others go. Lives change, people change right? I never commented on it, I just let go.
Then yesterday, someone asked me about the garden group this person had. They lived down closer to where this person lived so I said sure, I will send them the link I used to belong to it. Only I could not find the group. So I asked someone else and they sent me the link. They also told me I was no longer in the group.
A real WTF moment because it is a gardening group. Not politics, not activism. Gardening. As in what I spend a lot of time doing. And I hadn’t been in the group, had never really posted in it ever and truthfully had never used the group much to begin with because to be honest I never learned anything from it. It was too basic for my knowledge base, and well, my group was better. But for whatever reason this person removed me and blocked me.
Oh social media Groundhog Day. So I will admit I did message her about my discovery and how I discovered it. I also said I really didn’t care that she did it, but the principles of hypocrisy is what bothered me. So I said to be equally fair I was removing her from my gardening group. Sorry not sorry, you don’t get to benefit from my hard work and the expertise of those who post there and not share. Not being able to share when it comes to gardening is just one of those things I find wrong.
Much to my amusement, when I went to look at the message I sent I saw that she had blocked me. I still have her home address, I should really send her a thank you note. I do not need people like that in my life on any level, even peripherally. Kind of like the woman who made a point of telling me that she couldn’t invite me to her Christmas party because other people wouldn’t come if I was there. Yes, that is true. Crazy, but true. And I didn’t ask to be invited in the first place.
Also crazy but true? Legitimate cyber bullies and cyber stalkers. Social media is a kaleidoscope of crazy at times.
And that is the thing about social media. So many people need it to feel good about themselves. Or feel popular. Or even powerful. But it’s all virtual. I have come to the conclusion that I will more and more narrow my focus. I have my writing, activism , love of historic preservation and things like gardening and cooking and photography. I also have my true friends and I don’t need a huge collection of faux friends to fawn all over me. I don’t need or want the self-proclaimed power brokers of people online, and those who take advantage…do you? (Think about it.)
Another thing that is getting to me on social media are the essentially social media based networking organizations you have to pay for. Women are especially drawn to them and I have had friends who have belonged to these groups.
Women don’t realize they don’t have to pay these groups to raise their own business profiles and make friends (which exist mostly on social media – I can’t truly define it as camaraderie in real life can you ?) And no one I know ever grew their business out of these groups but instead remarked on the cliquishness and time wasting of it all…and that these groups are expensive. You pay to join a group, you get let into their Facebook pages, then you are expected to pay to attend events, right? And what do they do for you? Who is making the money here and aren’t the chapters of these things like, if not actual franchises?
Social media is a weird, weird place getting weirder every year. And I say that having been in it and on things like Twitter practically since inception (I joined in 2008, Twitter launched in 2006).
I started blogging back in the dark ages. I was once part of this amazing site called Philly Futures which started in 1999. I joined it at some point after 2002, and was part of it for a few years. It was lots of different bloggers and was activism-centric. They used to do things I thought were cool like Missing Monday which focused on missing persons. Philly Futures was an early voice in the genre of “citizen journalism.” It wasn’t a mommy blog or a monetized blog, it was a lot of good writing and interesting topics. I miss it.
Sometimes I think social media has morphed into the land of the shallow. And everything has to be light, happy, and airy fairy where unicorns fart only pastel rainbows. What I liked about the early blogosphere in the dawn of social media is it was real, and you could be real without chronic online castigation.
Look around at Facebook, Instagram, whatever your poison. How can all those people have those perfect lives, really? What happens if we pull the curtain back? And the photos. Do some not realize that occasionally their personal photos are well photos that are better off left offline? To be enjoyed privately?
I am a blogger, yes, but I am still a fairly private person. I like enjoying my family and friends offline. You can’t grow a garden online. You can’t cook a meal online. You can’t go barn picking online. We can’t spend all of our lives online. Maybe it’s time to liberate ourselves somewhat from social media. We used to exist fine without it, after all.
Think about it, when is the last time you wrote an actual letter? I am going to hang out in my garden and commune with nature and check out butterflies. I will leave you after this rambling post with an online article about types of Facebook posters. It’s very funny.
Humorous Caricatures of Social Media Users Social media has existed since the earliest times. Imagine, if you will:
An early, nomadic hominid, scratching an image onto the wall of her cave-shelter. Picture her wonder, joy, and surprise when she returns, a season later, to find an image left by an unknown “other”.
There, on the cave wall, is an “answering image” — with splashes of colour. She has no idea who “commented on her wall post”, but she knows she’s not alone. There has been a response to her unintended friend request. She is experiencing shared humanity and kinship, beyond the immediate circle of her tribe.
Over the years, they may have gone on to share information. I imagine them sharing hunting stories, food storage ideas, and even recipes. I see them inspiring each other to greater creativity by means of their developing art. Maybe, they even shared some personal details.
Did other people, passing through, add to the story on “her wall”?
Basically, humanity has been obsessed with “social media” ever since.
As cultures and technology developed over millennia, so did long-range social interaction. Passed messages, and formal mail services replaced cave paintings. Books spread thoughts and information to larger numbers. Telegraph, telephone, newspapers, and radio, further widened global information sharing.
….Social media, of various kinds — for good or bad — has become integral to our society. For people in my age-group (50s — plus or minus), that usually means Facebook.