loch aerie takes another step into her bright future

As we all know Loch Aerie was rescued from literal ruin by the lovely Poirier family. And I do mean that compliment most sincerely as they are truly awesome and nice!

East Whiteland Township worked through the plans and whatnot with the owners and the new ballroom construction is underway!

To the historical purists this is probably not what they want to see but we have to be realistic: for a lot of these fabulous historic structures adaptive reuse is what keeps them from the wrecking ball.

I love this house and I have been fortunate to have been invited inside since they began the renovations to the existing structure.

December, 2018

December, 2018

Loch Aerie is becoming an event venue. Weddings and other types of parties, with a catering kitchen. They will have an on-site caterer for people to work with for their events last time I checked, and I am super excited to see this project moving forward!

Last fall Loch Aerie was even on the Chester County Day tour!

I had to stop at Home Depot this afternoon, so I thought I would take a peek and I think what’s happening is so wonderful and I just sort of stood there and grinned. The first time I saw the restored interior I cried.

With all the awful development we see ruining Chester County and every time we shed tears over historic structures being torn down, this is something I keep coming back to because it just makes me so happy. And I’m not the only one that is so happy to know that there are people out there who care about the structures and the history.

Loch Aerie has a bright future and that’s amazing. Adaptive reuse works. Historic preservation is possible.

yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

have you been to the eagle tavern lately? GO!

The Eagle Tavern is Chester County History. Love that after centuries (literally!) they are still standing! It was built in 1702 and the liquor license dates from 1727. We weren’t even a country yet officially! The current building was built over the original structure circa 1799 according to what I was told. It’s survived what could have been a devastating fire in 2010 that was tragically accidental.

It closed for a while when the old owners decided to sell. In 2018 it opened under new ownership. I wrote about it then (click HERE). PA Eats also wrote about it back then (click HERE.)

If I have a story right before the current owner as of 2018 it was owned by the original family that had it for decades and then maybe the people that owned Carmines up the street had it for a while?

Anyway back in 2012, the Daily Local wrote:

The Eagle Tavern

Receiving a liquor license in 1727, the Eagle Tavern was once a hangout for pre-Revolutionary War outlaws the Doan brothers. Located at the fork of two main thoroughfares, it’s been run by owner Lois Jones and her family since the country’s Bicentennial in 1976. Lois can be seen today greeting guests and serving up hearty fare in the restaurant’s casual, friendly atmosphere.

The Eagle Tavern has a colorful history that I would love to learn more about. (Some of it is on their website.)

I used to go to the tavern under the old owners mostly for lunch over the years. I didn’t live in Chester County until a few years ago so back in the day it was truly a haul to get there.

When the Eagle Tavern first reopened in 2018 we went a few times. The first time was March, 2018. That is when I wrote my initial review. At that time the meal was awesome and we really enjoyed it. We went back a few other times later in 2018 and didn’t really like it as much. I never updated my review, I just went other places. The problem was the place was inconsistent. It got to be that it was never really horrible but it wasn’t so fabulous either.

So until today, we hadn’t been there in forever, literally. We had wondered for a while if they were still open because the parking lot was always empty. Then recently a friend told me that they were under more appropriate management, better management and they were doing their own beer and other things.

So this afternoon after taking a detour after attending a funeral, my husband and I decided to go back for a late lunch.

I am so glad we did! And I hope all of you go back to the Eagle Tavern, especially if you haven’t been there in a while!

The difference is remarkable! The inside has been further refined without losing its wonderful historic tavern feel. The menu has been revamped and is like a more modern version of what it originally was years ago. And the bathrooms have been done over and so has the staff. We had amazing table service today and an awesome lunch!

I know it sounds dumb, but I have been on the hunt for a traditional, old-school club sandwich. I don’t know what it is about that sandwich but that is a summer sandwich to me. Probably because growing up when you went to certain clubs and places that was always on a summer menu.

The sandwich was amazing. My husband enjoyed his lunch too and said that their home brewed beers were nice! Here are screenshots of the lunch menu:

Here is the link to all of the menus: CLICK HERE. The Eagle Tavern has upped their game considerably and remained true to the history. I like that they do not pretend to be other than what they are. And it’s lovely inside. Anyone can buy architectural salvage to dress up a new build restaurant, but you can’t imitate centuries of history.

We actually took the time to speak with the manager. Chester County residents who have lived out here a long time you will know his name immediately – Chip Nye. Yes, the old manager for years came back! And the difference is remarkable! And he’s excited to be there and his energy is echoed by the rest of the staff.

The Eagle Tavern is running again like a well-oiled machine, and the menu works and is well-prepared coming out of the kitchen and the staff is amazing. I actually look forward to future meals there. And I think it looks better than ever inside which is why I snapped a few photos.

Anyway I encourage folks to go and check it out. They also have music some of the time.

An old school tavern is so much better than a Disneyesque modern version of a pub. The folks from the Ship Inn should go check it out. The Ship is also tradition around here, but they need a makeover in parts of their restaurant, and the kind of aesthetic makeover at the Eagle Tavern and feel of it would also work at the Ship Inn. No, not to create twinsies taverns, I just think it would be good inspiration. Especially in that big dining room that screams 1970s banquet hall.

(Now don’t get out the pitchforks at me because I said the Ship Inn needs a makeover. It’s a cool place but Robert Irvine needs to visit and Restaurant Impossible is looking for places.)

Back to the Eagle Tavern: Today was lovely, look forward to future visits! Let me know what you think if you go!

coatesville

I rarely go through Coatesville. I know people in Wagontown, Modena, and other places around Coatesville, but not the City of Coatesville.

We were out in Wagontown and went through Coatesville to get gas on the way home and ended up on regular Route 30 so I snapped some photos.

There are some really cool houses in Coatesville. It is a kaleidoscope of architecture. And there are lots of churches too, which I never knew.

change comes to frazer

Change comes to Frazer in leaps and bounds these days. On Sunday, John’s Pizza closes it’s doors and by Labor Day, the Alley Pub will be but a memory.

John’s Pizza closing is by personal choice of the family who owns it . That is a case of a well earned retirement.

But the Alley Pub? That’s development which has come calling. The accumulated parcels which also include the run down mobile home park and the old bowling alley Frazer Lanes according to the developer’s blog will result in over 200 new…apartments.

Now there is no doubt that the mobile home park was in bad shape. But had the township (East Whiteland) allowed that to deteriorate over the years by looking the other way when they should have maybe inspected more and what not? There is another mobile home park down the road from the now closed one. Different owner, better care taken of it. There is a mobile home on Barton Hill Road next to Ebeneezer’s ruins. Also in good shape and is more of a community.

But the thing about this mobile home park going away and it being replaced with apartments leaves me with mixed emotions. How many apartments, townhomes, townhouses, carriage homes do we need?? East Whiteland has soooo many development plans. And all of it except for a small percentage are higher density plans.

If you move west into West Whiteland Township then you have all of their development. And they are putting a lot of apartments on Route 30 and already have a lot of townhomes or carriage homes or whatever the hell you want to call them.

And then what if you head over to West Goshen for a minute? Have you seen what’s going on at Greystone Hall? (Hint, check out the next two photos)

And if you go back into East Whiteland Township has anyone been to Flat Road or that vicinity recently? (Hint: see the next two photos)

So here we are in beautiful Chester County. Or it was beautiful and sadly with all the development it’s less beautiful every day. And our local municipalities all over the county are allowing this one bad plan at a time.

But back to these apartments in Frazer. Are you really going to want to spend a couple thousand dollars to live in an apartment that’s next to a run down gas station and sort of across the street from what used to be a mattress store and Wawa?

Yet there are the slum lord properties that are ignored. These are in East Whiteland along Route 30:

So when you talk about the slumlord housing along Route 30 in East Whiteland combined with whatever is left of mobile home parks you’re talking about the entire supply of affordable housing if it is actually affordable because I don’t know.

And that’s the thing about all of these developments regardless of the municipality in Chester County: where IS the affordable housing?

That is one of the problems I have with all of this development no matter what township. Lack of affordable housing. Look at what’s being proposed in Easttown Township to the east of East Whiteland. More apartments and already cheek to jowl townhouses that are not attractive and not affordable. They are expensive.

And East Goshen. Even once sensible East Goshen is no longer immune from bad development plans.

I just have to keep shaking my head and wondering where are all the regular people who don’t want to live in McMansions or McMansion priced apartments and townhouses supposed to go? Where do retirees go if they can’t afford Hershey’s Mill or the other two places near it in the retirement Bermuda Triangle?

And what about the stress all this development places on our first responders, our school districts, our infrastructure? And when things like entire mobile home parks disappear what happens to the people that used to call it home? People in this country like to talk about helping the disadvantaged and the financially challenged or poor but really do they?

I don’t have those answers. But in my opinion all of this development is going to come back and bite every Chester County resident in the rear someday. This is why we desperately need better planning more sound and competent zoning and elected officials that actually consistently give a damn about their residents.

I am not against change as far as development goes as long as it occurs in moderation. But I am against all of this greedy ass development gobbling up acre after acre of Chester County like Pac-Men. And these plans aren’t even attractive. They are just designed to get each developer the most money possible out of each site.

Rant over. (For now.)

adaptive reuse ❤️

I love that whomever owns what was once a motor court on Route 30 in Exton is rebuilding the little cottages/cabins one by one.

Adaptive reuse and preservation. We need more of that combined with land conservation and farm preservation here in Chester County.

I

who can tell me about this house??

DSC_9849

This is back in the Coatesville area. Valley Township maybe or Caln but I do not know for sure.  Maybe Wagontown? Maybe on 340? I remember passing a Turkey Hill and there is some pub place near it. It was not long after getting off 30 bypass.

You know me and boarded up houses.  They have a tale to tell so help me tell it.

Thanks!!

Post addendum:

Noted local historian Catherine Quillman tells me the following:

I will send you a photo but I believe it’s the house next door (which someone mentioned as being restored). I just gave a lecture to West Caln and people were sort of vague about it. Your photo shows more windows than the one in my photo from the historical society. Anyway, before the Lancaster Road took over the main Lancaster-Philadelphia route, the King’s Highway (route 340) had many pre-American Revolution taverns along it.

The road was actually developed by Peter Bezellon, the Canadian French trader whose trading log cabin was reportedly what is now the famous Downingtown log house. The early court at Chester (Upland) asked Bezellon to develop the road since he knew several Indian dialects (he was later accused as being a spy during French & Indian war).

Anyway, the road was called “Peter’s Road.” There is a marker near Coatesville that calls him the “founder.”….These photos are from Carstairs Pierce collection at Chester County Historical Society….she was a “Chester County rambler” back in the 1950s and 1960s and she took photos of every former tavern she could find. She calls this tavern the “Sign of the Wagon,” which gave the West Caln Township hamlet its’ name Wagontown….

….Note that this tavern looks slightly different than the house you posted. However, it’s really strange that two 18th-centure “Georgian style” with the windows above the penteve would be right next to each other….

 

Here are the photos:

This is the  house being restored on this road people are talking about:

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It looks amazing!

Here is the sad house again:

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