warehouses proposed at a historic site…in limerick, montgomery county…crucial public meeting tuesday, september 19.

Limerick Township and mega freaking warehouses.

It’s an epidemic. This is being proposed on a historic site in Montgomery County in Limerick and there’s a meeting tomorrow and I guess they broadcast live on Facebook as well.


Just a crazy idea, but perhaps people should tune in to this meeting, because apparently a lot of us across Southeastern PA have a similar issue, and the more people who object to these warehouses the better off, we will all be.

It’s on the agenda as the Limerick Commerce Center (#23-05) Possum Hollow Rd

And I quote…

Location: Possum Hollow Road 
Review Phase: Preliminary Plan

CB Limerick LLC proposes to subdivide the 117.9 Acre tract fronting W. Lightcap Road into five lots and construct four storage facilities totaling 1 Mil SF and one 30,000 SF and one retail space with associated loading, parking and stormwater facilities. The project also proposes to construct private road connecting W. Lightcap Road (at the light at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets) to Sanatoga Road. Project will be serviced by public water and sewer.

This is being proposed by I think some people from New York. A subsidiary of the Iconic Group (whomever they are.) I will note as a related aside to Chester County residents that apparently the old Saint Gabriel’s Hall is something Audubon has their paws in.

And Limerick isn’t that far from the Chester County border and there is a lot of development being planned there. It’s pretty frightening but it’s also Montgomery County, which is where the head of Chester County Planning Commission hails from – and you know I think Brian O’Leary is a carpet bagger and too pro development.

So back to Limerick. What is so atrocious is once again a historic property is at risk because of a mega warehouse plan.

Eastern Pennsylvania
Preservation Society: Hood Mansion

Hood Mansion located in Limerick, PA was built in 1834 by John M. Hood, an Irish immigrant.  He built it as a summer home for his wife and his thirteen children.

The Hood’s son, Washington, was the 500th graduate of West Point in 1827. He then went on to become Captain of the Corps of Topographical Engineers in the US Army and mapped out most of the Oregon Territory and Northwest. After he died at the age of 32 of Yellow Fever, his father erected a monument in his honor. The monument is still located on the estate, as well as the original family crypt.

The Hood Mansion would be demolished. It would be replaced with mega warehouses. So this beautiful historic structure with ties to national, local, and cultural significance with a retaining pond would be lost forever along with more open space. Please note the Hood family also advocated and helped enslaved persons reach freedom during the Underground Railroad. So there is that too.

This is not a structure to just be bulldozed and forgotten…. this is just as horrible and egregious as what’s being proposed for Lionville Station Farm and Happy Days Farm in Chester County.

All of these pieces of land have historic import. And while we can’t save every old house, there are some we should just save. And the way Hood is being left at present to rot is just as bad as Lloyd Farm in Caln. Why can’t we ever have adaptive reuse in part with any of these proposals? It’s just demolish and build and it’s like mega warehouses have become the new apartment building plans. They’re all bad. They all suck. They’re not anything to do with our communities or the people that live there let alone our history.

In Southeastern, Pennsylvania is seems any open space with serious history that isn’t being turned into ugly ass apartment buildings and townhouse developments is being proposed for mega warehouses now.

I swear I used to think it was just Chester county where we had to band together. I think we have to band together in multiple counties.


646 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA 19468

I don’t usually curse in my posts but this is bullsh🤬t. Just like Lionville Station Farm and Happy Days Farm.

And I have seen zero real media coverage of Hood Mansion. There was something on Patch and a rah rah on Montco Today.

#saveHood #savethishouse #savethisoldhouse #thisplacematters

today at ebenezer, hope rose like a phoenix from the ashes

This won’t be a particularly long post and over the next couple of days I will be going through photos from the sign ceremony to post but today my heart was happy and full of joy.

I love this site, and I love the history it represents, and today I felt hopeful. Today I felt the old souls were pleased… and I could also feel more recent souls who loved Ebenezer whom I knew, Ann Christie and Al Terrell were smiling.

Also something unexpected happened. Today I got a thank you for my contributions to Ebenezer. That is a place that is so special to me, and the thank you was heartfelt. It came from Pastor April Martin and Bertha Jackmon. Coming from them that really meant something special to me. No one really has ever publicly recognized my efforts, and it’s one of those things where no brass band was ever needed, but a simple thank you today meant the world.

My relationship with the East Whiteland Historic Commission doesn’t really exist. I genuinely like a couple of the members and a few members past and present have always been truly really nice to me, and I enjoy speaking with them and knowing them a little bit, BUT I know most of those people do not like me, and a few do not go out of their way to make me feel welcome. And part of the things that have upset me about Ebenezer was trying to talk to them over the years. None of them are bad people, but they are quite cliquish, and not necessarily welcoming to someone like me, or anyone who isn’t their normal person.

Part of what I realized today is I don’t need their approval or permission to love local history. They honestly did a really nice job with the ceremony. Ebenezer’s graveyard is nicely cleaned up. A bunch of stones have fallen over but it’s partially the site itself, and there are new homes being dug around it. The plan is to restore the stones and cap the church ruin which is perfect.

There is a brand new website and fundraising will need to be done for the future and if there are folks who can set up a non profit to help Ebenezer live long into the future visit https://www.historicebenezerbactonhill.org/

It was really nice to visit Hiram and Joshua today too.

Many thanks to Chair of the East Whiteland Supervisors Scott Lambert and Manager Steve Brown for their support of preserving this historic site and for arranging all sorts of things today and East Whiteland PD for making a sometimes busy road behave today.

Again, I will post photos over the next few days. In the future I would like to plant daffodils and snowdrops by the grave stones after they are reset.

ebenezer is getting a historic marker…finally

I am not trying to be sour grapes here, but when you read this press release disguised as an article embedded below makes you feel like a couple of recent people did everything with regard to the ruin of Ebenezer with no help from anyone else ever. The truth is, there have been a lot of people involved, who should be remembered and thanked.

It’s like a very large village has loved this site and helped and tried to help over the years.

Those of you who know me know that I have worked on this personally for years. I have made publicly available all the information I found and shared loads of photos.

I do not do things like this for atta girls or accolades, but people could say thank you once in a while.

And folks could also say thank you to the families of the late Al Terrell and late Ann Christie as well. And former scout Luke Phayre and his mother, historian Catherine Quillman, Tim Caban former chair of East Whiteland Historic Commission, Theresa Schatz and Susan Evans -former member of East Whiteland Historic Commission, and even Dr. Bill Watson from Immaculata who is always so patient and helpful when you have any questions. There are also all the people who once lived in the area who contributed to the oral histories I posted up and gave me photos to use. Like the artist Claude Bernardin.

Or how about Chester County resident and retired Air Force Colonel Howard Crawford West Chester Veterans Council and commander of the American Legion Post 134 who was instrumental in our Veterans Day ceremony in 2016 on the site? Or Doug Buettner and others over the years who helped clean up the site? Or how about those wonderful East Whiteland police officers who showed up in 2016 to help direct traffic during the Veterans Day ceremony and became part of the honor guard?

Ebenezer is very special to me, even if I am a middle-aged white woman with no relatives in the cemetery.

I am so happy that historical marker is going up here and that there is now a small chance and hope for preservation in the future that lasts. I know that the ruin is too far gone to do anything but stabilize because a few years ago I was the one along with my husband, who had a structural engineer who dealt with historic properties look at it and give a report.

I will attend this ceremony, and I will have a happy heart and a smile on my face, as I am grateful that this is getting some more recognition. But I just want people out there to recognize that there are a lot of people who have cared about this site over the years and helped to the best of their ability.

To get to this point, it’s not just because of recent events, there are years of things behind this and lots of people who cared. Other friends like Christine, Tia, Dana and Keica.

And when I first moved here, East Whiteland Township didn’t truly give a crap about the site. East Whiteland beyond some of the member of the historic commission started to give a damn when Scott Lambert became supervisor. As a matter of fact, when we did the Veterans Day ceremony in 2016, not one supervisor showed up. I remember at the time those of us who worked on that couldn’t believe that. We kept wondering what would it have taken for any of the three supervisors or manager to have shown up even for a few minutes?

I realize I’m like the inconvenient guest at a dinner party because you never know what’s going to come out of my mouth, but I think it’s important to recognize here that a lot of people, not just me, have contributed to saving and trying to save Ebenezer.

If you go to visit this site, I hope you feel all the happy souls like we do when we’re on the site. If you go tomorrow, that is when the marker is being unveiled at 1:30 PM on Bacton Hill Road in East Whiteland.

how are donations being used at harriton house…. really?

Harriton House was a slice of heaven for me for me and many people for more than 40 years. I started to visit Harriton when I was 12. I am now 59.

Harriton became a historic destination of some note all because of the former Executive Director Bruce Cooper Gill. He gave them what? 45 years of his life? Did they ever even honor him appropriately for essentially making Harriton amazing and into Harriton? He gave them decades of his life and HE is the reason people discovered this place. And with him, you knew how every penny was spent, didn’t you? And when you made a donation large or small, he took the time to personally say thank you, didn’t he?

What Harriton House USED to look like before the
historically accurate fence disappeared.

That lack of style in ED transition appalled many people, didn’t it? (“ED” not for erectile dysfunction but rather Executive Director.) They wondered then what the board of the Harriton Association and the successor ED was thinking? Especially the President of the Board? So what are they thinking now? I mean you have to wonder about things given how it just doesn’t look so hot over there, so many trees were removed etc, right? It looks sloppy over there. Kind of like a sock that really needs darning, right?

Below enjoy photos of how wonderful the flowers once looked at Harriton and there were once community gardens too. So much has changed, hopefully these photos remind people of what could be again with different leadership.

So many questions now exist about Harriton House and the Harriton Association don’t they? Four employees if you count the lawn tractor guy who lives in one of rental structures, right? Remember when they were going to have a new website in 2023? It’s August, 2023…don’t rush…

I can’t see the differences in The Harriton Association’s filings because the latest IRS Form 990 that is available online is from 2020 for calendar year 2019. (See CAUSEIQ.com, GuideStar, ProPublica, etc.) So I have to wonder where their finances are today? Donations up or down? Are the events making enough money under new ED? Who paid for the “field trip” today?

How is taking all employees on a field trip actual “continuing education”? In my opinion, the answer is it is not. Welsh settlers, Quakers, and Pennsylvania Germans are rather different. So while it is a nice sentiment it feels like Harriton is not really “open” as it should be.

The Goschenhoppen Folk Festival is amazing. No one needs an excuse to check it out. But why can’t a small non-profit encourage their employees to go on their own time?

(I do feel however, that the Goschenhoppen Historians Christmas Market is even BETTER. definitely check THAT out!)

The events under new ED have been a snooze fest and I truly hope they improve because Harriton was always such a gem. So maybe lack of activity at the old farmstead is why the field trip for grown ups?

Maybe Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov can wax poetic about things at Harriton? Isn’t he the commissioner who attends their board meetings? Speaking of board meetings, what about board minutes, where are theirs kept publicly? They are a non-profit organization so who has them? Have they changed their bylaws over the past couple of years? Are things being run properly in as far as a non-profit goes? Is there proper financial oversight and accountability? Is there oversight in general?

Maybe my concerns in the end will amount to nothing, I surely hope so. But I remain steadfast in my opinion that the Harriton Association needs some shaking up on the board including a new president of the board, and that this current ED is simply not the right fit. Being a historical reenactor does not make them a good ED does it? More to running a historic site than playing dress up around the region right?

Thank goodness my rights which were assisted in happening once upon a time by Harriton’s Charles Thomson allow me to express my opinions.

Thanks for stopping by.

long ago and far away: the willows

Many many years ago in another lifetime, family members of those who once called the Willows home in Radnor sent me photos. As well as photos that were lent by The Radnor Historical Society back then. For an article I wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer August 1, 2012 for their now defunct Neighbors section.

The photos showed up in photo memories today so I am sharing them. It was a marvelous estate and house once upon a time. A country house to be sure, but still never a “mansion” per se.

Enjoy a float back to the past. Here’s hoping she continues to survive.

Please visit the Willows website if this place interests you: https://willowsparkpreserve.org/

historic kerfuffle house in bryn mawr

Gosh Harriton House a place I have loved since I was 12, but now like many other beloved historic sites can you say it’s in decline and getting more run down as time goes on?

I was introduced to Harriton as a child by a neighbor who volunteered there and also knew the original executive director who made Harriton what she was, and sadly the flavor has changed, and at the helm now is a woman who seems to need multiple assistants and I am not quite sure why? And then there is the social media from today…

Madame Kerfuffle seems to have made quite the faux pas today, yes?

It started innocently enough with one of the normally silly posts now posted on their Facebook page. I say silly because well, they are. I was vastly amused by the history camp posts this week because it made me ponder how child labor laws came to be- all you saw were the kids of Main Liners doing chores and I hope the new executive director remembered to get signed releases for the purpose of posting photos of other people’s children publicly as marketing? They are kids not marketing material after all, right? (Example immediately below ⬇️)

Publicly posted photo. Faces of children covered as a courtesy.

But then I saw their patriotic post for July 4th with a historical faux pas that makes you wonder about holy proof reading Batman!

And then the comment which will help you figure out the kerfuffle of historic proportions even worse that that time in recent history when someone decided to bake bread in Harriton’s historic kitchen, right?

Well oopsies and ouchies, eh? Gosh. Now of course like magic this post was corrected and undoubtedly eventually disappear and was also corrected ….except well Facebook allows you to view revisions.

Harriton Historic House and Park has lots of “human error”….like MYSTERIOUSLY blocking me from Harriton House’s Instagram in spite of MANY, MANY years of volunteering, donations, and donations in kind. Is that “human error” too? To block me who never leaves a comment on Instagram although I do find posts where a goat is baby talking on a historic house page somewhat ludicrous?

Harriton House turned 300 in 2004. I got them on the Today Show. The board never said thank you. But some took credit for it.

They also never did answer my question posted on a removed post of theirs about how many trees were taken down in the past year, and if Lower Merion Township was in approval and did the tree people carry whatever license Lower Merion Township asks for I think? Also because the property is historic did the nouveau executive director actually get HARB permission to take down old fences and erect the new ones which have that penitentiary feel to them?

There’s so much going on at Harriton that people have so many questions about. And I know people that just won’t go back anymore because every time they do now they think the property looks sad and I thought that last year when I went back after an oncology appointment at Penn Medicine in Radnor. Harriton was a happy place to me for decades, and I decided to go visit while I was more or less in the area. When I went back, it just looked sad with lots of weeds, doesn’t look like the garden clubs are really there anymore, and the original white fence that stood in front of Harriton was gone. It was a time of year where there should’ve been people there even if just families with kids or somebody walking a dog because it was summer and it was empty.

And July 4th. The house was always open July 4 for tours. No more. Given what Harriton’s most famous occupant was part of, sure seems odd, right? I can’t believe it was 2021 that I wrote a July 4th post, seems like a lifetime ago.

So much about Harriton seems like a lifetime ago. Like the gardens. There were two garden clubs which used to do various beds and the sunken garden, which I actually was the first person to create a garden in. Last year the sunken garden was new weed city. Someone who was over there recently and had not been in forever messaged me to ask where the garden clubs were and I asked why and he said “weeds all over.”

Sunken garden some point
between 2019 and 2021

I will go back to the recent history of when someone thought they could bake bread at an annual meeting was it? And it was a disaster ? When we cooked in the kitchen in the late 70s, we didn’t create any issues or set anything on fire, and that’s important at a historic site, right?

A Taste of History hadn’t even been in the Harriton kitchen yet when we had
been in the late 1970s.

Harriton was a really special place. It could be again. But it needs a board makeover and executive director makeover. I actually found what looks like a copy of the last executive director requirements? New girl is not so new any longer so can she hack it?

You will have to click on each screenshot to read:

So it makes you wonder if Lower Merion Township is actually paying attention? After all they do own the historic house and land, correct? They have a commissioner on the board and commissioners were there in June for some sort of commissioner gathering, correct ? What did they see or is it they choose to ignore? You have to wonder because you don’t want Harriton to end up looking as sad as Ashbridge House in the park in Rosemont which kind of just looks like it’s rotting. Also, it’s interesting to note that even if you have a guide star membership you don’t see IRS form 990s past 2019 so why is that? I mean, maybe that’s just a clerical error on the part of these websites that monitor form 990s but still.

Anyway. It’s been a ramble, hasn’t it? I’m sure the heat and hate mail now will come rolling in because oh my God, I expressed an opinion. No one said you had to read it…

what the tweet?

So I’m wondering if I should call this post, idioms, idiots, and Twitter? I just can’t decide. I’m feeling politically incorrect today, so if you don’t want to hear about it turn away from this post now. Yeah, I know a little reverse psychology so now you are all hooked and you’re going to read this post. OK , you’ve been warned. Also, there is a danger today of run on sentences.

I have been on Twitter since the beginning. As in before, Elon Musk probably ever knew it existed. I am literally a Twitter OG.

Twitter started in 2006 and I joined in 2008. Why I joined back then as we were trying to see if historic downtown Ardmore, PA as in the historic business district. (Of course looking at Ardmore today, I’m wondering what we saved it from because we couldn’t save it from Lower Merion Township but that’s another story for another day.)

Anyway, social media was in its infancy, and we were fighting eminent domain for private game against a municipality who is that point had hired outside, professional PR folks on the taxpayer dime to fight residents and to try to jam their plan through. So we harvested social media in its early days to help us get our message out there because it first no media was interested in why we were trying to save Ardmore at all. Also amusing is PR guy at the time put a price on our heads and accusing of us of hiding our identities on this new thing called social media although everyone knew exactly who we were, and how’s that for amusing? (Well it was to all of us who got up at meeting after public meeting stating our names.)

So yeah, I’m kind of a social media OG in general because we learned to use it early on to help our local issues. No fluffy bunnies. This is of course why I’m also always amused by fauxblicists who want to charge small businesses out the wazoo for ummm…. posting on their personal Instagram photos taken with their phone but not actually placing anything with media. Of course, that brings up the eternal debate of influencer or freebie seeker, but again, I digress. I do that occasionally.

So today I saw something float by from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani go by. It just gave me a big case of the oy veys. I mean, after all, this is the guy who gave the press conference from the landscaping business in Philadelphia for Trump his personal Jim Jones (this reference is to the Jonestown massacre. Look it up and don’t drink the Kool-Aid.)

Anyway, creepy old Rudy with his hands in his pants apparently is a podcaster now:

Forget about his really old Bucky the beaver headshot he uses on Twitter that makes him look like a creepy budding serial killer, it’s the idea that Mr. hands in his pants has a podcast and people subscribe to it. It’s equally too much and hysterical and pathetic so I gave it a big old oy as in oy vey.

That’s it above that’s exactly what I tweeted. Then came this via email:

Whaaaaaat? Did I mention I’ve been tweeting since 2008 and never had this happen? So then I go look at Twitter:

I just kind of sat there for a minute. Because then I looked at the replies, and other things the people reply to him or say about him and I’m thinking Twitter picked me? I expressed my opinion. That was it. I wasn’t on the steps of the U.S. Capitol one infamous January 6th playing storm the Bastille.

I used no profanity (I rarely do on social media), and when you think of the things that Twitter today allows on Twitter, it just kind of blew my mind. Like the pornography and the pornographers that want to add you to their “list“ while posting photos of women with literally everything hanging out with peekaboo panties. But hey because someone didn’t like my opinion about creepy AF Rudy Giuliani I get to deal with this?

So I challenged their decision about my tweet, because it was absolutely ridiculous in my opinion, and I got this:

This, of course, also deserves a giant oy vey, because the whole scenario is utterly ridiculous.

The irony is once upon a time I thought Rudy Giuliani was kind of a cool dude. I’m guessing 9/11 was his moment. During that time I thought he was fabulous in spite of all the Page Six of it all of his private life.

Somewhere along the line, the wheels came off I think in Rudy Giuliani’s brain. I think he seriously believed he went around in a super hero’s cape. Anyway, I went from respecting him for the way he was during 9/11 to watching a human train wreck go forward in life. So when this tweet went by, I was like “really?” People pay to subscribe to his lunacy now while he’s still being investigated in Washington for whatever in election probes? Alrighty then.

Now the discussion is ensuing about what I said, so allow me to include a couple of definitions via screenshot:

I am not a racist. I used a word AND a phrase that are commonly used. The phrase I used, while out of favor, dates back to the early 19th century. It’s literally an Americanism; an idiom.

The word oy is used every damn day. I use it. I learned how to use it originally from my Jewish friends. Just like my black friends will say to me undoubtedly why did I use that stupid phrase but they’re not going to brand me a racist. And why is that because I did not have racist intent, I was expressing my opinion about a ridiculous human being, residing in New York City, or on whichever planet he lives.

Now I’m being told to “reset.”

I hate phrases like reset, as I am not a machine with a button on my forehead. I am tired of living in a world where every time we open our mouths, somebody is telling us we shouldn’t say something? Or suddenly something is bad and punishable although it’s been part of every day vernacular for centuries. It’s part of our history and like a lot of our history maybe it’s out of fashion, maybe it’s out of favor, maybe it’s inconvenient, maybe it’s embarrassing but it doesn’t mean the person using a phrase in this case me is either a bad person or a racist.

Sorry, not sorry I can’t keep up some days. Especially considering what is allowed on social media compared to an unintentional offhand remark I made one time.

Oy vey, Twitter. Like Elon Musk cares about this anyway?

Go forth and don’t use the wrong phrases today like I did or you’ll end up in Twitter jail even temporarily. But don’t mess with my first amendment rights.

Rant over.

original 1989 scout report on ebenezer and an update

Dan Baker photo 1989

In 1989, Dan Baker lived in East Whiteland Township and was an Eagle Scout. He adopted Ebenezer, AME and her ruins on Bacton Hill Road for his Eagle Scout project.

Recently, Dan shared via Bertha Jackson, (who is an AME church historian) additional thoughts and a few photos from his project. Both his original project report, and this update are embedded in this post.

In addition, there was a very recent presentation given by my friend Tia Manon at East Whiteland Township. This was part of the presentation. Tia has ancestors buried in the cemetery at the ruin of Ebenezer AME. She still searches for another ancestor named Perry Ringgold/James Williams. He has two names because he was a slave who gained his freedom on the underground railroad. So he started as Perry and ended up as James. Apparently he may have shown up in Mount Pleasant. I said I think the Mount Pleasant section of Wayne in an 1880 census but he’s listed as white so we’re not sure if he was trying to pass or it’s not him.

From July, 2016 (I placed the article):

https://www.poconorecord.com/story/news/state/2016/07/17/community-wants-to-save-historic/27489162007/ (click to read)

I can’t even explain to you how it makes my heart happy that other people have taken up the mantle of Ebenezer. Of course, back when I started researching the AME church didn’t really admit that they owned it still, and then research led to the old deed, which apparently has never been changed in Chester County. So the AME church does now seem to acknowledge that they still own this amazing historic resource, which is good. I just wish their national church would maybe recognize this site a little more and help out with local efforts.

Dan Baker photo 1989

Once again baby steps forward. I know some people don’t understand why I love this abandoned site so much. I just do. I still remember the day that I discovered the ruined wasn’t an abandoned farmhouse, but a church and when I saw my Civil War soldier, Joshua.

Then I found recently online drone footage over Ebenezer :

It goes with a project from an archeology student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her name is Sarah Caminito. I am not sure if she graduated or not.

(click to view)

Ebenezer AME also has her own page on Find A Grave.

So hopefully Ebenezer will regain her proper place in history and forever preservation will occur. I want to hope, sometimes I am afraid to hope.

My friend Tia will be writing about it and when she does I hope to share her thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.

Dan Baker photo 1989