Poor Ebenezer. Historically significant as quite literally perhaps the second oldest AME site in the country, except for Mother Bethel AME in Philadelphia. And I believe Mother Bethel’s current Pastor Mark Kelly Tyler knows this as he was in West Chester prior to Philadelphia.
Everything the engineer told me a few years ago now that I passed along to East Whiteland Township and East Whitehead Historical Commission is sadly happening. The walls have never been shored up, and the development going along around it is taking a toll. Time, weather, and circumstances are not friends to this site.
This is so sad. Quite literally an important historical asset, including as part of black history in Chester County. This was part of Bacton Hill. I have been told Bacton Hill was one of the early black settlements and well, most of the history has been bulldozed away, hasn’t it?
Black History Month starts when? February 1st? I would say maybe this February 1st someone will care about the history of Ebenezer and Bacton Hill, but really does it ever happen enough to make a difference? Sadly, no. So all I can ever do is point out further deterioration and prior posts over the years.
Before COVID hit, there was a lady from the National Trust for Historic Places I had connected with who seemed interested. Her name was Lawana Holland-Moore. I have tried following up since, but nothing, not even a reply. (Sigh.) Who knows? Maybe she will see this post and renew her former interest. There are so many historic places and structures at risk, but I just wish this place would matter for more than just an occasional minute.
I also hope that someday the East Whiteland Historical Commission really gets a fire lit under them. I have kind of given up there, I find little point in trying to connect with them at this point. Their chair is very nice, but they have never really been comfortable with me or interested in what I have to say.
At one point I had wanted to volunteer for the commission, but political road blocks came up and COVID happened. I’m not welcome there, and why should I keep trying? At one point I even offered to donate my time to help them photograph historic assets and I helped the former members who updated the History of East Whiteland Book, but they cycled off the commission. Hell, when I contacted a member of the commission last June looking for an update on Ebenezer I never even got a reply from them or anyone so I can take a hint.
But, I still need to remind people that #ThisPlaceMatters . Ebenezer and Bacton Hill are disappearing.
Once upon a time there was a neglected farmhouse on Dorlan Mill Road. Above is a photo I took in 2020. I wrote about it then too.
Today was the last day standing in Chester County for this once beautiful farmhouse. Another historic structure bites the dust and this farmhouse had a slow decline and was it initially demolition by neglect?
You have to wonder why so many of these beautiful old houses have to go bye bye around here? What ugliness will replace this?
I fell in love with historic Harriton House when I was 12. I volunteered there for oh so many years, and still visited after I moved to Chester County. After I moved to Chester County, I actually introduced my husband and others to the place.
And part of why I loved the place so much, was the man who made Harriton House his life‘s work for almost 50 years, Bruce Cooper Gill. He literally made Harriton what it became. Or that is how I feel.
But Mr. Gill is no longer with Harriton House. There is a new executive director. She’s not so new at this point she’s been there almost a year. I think she was the wrong choice. And I’m allowed to have that opinion.
This year I will not be renewing my annual membership. I didn’t even go to the fair this year. I had been down near Harriton a couple of times after medical appointments in 2022, and I don’t like the way the property feels now.
Harriton House had always been a happy place for me, which is why I did a quick drive-by. I just wanted to see the place. It was almost like going back to look at your childhood home after your parents sold it.
I thought then that Harriton looked a little sad. The way I understand the arrangement is Lower Merion Township owns the land, but the Harriton Association owns the structures.
As I was growing up, and as an adult, I watched as they raised the money for Harriton and did the work and acquired the parcel that exists today piece by piece. It was very exciting. It was such a fine example of historic preservation in action.
When Harriton turned 300 years old a bunch of years ago now I actually got Harriton House on The Today Show. Willard Scott wished the house a happy 300th birthday. How it happened is my mother had some kind of a connection to Willard’s executive assistant, because of some other charity work she had done years before.
When they acquired what was the education center, which was formally the domicile of a little old lady who was quite the pack rat, I helped plant the first sunken garden in the ruin adjacent to it. There were other garden clubs involved caring for flowerbeds and other gardening at the site, but no one had done anything with this one area and first plants were purchased and I planted them as an act of volunteerism. After that initial time, a garden club took over and that was one of my favorite garden areas on the whole property for years. I forget which garden club it was, but they made it simply fabulous! It was gorgeous!
And that was one of the things that I noticed when I went by this summer in addition to the fence being gone from the front of the house. It didn’t seem like anybody was really tending to any garden beds any longer and that also made me sad. It was at that point that I decided I was kind of done with Harriton.
I had friends who stopped by the fair this year, and they said it just wasn’t the same. And I don’t think it can be the same because I don’t think there’s the energy there anymore. They had an executive director for decades who had boundless energy, talent, and knowledge. He inspired all of us to be there and to love the place as much as he did.
So now I think like all sorts of nonprofits they are hurting post-Covid. But this letter I got today just struck a nerve. I haven’t been particularly public about how I feel now about Harriton, but it’s my right as an American, and Charles Thompson did sign the Declaration of Independence and help us with those inalienable rights we know and enjoy today.
Anyway, part of the letter is they want to ask people for money to support the animals. I don’t remember them ever asking for money to specifically support the animals, and I find this a bit concerning because if they can’t take care of the animals on site any longer, they just shouldn’t have them. Right?
The letter goes on to say that the animals are part of the tradition of Harriton. maybe they are part of the “tradition”, but really who started that tradition? Oh, yes, the former executive director. It’s like they can’t say his name.
So to the President of the Board of the Harriton Association, I wonder aloud why the board can’t take care of the animals? Why can’t the not so new executive director?
Sadly, at least, for the time being Harriton has just become a pleasant memory. I hope for their sake, they raise the funds necessary, but it’s just not an organization I can support until I think things change for the better again.
This is just my opinion, I am not some giant benefactress with a bottomless checkbook, but I think there are a lot of people like me out there. We are just the regular people who give as they can for as long as they can.
Wishing the board of the Harriton Association the best of luck. Obviously they need it.
So this is Chester county. Do we want to preserve her or not? Because we’re running out of time if we do wish to preserve her. If we do wish to preserve her history, her great open spaces (what’s left of them), her farms (what’s left of them) , her architecture (what hasn’t been replaced by endless fields of McBoxes.)
This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing, this is the people coming together and working to save Chester County kind of thing.
People drive me crazy when they say “Oh but if you only elect this Republican or this Democrat that change will happen.” No it won’t. When did all of you get so dumb about community activism?
All of these politicians bring YOU to them. That’s not the way you do it. The way you do it is every time you have an election, the politicians take on your issues as their issues. Because if you just continue out there to take their issues on as your issues, you will always end up the loser.
No, often it is not nice. It’s hard. It’s a slog. You have all sorts of people screaming and yelling at you and calling you names. You know, kind of like my average day being a blogger. But you have to work if you really want to save something. You can’t just say oh let’s put up a Facebook page and save something. You actually have to do the work behind it. Look at Crebilly. Those folks did not give up. And they did it.
There have been countless groups who have put up private groups and Facebook pages proclaiming their issue. But the thing is they never really get off the social media pages, do they? They don’t go to meetings. They don’t take meetings with elected officials of all levels. It’s like they expect the world to come to them. I have to bite my tongue and not say how’s that working out for all of you?
If they do have loosely held “groups“, often these days you find different members of sad aforementioned “groups” are going in different directions with slightly different objectives that are often counterproductive. It doesn’t work because you all need to come together.
It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to when you’re working for a common goal and a greater good, you leave that bickering at the door. You need to forget the whole thing about oh if we just do this one little thing for this politician then they’ll help us. No they won’t. The goal of them and their campaigns is to make all of you come around to see their perspective. As we learned years ago fighting eminent domain mean in Ardmore, you have to flip that perspective.
And if the politicians make hollow promises, then you vote them out and you start all over again. And you keep repeating the process till you have government that you can work with, that works for the people.
And I have to say after doing the whole thing in Ardmore, also gave me some of the most amazing friends as an adult. I remember the first event I attended that the Save Ardmore Coalition did years ago. I entered a room a stranger and left with new friends, Friends I still have almost 20 years later. I did not start at the very, very beginning. I heard what they had to say, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. Oh and one election cycle we flipped half of the Board of Commissioners in Lower Merion Township to politicians of BOTH political parties who made our issue theirs. And they kept their word and ended eminent domain for good a few months later. As opposed to that eminent domain circus in East Goshen recently , it didn’t take a year to unwind. That my friends was BS, just like the self-aggrandizing Libertarian “award” , “honor” or whatever was bestowed upon supervisors or one supervisor in general, like the day before their spouse became the head of the Chester County Libertarian Party. That was no better than a publicity stunt. And it made me very sad.
So now that the elections are over, it’s time for communities across Chester County to come together to save what’s left of their character. Yesterday because we were going to visit friends further out in the county from us, we had this gorgeous drive back and forth. It made me think. It made me appreciate all over again the beauty of where we call home.
This also means that we have to start getting busy with our state elected officials, the lame ducks and the ones poised to take office in January. They need to start helping us preserve where we call home. And that means changing certain laws so that is possible.
One big thing requiring change is the Municipalities Planning Code. It hasn’t been comprehensively updated seriously since like 1969. And the last time it was comprehensively updated, do you know what one of the developments was that happened as a result of changes? Chesterbrook. We need fewer developments and that means we have to lobby for these people to get off the rear ends and enact an act of the state constitution. We need to redefine suburb and exurb. We need more meaningful historic preservation and land preservation with built-in components to make it more attractive so that more people are interested in doing it.
This isn’t my job to do this. I am a curtain raiser, and I am once again drawing attention to this very important issue. We live in a beautiful place that is not that far off of being completely ruined forever. And those of us who come from the Main Line can tell you all about that because once upon a time the Main Line was truly beautiful and somewhat magical with amazing homes and properties. Now it’s just a suburb with too many people with misplaced senses of entitlement.
And that suburban sprawl continues to move west, or should I say march west because it’s not flowing, it’s attacking. Every time you turn around there’s another development planned. Or land getting gobbled up now by things like data centers and worse which we don’t know enough about here in this area, but in other areas of the country they’re fighting tooth and nail to get these things out of their communities.
We also don’t have to scream to be heard. When we scream we’re no better than those people that annoy the crap out of us at every school board meeting because they are undoubtedly uncomfortable with their own sexuality, so everything they perceive as different, is bad.
Anyway, it’s not just t-shirts and post cards and endless lawn signs that are going to bring us change. It’s involvement in our communities. And it’s consistent involvement, not involvement when the horses are out of the proverbial barn and nothing can be done.
Since the onset of Covid we have the ability in a lot of places for hybrid meetings. They are both virtual and in person. And most meetings are recorded now, and if you are in a municipality that does not record their meetings, start there. You have a right to have your meetings recorded, and/or you have the right to record the meetings in their entirety and broadcast them on YouTube or Facebook live or whatever.
I think the beauty and character and history of this county are worth preserving. That’s all I have to say. But people have to be willing to get involved and stay involved.
I am a realist. Not every old house can be saved, not every old farm can be saved. But I think as an extended group of communities, we can ask better of our elected officials all the way to Washington DC when it comes to this. But we all have to put the political BS aside and try.
I have not written about the ruin of Ebeneezer AME Church on Bacton Hill Road in East Whiteland for a couple of years now. It’s not my party any longer, and truthfully there are members of East Whiteland’s Historical Commission whom I am sure would prefer I not have an interest in this site. I guess it doesn’t matter that I did a lot of work for this site, some of my friends did a lot of work for this site, and years ago when no one was paying attention I did the placement for the media coverage which was local and regional.
But I do have an interest in this site. It spoke to me years ago, and today I listened again. In 2016 a structural engineer reviewed this historic site and warned about not addressing the bowing of the longer north and south facing walls. There were also warnings of the use of heavy equipment on and close to site. Well today I got a couple of photos from the road because of what I saw a couple of weeks ago that disturbed me.
The walls are coming down. No, no one is taking them down, the years and years of neglect leave no other option for old walls.
I think this is tragic and really upsetting. But it’s not within my power to change it. It is still within the power of the AME Church, unless they have suddenly transferred the property to another entity. I also think East Whiteland Township could try to do a little more.
I asked someone for an update on the site in June and never heard a peep. OK fine, they aren’t interested in conversing with me, but now I am saying I told you so. If they want to preserve any part of the ruling of that church, they need to move a little more quickly. They also need to preserve the graves that are in the graveyard.
Ebenezer represents a heck of a lot of history and there are freed slaves, black Civil War Soldiers, and ancestors of people who still live in the area today. This site deserves respect. Respect just isn’t a historical marker, respect is a better degree of historic preservation. You can read about my coverage of Ebenezer by doing a search on this site or CLICK HERE.
Yesterday was the celebration of Humphry Marshall’s 300th birthday and Marshallton was alive with happiness and history. It was so much fun!
These are the events I love. A pretty day spent with friends and family walking around a wonderfully pretty and historic village. I went around lunchtime and we started with lunch at the Four Dogs Tavern (fabulous), and then we explored. This way, I escaped the politicians who like to appear at fall events during election season.
I was a little disappointed the blacksmith shop was closed but thrilled that the Merchant of Menace was open!
The Union League Club in Philadelphia is this majestic building down Broad Street from City Hall. They like to boast about being occasionally ranked as #1 in city clubs in the country, but I wonder if they will get there again with their distasteful choice of Florida’s own human trafficking politician, Governor Ron De Santis for their “Gold Award.”
Founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln, The Union League of Philadelphia laid the philosophical foundation of other Union Leagues across a nation torn by civil war. The League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and dignitaries from around the globe and has proudly supported the American military in each conflict since the Civil War. The Union League continues to be driven by its founding motto, Amor Patriae Ducit or Love of Country Leads.
A striking building ….Union League of Philadelphia building stands at 140 South Broad Street in the heart of Center City. It was completed in 1865 and features a French Renaissance design.
The story of the League began in December 1862 when two weeks after the crushing Federal defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia, Dr. J. Forsythe Meigs held an organizational meeting for a “Union Club” at his Walnut Street home. Members dedicated themselves to upholding the Constitution and to supporting President Abraham Lincoln’s often unpopular policies. Lincoln’s vigorous measures to stifle disloyalty alienated many northerners already fatigued by a protracted war. Union Leagues (a.k.a. Loyal Leagues), including the Philadelphia chapter, lent their unwavering patriotism to a weary chief executive and to a grueling war effort. By the time of the Philadelphia Union Club’s founding, the pro-war enthusiasm of 1861 had dissipated. The peace wing of the Democratic Party enjoyed considerable strength in the city. Unconditional Unionists were disturbed….The Union Club sought to reinvigorate Unionist fervor. Originally limited to fifty members of Philadelphia’s aristocracy, the organization rechristened itself the Union League and expanded its membership to several thousand by the end of the Civil War. The League functioned as a society for the burgeoning business class being ushered in by rapid industrialization. Members supported many efforts on the home front, including the United States Sanitary Commission’s commitment to improving health conditions in military camps and hospitals. At the USSC Fair in 1864, the Philadelphia League raised money for wounded and disabled soldiers. Its Committee on Employment located jobs for thousands of veterans and widows.
When I was growing up, The Union League was this treat to visit for whatever the occasion. Amazing art and so beautiful inside, one of the things I remember most from growing up is one of my closest friend’s fathers used to take us to the second floor facing Broad Street every New Year’s Day for years so we could watch the Mummers’ parade from the windows of the Union League.
Other memories? Weddings, birthday parties, Orpheus Club Concerts, receptions. Tales of clubs within the clubs with men in kilts to men in diapers.
Back to Abraham Lincoln as their raison d’être at The Union League. Ron De Santis ships immigrants across state lines for shits and giggles. Ron De Santis has been described by MSNBC as a “politician unmoored from fundamental democratic principles….what makes DeSantis such a uniquely worrying character is that there is seemingly no political sewer into which he won’t wade…” He is the complete antithesis of anything decent, and has issues with the First Amendment when it comes to critics. We are also a nation of immigrants, it makes you wonder about De Santis, doesn’t it? And then there is his basic everything phobic and he should just get an award for being a general asshole and overuse of the word woke, right?
If I was feeling kind, I would say The Union League has lost it’s way. I am not feeling kind. The Union League has lost it’s damn mind.
Craig Mills is the Club President. What are his thoughts? Is he okay with this?
I am disgusted. My disgust does not matter to the Union League. I am also sad. My sadness at a Philadelphia tradition to so many generations doesn’t matter to the Union League. But this should matter to the membership. How about a vote of no confidence in their entire club leadership at a minimum? How about lots of membership resignations? After all The Union League with all of their properties has a pretty big overhead nut to crack, correct?
Clout obtained a flurry of letters from club members to Union League president Craig Mills, calling for the event to be canceled. Some members vowed to resign unless the club changes course.
One letter came from William Hangley, a local law firm founder who called DeSantis “a man who has made political and territorial disunion his stock in trade” and “has shown only contempt” for oppressed people, in direct contrast to the Union League’s original mission.
“Exactly what quality or tradition of our League is he thought to emblematize?” wrote Hangley to Mills, also an attorney….Clout had questions. The Union League did not have answers.
“The Union League is a private club,” Mills told Clout. “And this is a private event.”
Yes, The Union League of Philadelphia is a private club. But this is now what they will be known for. They are to be known for going forward as how far the Republican Party has fallen and how there quite literally is no longer “The Party of Lincoln.”
Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln continues to roll in his grave. And on October 13th, I hope protestors greet people entering the event. But I predict membership will not do much more than blunder and bluster. Clubs are like the embodiment of a huge FOMO (Fear of Missing Out.) Social status for so many will always outweigh doing the right thing. It’s sad but for some, it will just be too hard.
Cheers to The Union League of Philadelphia for killing the ideals and values of President Abraham Lincoln in one fell swoop.
Mt. Pleasant is truly a historically important part of Tredyffrin. And so undervalued it’s horrible.
Because Tredyffrin did not deal with student rentals for so long, this is also where student housing slumlords have set up quite the slumlord student rental shop going back years and years. Suffice it to say, the college students who rent there have historically treated an entire historic area like animal house.
I would like Tredyffrin to take a look at the historic value of Mount Pleasant. They never really have.
The Carr House on the corner of Upper Gulph and Radnor Street Road was built c. 1774. The Carr School was built in 1833. Another house close by according to the deed was built around 1789. 961 Mt. Pleasant Avenue was built around 1810. 941 Mt. Pleasant was built around 1860.
And what about the significance of Mount Pleasant over the past 100 years plus as a historic black neighborhood? Let alone a community which survives to this day? Generational residents? I think that’s pretty freaking cool.
You notice a house in a photo above. I don’t even know if it’s still standing, because it was targeted for demolition years ago. It was the home of revered community leader and civil rights activist, Mazie B. Hall.
Now this where I have always been puzzled about Tredyffrin. They have bragging rights to Mazie Hall since she lived in Mt. Pleasant. I think they even named a park after her. So why not honor her 103 years on this earth by trying to preserve the community she fought for and called home? Every time I hear anything about Mt. Pleasant I feel like they are trying to erase what it is, or just deny it’s existence.
Mazie B. Hall – educator, mentor, civil-rights activist, community leader and friend to many – passed away Sunday evening at age 103.
She was affectionately known simply as “Miss Mazie,” and until only recently she called the Mt. Pleasant section of Tredyffrin her home since her birth in 1902. According to those who knew her, Miss Hall left a legacy of caring and compassion….she was humble, not “stuffy,” and modestly talked about her life. She fondly recalled her luncheon visits to her Mt. Pleasant home, where Miss Hall was a genteel host. She baked a special dessert, Sally Lunn cake, a slightly sweetened teacake, reminisced Rector, serving it with the proper silverware and glasses. The gracious host also took her guest on a tour of the grounds.
“She showed me trees that her father had planted,” she remembered.
Miss Hall graduated from the former Tredyffrin-Easttown High School and then graduated from West Chester Normal School (West Chester University). Until her death, she was the university’s oldest graduate. The school maintains a scholarship fund in her honor…..Her career as an educator also included serving one year as principal at the former Mt. Pleasant School in Tredyffrin in the 1930s. When schools in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District became segregated, she was involved in the movement for desegregation.
She teamed up with long-time friend Margaret Collins to crusade for fair-housing practices on the Main Line during the 1950s. Their efforts influenced the formation of the Pennsylvania Fair Housing Act, the basis for federal fair-housing laws.
Now I knew Miss Collins as I called her. I used to wait on her when I worked at Bryn Mawr Feed & Seed a million years ago. She loved to garden. She would show up in her crazy beat up old station wagon and I was the one who would wait on her. I worked there at that nursery after I stopped working in New York. I was totally disenchanted at that time by the financial services industry and decided to explore my passion for gardening professionally. (Suffice it to say working for the widow who inherited and eventually shuttered the business almost killed my joy of gardening for a while, but that is a story for another day.)
So sorry for going off on a tangent, but when I think of Mazie Hall and all that she accomplished, I think of Miss Collins. And when I think of Mt. Pleasant, I think of Mazie Hall. And that’s part of the historical context of Mt. Pleasant. The history matters.
Back to Mt. Pleasant. It still suffers from off campus student housing woes and 2022 is no exception. Now depending on the year there are some houses that aren’t so bad, and then there are other years where all the off-campus houses in Mt. Pleasant are bad. This year I’m going to start with one house in particular.
This house is a real party palace. and if they were smart college students and just didn’t throw ragers seemingly every Friday afternoon, maybe they wouldn’t bother their neighbors so much? The house is the student rental at 985 Mt. Pleasant.
I am told the Tredyffrin Police were there around 5 PM. And then I think a bit after that. And apparently again at some point after 8 PM. I am told the first two visits were just one officer, but the third visit around eight was at least two officers.
The kids put up blue tarps so neighbors can’t see in the back, but you can hear them just fine. Super loud.
And the thing is this, there are some college students who coexist in residential neighborhoods with absolutely not a problem. They do their thing, their neighbors do their own thing and it’s fine. But then you have the ones who do the animal house. And the sad thing is Mt. Pleasant is one of those areas that is victimized by the student houses every year.
Like I said before, some years are better than others. This year I’m only hearing about this house so far . I actually heard that there were a couple of other rentals that the landlords stopped renting to students and started renting to regular people, and residents in Mt. Pleasant think it is so nice to see flowers outside instead of old beer cans.
It’s time for Tredyffrin Township to show Mt. Pleasant some respect. They also need to actually pay attention to off-campus student housing, not just pay it lipservice.
And the kids that live off campus? Do we really think the majority of them would behave this way where they grew up? I mean there’s no knowing for sure, we know they want freedom and they want to have fun, but they just need to remember they’re living and co-existing with people who have real jobs, have families, and are entitled to a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment where they live.
And to off campus student housing landlords? Just because you don’t live there, it should still be a little bit more than an income investment. You have also invested in another community. Try to give a damn once in a while, eh?
I have written about 9/11 in some form since about the 5th anniversary. I almost didn’t write today and then I thought, perhaps I should.
I am including the posts from the last couple of years as embedded links. The importance of honoring this day never lessens, but the understanding of what it is to be a Patriot or even an American does.
Our forefathers fought and bled and died for our inalienable rights. Our country dissolved into civil war in the mid-19th century so we could learn those lessons all over again, and end slavery. But here we are in the 21st century and how is the hatred and vitriol seemingly omnipresent in this country so I have to ask, has anyone living in the United States of America learned a god damned thing?
We have hate groups everywhere and they love to live and breed on Facebook. They misuse the use of our American flag and apply it everywhere, including their fakakta organizations stuff. They are more for the pursuit of liberty than anyone, and they will tell you so as they work the freedoms of everyone else BUT themselves. They run for school board, for Congress, for State Representative, State Senator, Governor, U.S. Senator. They file frivolous litigation including in front of Federal Court, and I hope that dangerous nutbag filing against Great Valley School District and whomever else gets her head handed to her.
I don’t have to name any of the aforementioned anyones running for whatever, we all know who they are. But we have to get off our asses between now and the November midterm elections to ensure they are sent packing. And we will have to keep sending what comes after them packing for as long as it takes.
Why do I bring this up in a 9/11 post? Simple. They will use today to whitewash and faux paint what they are all about. Instead, I say to you, use this day to remember all of those Americans who died on 9/11. Multiple races, ethnicities, walks of life, and more. Remember all of those people who died on this day to help protect our freedoms. The least we can do is send these freaks of political nature packing.
Honor America by actually remembering who we are, not what these people try to dictate we must be.
I am also including the rotting historic farmhouse with a fabulous probably rotting barn behind it at 310 Lancaster Avenue in Frazer (East Whiteland Township) which I have been writing about for years (like the Joseph Price house at 401 Clover Mill Road at the corner of South Whitford in Exton, West Whiteland Township.) 310 Lancaster Avenue is the Clews & Strawbridge property, which if I recall my research correctly is three parcels under the same entity name.
What is interesting about the Clews and Strawbridge property is I found a website today for self storage units there. I hope the storage is an inside the historic farmhouse given its dilapidated condition.
What I don’t understand with this location like the other two in this post is why people can’t take care of them? Why the demolition by neglect? And these are hardly the only examples in Chester County, either.
The Joseph Price House at 401 Clover Mill Road is so sad. That is a magnificent property, and it appears to be on still buy two old men in Ambler. I think at least one of them used to live around maybe? I also know they have had offers for that property for restoration/preservation but in this case it’s demolition by neglect meets greed isn’t it?
Today it looks like some kind of cheap roofing material was being thrown up to cover the holes in the roof and some of the porch roof. So is that because they’re trying to sell it or is there actually still a tenant/caretaker living there? There used to be but the more it deteriorated, people just wondered but Loch Aerie had a caretaker living there as that was rotting up until the end. And Loch Aerie is a prime example that restoration and a viable adaptive reuse is entirely possible. Loch Aerie went from a proverbial lump of coal for decades to a glittering diamond.
And the farmhouse at 105 S. Whitford is also legitimately historic. It’s even recognized by West Whiteland Township as such. It was part of the Oaklands estate. And was it also not once also a family home to a very popular former Chester County State Representative?
When I went by both houses along South Whitford Road today I was astounded by the condition of the property at 105. The farmhouse looks sad but not completely dilapidated yet. But give it time because if no one pays attention it will get that way.
Demolition by neglect is an old unpleasant thing in so many communities. A few years ago you even saw foreclosure versions of that when banks would come in and take over the properties and just leave ghost houses, or whatever the correct nickname was.
I don’t know what the future holds for that farmhouse but shouldn’t it matter somehow? Shouldn’t the condition of the property matter somehow? And that’s the whole thing: you get that not every historic house can be saved or every old house or every beautiful swath of land, but this whole demolition by neglect and chest high weeds thing is ridiculous. Don’t the people that live in the area already matter? Shouldn’t these property owners at least be respectful of the township in which they have these properties?
It’s just that in spite of how difficult Pennsylvania seems to make historic preservation because they just don’t offer nearly what a lot of other states offer, there are people who still want to restore these properties. It would just be nice if there was more restoration and less demolition by neglect.