happy place: four dogs tavern/ marshalton inn

Don’t you just love this Chester County treasure? Four Dogs Tavern/Marshalton Inn?

Whenever another development is proposed in any part of the county, I think of places like this. You can’t create this out of Tyvec.

Marshalton is a happy place. Come visit and see the festive decorations and have a meal at Four Dogs!

history at risk: 5030 horseshoe pike. caln public hearing december 13th, 2018.

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It starts with someone sending me a public notice.  And once again, I am down the rabbit hole of Chester County history at risk.

This is a public hearing to be held in Caln Township on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the Caln Township Municipal Building located at 253 Municipal Drive, Thorndale, Pennsylvania 19372.  Now I aslo found this notice of this meeting on PA Public Notices , but I’ll be damned if I can find it on Caln Township’s actual website so either it’s just another bad municipal website that looks kind of sort of pretty but doesn’t function easily, or it’s not there. (But I digress)

This notice which looks like it is for some kind of extra special zoning overlay (you know those things municipalities do to appease developers and special interests? And hey you do not have to like my opinion, but it’s not my first rodeo with zoning overlays and I am entitled to how I feel) for 5030 Horseshoe Pike.

That is when I really went like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Super historic. Known as the “Lloyd Farm”, “Valley Brook Farm” has a fire I would call mysterious a few years ago.  Seriously.  Here is the screen capture from the Downingtown Area Historical Society May 2014:

dhs

Then I hit Google and oh the things I found including this amazing history compiled by someone named Edward G. Lendrat on the West Chester University Old Caln Historical Society Collection. Caln Township has this buried on their website.

Pretty crazy historic, and I understand there was a fire, but a zoning overlay like this is all Caln Township can think is right for this property??? I am told the developer who has bought the “Lloyd Farm” is proposing 5 story apartment buildings, and commercial where there is NO zoning for it? Hence the need for an extra special zoning overlay at Christmas?  And this Public Hearing which takes place Dec. 13th. is it for discussion? Then the Commissioners will vote at their next meeting and NO CHANCE to change it will exist after that?

WTF Caln Township Commissioners? Have you no sense of place? No sense of history and what is appropriate?  How many freaking apartment buildings and mish mosh retail and more does Chester County need popping up like crappy weeds? Is this how you celebrate 150 years of history in your municipality? WOW.

(I will note TWO Commissioners are up in 2019 – Jennifer Breton and George Chambers. Residents should replace them if as President and Vice President of the Board this is what they think is fab. Just my opinion of course, but sometimes to change goverment you have to change the faces of who governs you.)

And oh the history….

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So if I read the history of the property correctly, it dates back to the late 1600s and a Penn Land Grant? And by 1996 it was owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? (Now I make no secret of my disdain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and their pedophile priest problems of recent past. Sorry, I digress again…)

Ironically something I wasn’t looking for with regard to this property but seemed to have stumbled upon is a 2015 pipeline easement between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Columbia Gas. So umm, high density development being proposed and a pipeline? NICE.

pipeline easement

Yowza and here is the deed of transfer I guess?  Dated April, 2018?  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia made over $4.5 cool million on this? NICE.  That will settle a bunch of pedophile priest lawsuits, right?

So who is Wild Meadows LLC out of Delaware?  (You can search for Delaware entities HERE.)

But back to this very cool history.  It is intriguing enough I found it on Twitter:

lloyd

Here is what it looked like on LoopNet:

horseshoe pike on loopnet

Also discovered this place on imgur with these two images from 2015:

It also appears archivally on reddit. Some comments were fascinating.

 

“Have you been here? I went to Lloyd dog park and found this when I walked up through the field. I really wonder what the story is on this place. Someone at the dog park thought the property is currently owned by a church.”

and…

“This was known as the Lloyd House. It has since been torn down.”

 

Now I have never been on this property. I have no idea what is stll standing on the property or not. If you have photos, please feel free to send them in a message via this blog’s Facebook page.

Do I have the answers as to what to do with this property? Sadly, no.  Don’t know that area well enough.  But if there is a pipeline easement, maybe the developer should go light on the development?

Again, how many cram plan developments does one county need? Who is driving this?

Historians and residents might wish to go to this meeting.  Remember residents, zoning can affect more than one spot, correct?

Chester County, we can’t just keep sitting idly by as chuck after chunk of land gets carved up.  Once open space is gone, it’s gone.  Once history is gone, it’s gone.

Here’s hoping the residents of Caln and their municipal neighbors have some Christmas Chutzpah (I know is that like a mixed metaphor or what?) and slow this freight train down.

So much to learn here and I will close with I am marveling at how Caln Township knows the history of this property and they think this is a good idea.

It’s stupid.  But I can only express my views as a resident of Chester County.  It’s up to the residents of Caln to turn it up and turn out on December 13th.

Tick tock, there is not much time.

I would say if you have historical questions to seek out the Downingtown Area Historical Society and  the Old Caln Historical Society.

Thanks for meandering with me.

off whitford road….again

I have written about this house a couple of times before – HERE and HERE.

Like many other forlorn old houses it captures my eye every time I drive by.

Must everything turn into “flats” and “carriage homes”?

Here’s hoping someone, some day shows this home some love before it’s too late…

not glad tidings in easttown township

demolish

Poor Easttown Township residents. More history at risk?

Easttown is another area with a LOT of history and lovely neighborhoods…seemingly under siege.  And it’s not more to do with the Devon Horse Show or the whole new retail development on the old Waterloo site.

Locals are saying that in Easttown Township there are issues between zoning ordinance and I think their comprehensive plan? I don’t quite get all of it, but apparently it is something the township needs to iron this all out but it won’t happen until 2019? Locals are also saying the lovely and quaint village of Berwyn is once again under siege. (Now this news is nothing new, I remember another time around the time of eminent domain in Ardmore.)  What is happening currently I am told is the beautiful old Victorian and other frame houses (i.e. wooden) that Berwyn is locally famous for are being snatched up and taken down in favor of new construction.

In 2007 I mentioned a group called “Protect Berwyn” in an editorial I wrote for Main Line Media News then editor, my friend, the late (and great and missed) Tom Murray.  There was another editorial talking about Main Line development in March, 2007 but I am not sure who wrote it.  It’s title is The developer-neighbor feud: A healthy dynamic and it still resonates and is current today. In May, 2007 Tom Murray wrote an editorial titled Moratorium on development needed on the Main Line. It still resonates and even more so, especially if you live in Chester County.

The Berwyn area has been ground zero for Upper Main Line development going back years and years.  (Check this article out from 2001.) In 2013, it was a crazy hot button topic and check out this article in Main Line Media News by Caroline O’Halloran before she went out on her own:

Amid dissent, Easttown approves sweeping zoning changes for Berwyn Village
By Caroline O’Halloran
Aug 20, 2013

Downtown Berwyn won’t look especially different under the new zoning ordinance amendments approved in a 3-2 vote by Easttown’s Board of Supervisors Monday night. At least not right away.

But assurances by its creators that the new rules won’t mean major change didn’t seem to mollify the 45 property owners who attended the meeting, most to question the plan.

Instead of five zones, the new plan puts all Berwyn properties into one of three districts: Village Business, Village Residential and Village Transition.

Poor Berwyn. Maybe Protect Berwyn had the right idea circa 2007?

Here is some suggested reading from Main Line Media News over the coolness of Berwyn before I get to the rest of the post:

Berwyn Banter
By Ray Hoffman Jun 19, 2008

Just where is Berwyn, anyway?
By Ray Hoffman Jun 28, 2007

Painting a picture of Berwyn’s past
By Ryan Richards Jun 23, 2005

Berwyn walking tour highlights storied past
By Ryan Richards Aug 19, 2009

So by now you are wondering why I posted a screen shot from a real estate listing?

Because well, underneath the stucco awfulness of it all on this listing is a historic log cabin dating back to the 1750s. (Realtor site says 1758, my sources say 1750 – located ar 46 Arlington Road in Devon.)

Just LAST year, the news spread nationally when Main Line stylist Jude Plum restored a 300 year old log cabin in Bryn Mawr.  He had bought the home once owned by dog groomer and English Springer Spaniel breeder, Ann Elder.  Now I knew Ann for years, was in and out of her little house from the time I was a kid, knew her house was old, but never knew it was 300 years old until Jude bought the place some time after she had passed away.

This historic log home, log cabin in Bryn Mawr dates to 1704! Read about it in Country Living Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Main Line Media News. So don’t tell me restoring them is out of the question.  After all there are entire T.V. shows devoted to restoring and rebuilding log cabins and log homes.

So anyway, I was told today that folks can do a right to know on Easttown and get the demolition permit application? And that the demolition permit has been issued?

I figure it’s a good bet since the realtor seems very excited and it’s on her listing:

BSdemo 2

Yes, that’s right! RUN don’t walk! Don’t miss your opportunity to tear down a mid-18th century log home that was built before America declared her freedom!

I understand the property owner wants to sell this property, but if ever there was a need for a preservation-minded buyer this is it.  Heck if I lived in Easttown I would contact the DIY and HGTV shows that feature log homes and log cabins. Maybe they know someone to buy and save this.

Easttown Township is yet another Chester County municipality that sadly can’t see its history (or open space) for the ratables of development aren’t they? It’s like ratables from development are the drug  and the municipalities are like addicts, aren’t they?

Easttown residents it is up to you.  I am only pointing this out….if they could save a cabin OLDER than this in far worse condition in Bryn Mawr, they can save one in Devon. And if they don’t wake up soon, the village of Berwyn will really disappear too, won’t it?

Tick tock, Easttown. Tick tock.

 

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thanksgiving miracle: stoneleigh is finally safe

This afternoon we found out that Stoneleigh was safe. It’s like a Thanksgiving miracle of the very best kind. Finally, after months and months, the evil yes evil Lower Merion School District let go it’s death grip on the property they had no right to ever.

Here’s hoping that next time Dr. Melissa Gilbert is up for election people remember Stoneleigh when they go to the polls. Here’s hoping Dr. Robert Copeland will eventually be replaced.

Lower Merion School District has a crowding problem because of the infill development in Lower Merion Township. This is why more people wherever they live need to remember Stoneleigh and realize this is a cause and effect situation. The cause is development the effect is overcrowding. Maybe that’s just my opinion but I don’t think so.

(This is why we have to push our elected officials and our sorry excuse for a governor to do things like protect us from pipelines and while they’re at it update the municipalities planning code. The MPC as it goes by has not had a comprehensive update and decades! )

The MPC has to be updated for many things including how they view and guide municipalities regarding suburbs and exurbs. It needs to be updated with regard to open space and land conservation, historic preservation, and much more. The MPC is what guides municipalities, cities, boroughs in Pennsylvania and all of the planning and zoning and comprehensive plan processes.

What happened at Stoneleigh is going to continue to happen other places if the pace of development is not checked. Some may find me to be an alarmist, but it is in my opinion, the simple truth.

If it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of every day people who joined along with Natural Lands and Lower Merion Conservancy, we might not have had such an outcome.

What a wonderful thing for us to learn at Thanksgiving.

If you wish to support Natural Lands or Lower Merion Conservancy please visit their respective websites. We are so lucky to have them in our communities.

decay in black and white

The farmhouse owned by Clews and Strawbridge in Malvern, East Whiteland Chester County. They must be immune to how sad this once marvelous Chester County Farmhouse looks, huh?

How about an adaptive reuse?

Or some day will it just cease to exist?