christmas magic…at life’s patina

We walked into the beautiful big old barn and it was truly magical at Life’s Patina today. Beautiful and Christmas festive in every nook and cranny. There are only a certain amount of people allowed in the barn at any one time and everyone must be wearing masks, and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you turn around. It’s a magical and safe experience in a COVID-19 world.

Meg and her merry band of elves outdid themselves! From little balsam wood houses that light up, to Christmas mice in velvet dresses and tree skirts for feather trees it was amazing! Sparkling ornaments everywhere and among my favorites? Very lovely mercury glass pinecones and marvelous modern reproductions of old German Kugel ornaments.

Mixed in with Christmas magic were all sorts of vintage and antique items. One of the things I liked best was downstairs in the barn on the big long farmhouse table was a vintage Grenadine bottle.

We loved every minute we were there, and preview guests were also given amazing gift bags to take home.

I love Christmas, everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas and I loved today’s experience. You really should go if you can. Simply magical!

By appointment only. Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm, 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.

always love for loch aerie

My friend Catherine Quillman, who is a Chester County artist, author, and historian sent me a note the other day. Yes , she is one of those people like myself who occasionally sends real notes. (Only hers are always so much better because they usually involve a little piece of her art or a cartoon she has drawn.)

Anyway she sent me this old art advertisement she came across and it’s about Loch Aerie. It was done for Chester County artist Christopher Schultz in 1994 when he was selling a print he made of Loch Aerie that was slightly fanciful.

What makes this old advertisement so special is I don’t think Catherine knew I used to own one of these prints! I had bought it off a yard sale group and it lived on my guestroom wall until I found a C. Phillip Wikoff print I liked better. (I also found that print on a yard sale group.)

So when I heard the current owners of Loch Aerie (the Poiriers ) had rescued her, I decided I would give the Loch Aerie print to them as a housewarming/welcome to the neighborhood kind of thing. And I did just that. But this advertisement is part of the provenance of the print so I will give them this too!

Local history and local artists are always intertwined and this is just a cool thing! Thanks Catherine for always thinking of me!

chester county landmarks and a chester county artist

A while ago, in between people cursing me out on my blog’s facebook page for daring to discuss things rationally out of their comfort zone, I had posted something and a relative of the Chester County artist Henry T. MacNeill told me about his pen-and-ink sketches. So I hunted down a copy of this super cool little book that was full of his sketches, done by his family printers owned by his son, Stephen Moylan, for Chester County Day in 1956.

Ok so how cool is that to stumble across thanks to one of my readers? I am also including an article about the Stephen Moylan Press.

We are nothing without our history.

I am also including links embedded here because sometimes people have a hard time with Scribd.

What I realized as I got into this was I often see Henry MacNeill drawings as vintage postcards! A website Postcard History wrote about Mr. MacNeill this summer. I also found an old blog post by one of Mr. MacNeill’s great granddaughters Jennifer MacNeill (who is also a brilliant artist and photographer.)

Now a plug for Chester County Day. This is a beloved Chester County Tradition. COVID-19 forced them off their normal routine and they have done virtual tours (CLICK HERE TO TAKE THEM.) They also need our donations to keep the tradition alive. CLICK HERE TO MAKE A CHESTER COUNTY DAY DONATION. I will be doing so before year end.

Happy Sunday!

soak in the beauty of chester county

Along 401. Awesome Halloween display!

Last evening on the way to an outdoor socially distanced dinner with friends, I was struck again by the beauty of Chester County. And why we need to preserve more of it and develop less all across the county.

That is all.

days gone by…frazer

Sometimes it’s just lighting. But it sets a mood.

I stopped to take pictures of the laundromat and car wash in Frazer, East Whiteland that are now closed and frozen in time. Eventually the wrecking ball will come a calling, but right now I can take some photos so one day when someone asks what was there, we remember.

A car wash and a laundromat. Things people still use. But not sexy enough when it comes to development and the future, right?

Enjoy the photos.

just another case of mcmansion building on the main line

Would you tear down this house? Well somebody is. An email this afternoon takes me right back to where I am from for a lot of my years on earth: Lower Merion Township. This house is possibly attributed to the famous architect William Price as per a historian who messaged me.

I found an old video from 2018 (watch it soon this post might make it disappear):

Ok this house is freaking fabulous and an amazing property at Morris Avenue and Waverly Road. Remarkably, I cannot find this listed as a historic resource in Lower Merion Township but that doesn’t surprise me since this was the township where Addison Hutton’s La Ronda was torn down.

Well nothing like seeing a demolition sale notice go up:

PRE-DEMOLITION SALE

This Saturday, October 3rd, from 9am til 4pm

AND This Sunday, October 4th, from 10am til 2pm

Location: On the corner of Morris Road & Waverly Road, in Bryn Mawr, PA. Look for our directional signs that usually go up about 15 minutes before sale time.

​MASKS REQUIRED. PLEASE PRACTICE YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCING. THANKS.

Here are some demo photos from the Pre-Demolition Sales Website:

So yeah, if you are looking for pieces of an amazing home, this is a great sale. If you are a fan of historic preservation, not so much a great sale but another old house funeral.

Oh and what will replace this gem you might wonder? 3 McBoxes all in a row:

I found the old listing on Estately. Such a lovely place. Some LLC owns it:

Oh you can build new boxes, but they will never be as grand or glorious….or historic.

Here are some photos from the various real estate listings so at least it’s memory can live on somewhere:

Someone said to me, well it’s a shame but it’s a trend. That it’s sad but “oh well”.

We can’t just keep “Oh Well”-ing our communities no matter if it is a working class neighborhood, a farm, or a millionaire’s row. These places matter.

File under another one bites the dust.

#saveeasttown

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: joram@easttown.org, mheppe@easttown.org, bfadem@easttown.org, mwacey@easttown.org, bdantonio@easttown.org, easttown@easttown.org

I don’t know who the township manager is right now, website says ebriggs@easttown.org

Here are the names of the members of the planning commission and when their terms expire:

Term Expires 
Mary Hashemi, Chair2022
Ann Rothmann, Vice Chair2023
Mark Stanish2022
Nik Kharva2021
Paul Salvaggio2020

Here are the members of the Zoning Hearing Board:

Members

NameTerm Expires
William F. Connor, III, Esq., Chair2020
William H. Howard, Esq.2021
Michael J. Tierney, Esq.2022
Roman J Koropey, Esq.2020
Larry “Buzz” Wood, Esq.2020

All of this lovely information can be found on Easttown’s pokey pony website.

lovely life’s patina

One of the things that COVID-19 has done is it has disrupted our every day lives and our routines.

My friend Amy and I have our “Fran days” named after her mom where we put everything aside and do something together and have lunch. A lot of times we schedule those days to support Meg Veno at her lovely Life’s Patina events. Until today, this was one of the things that COVID-19 had interrupted for us around here.

Amy and I have been friends since high school and we even grew up in the same neighborhood, so I feel really blessed to have her in my life all these years later. So when we heard that Life’s Patina was going to open by appointment for their Fall Barn Sale we decided to make our appointment and go. Our slot was today and it was just wonderful!

Sensory overload, so much to look at! Something for everyone! And how lucky were we to also have such a beautiful day to be there…and guests today also received an awesome goody bag!

It was so nice to see friends and acquaintances and to see what Meg and her team had done. I love the Life’s Patina Barn on Willowbrook Farm and actually the very first time I was in it was during it’s renovation that led to Life’s Patina.

Being at Life’s Patina today made this surreal life we have all been living seem a little more normal. I actually liked the feel of a smaller, more intimate shopping experience with less people. Everyone was socially distancing and everyone was wearing masks and there were hand sanitizer stations all over the place. They did a great job!

Enjoy my photos of the day and if you go you need an appointment it’s not just open as normal this year. A lot of the time slots are sold out, so check the calendar and stay tuned for other opportunities to visit Life’s Patina this fall. And you can also shop online!

remember indian run farm in exton? have you seen it lately?

Indian Run Farm A/K/A Ashbridge House. Recent photo, reader submitted, taken September 3,2020

So…. I am trying not to be like totally “what the hell are they doing to Ashbridge House at Indian Run Farm” but is this a historic reservation? I ask because given the storms this summer and the age of this historically classified structure, what in the hell are they doing? I can understand rotting wooden porches being removed and it looks like concrete is being used to shore up walls, but wow this is startling isn’t it?

I grew up in old, occasionally historically classified houses (the house I was born in was built in 1811 in Society Hill and was historically classified in Philadelphia). West Whiteland has said all along it is to be preserved. So I am still going with that, even if it looks terrible right now.

Reader submitted photo dated September 3, 2020.

According to a 2003 Pottstown Mercury Article this was to be preserved all along, but it’s a long time since 2003. It’s now 2020 (AKA the year from hell):

Now picture another moment. A small group of scrape-kneed youngsters sat on a vantage point overlooking that same valley, many years later, pondering their destiny along with other important matters such as, perhaps, how to avoid the chore of picking the cherries ripening on the trees for their ambitious and hard-working father.

These children looked down on a two-lane Route 30 close to where it crossed Route 100, from a hilltop that no longer exists. And where there is now a new Nissan dealership, they once ran a cider stand without any particular parental oversight, selling the sweet juice from their own orchard along with vegetables from their garden, and lived carefree lives of exploration and discovery in a time when, “there weren’t any rules.”

Would that we could all be granted a childhood such as these children shared.

Then walk with these same children, now adults, among the shrink-wrapped architectural remnants of their youth, and share the memory of that time in that place on a bitter and wind-whipped day that fails to wrest from them any of the joy of those times spent together there. The centerpiece of that time was this collection of stone buildings; that springhouse, the great barn, the animals that lived, were loved and died and were buried here; those special trees; all are almost holy to them, and all will continue to speak to us of the way things were, once upon a time.

Because, whatever feelings any of us may have about “development,” we can’t be sorry that this pocket of history will be preserved much as it was in the thick of the present, so that busy shoppers can pause and view it, walk within its whispered past, and perhaps grasp something of what it all means.

Ashbridge House Exton Main Street 2017

I have been watching this house a few years. I have photos of 2018, 2019, and the generously shared 2020 photos. The reason I am concerned is because of how exposed everything is. However, it also looks like things are being shored up with concrete. So I am going to hold my breath and share photos. I will remind people I covered this in March 2018 and March 2019.

I remain curious as to what was saved or will be saved on the inside. Thanks for stopping by.