did you hear the one about a meeting in a municipal garage, a porta potty and no air conditioning? ask westtown…

I am going to let Mindy’s words stand on their own. Yes, Westtown is trying to hold the FINAL planning commission meeting for Crebilly and Troll Brothers in a public works garage.

No air-conditioning, July.

No plumbing, July.

Porta potty in the time of coronavirus, July.

With all residents have been through with this AND coronavirus, this is the plan? Wow. One would think that with all the money the developer and family selling would stand to make one would think they could rent a ballroom in a hotel like the Desmond, right? Or hold it when all could gather safely, right?

But nooooo, it’s a saddle up occasion and here is whom to contact ASAP:

Westtown Township Main Number: 610-692-1930Rob Pingar, Township Manager: rpingar@westtown.orgWill Ethridge, Secretary Planning Commission: wethridge@westtown.orgBoard of Supervisors: supervisors@westtown.org

As Mindy says with every post, IF NOT YOU THEN WHO?

east whiteland tell west whiteland NO on plans for weston on w. king road!

I am going to plant a seed here: I believe concerned residents of East Whiteland Township need to contact Township officials to make sure they take a position and protect our interests when it comes to the proposed development of the Weston Tract on West King Rd in West Whiteland.

If you are concerned like I am please contact the supervisors and or township manager John Nagel 

jnagel@eastwhiteland.org

slambert@eastwhiteland.org

sdrummond@eastwhiteland.org

rorlow@eastwhiteland.org

In West Whiteland, the emails for supervisors and the township manager Mimi Gleason are:

mgleason@westwhiteland.org

rkumbhardare@westwhiteland.org

tsantalucia@westwhiteland.org

janderson@westwhiteland.org

The reason I say this is quite simple: this development will negatively impact our stormwater management which is already an issue down King Road past the Little League field and beyond? (there are residents who have actually videotaped and followed the water who live on Collegeview.)

It will negatively impact our infrastructure and W. King Rd. is already like a highway. With the addition of over 100 additional high density houses, how long will it take people to get out of side streets? How will people be able to safely cross the road to get to Immaculata? How will Immaculata be impacted?

Then there is the impact to the ecosystem in the area. That has always been a heavily wooded area what happens to the heritage trees and wildlife?

It comes down to how many developments do we need in this area? Also why can’t we move to 2 acre lot minimums to preserve more open space? High density housing is destroying Chester County. And mark my words it will not be sustainable into the future.

Another fact to be considered with development of this site are the pipeline easements. How many pipelines are going through this property dead or alive? And is that creating another issue down the road and don’t we have enough pipeline issues already?

It’s time for East Whiteland Township to step up and not just approve developments and turn a blind eye to developments but to protect the interests of the residents here.

I also encourage any of you who are concerned to send an email to West Whiteland Planning Commission: questions@westwhiteland.org

another restoration in progress?

Reader submitted photo received today. The Exton Witch House is getting long overdue love.

Another old house that people in Chester County are obsessed with is known as the Exton witch house. I wrote about it before in 2018 I think it was.

The house is in Uwchlan Township. It was actually the Whelan/Ferrell/Meredith farm once upon a time. It is of historical importance.

Yesterday one of my readers sent me a note:

✍🏻”Do you have any idea who’s fixing up The Witch House on Gordon Drive in Exton? Drove by last week and it really looks nice!”✍🏻

So I put a post out on the blog Facebook page and a very nice man messaged me that he had driven by and saw the work. He noted that the site has been secured and cleaned up and whoever is doing the restoration is doing a beautiful job. His photo was taken from some distance away, but you can see if you zoom in on the photo it looks wonderful!

A friend of mine took this photo a couple/few years ago:

So let’s put these photos side by side. It truly is exciting! To whomever is restoring this old house, thank you! I hope you will write in and tell us about your plans!

I will also remind anyone who reads this post that this is a private property and you cannot trespass. Now that somebody’s working on it, there is undoubtedly security.

This proves again that historic preservation is possible. This is why I hope places like Lloyd Farm in Caln is saved. It can’t be in worse shape than this place was and look at the difference!

Stay dry and safe on this rainy day!

Before and after. What a contrast!

the mystery of the rotting old country house on dorlan mill road, downingtown

Reader submitted photo – more recent



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Reader submitted photo from early 2000s when it was still lived in

 

I am completely out of my depth here. I do recall going past this abandoned farmhouse on Dorlan Mill Road.

I am told this house was owned by James and Elizabeth Dorlan who owned the neighboring paper mill. I think I took photos of this once upon a time myself but I can’t find them

I’m not sure what township this is in. It’s Downingtown and when you look at maps it looks like Upper Uwchlan. The address is 770 Dorlan Mill Road. Is it historically listed anywhere? Or is it just significant due to the family that owned the paper mill?

So this is near Struble Trail? It says so on Chesco Views.

Everyone keeps asking me what the deal is with this old house. People had hoped it would be preserved and become something like a nice little B&B or even a single-family home. But it’s just rotting isn’t it? I seem to recall a few years ago this location being in the paper. And people being upset. (See this old Marsh Creek Forum post)

So who knows what, including history of the area right there? Please leave a comment!

morgantown and beyond

Morgantown is in Berks County. It flows into Lancaster County.

And a tacky casino is coming to Morgantown. And a Super Wawa…across from a Turkey Hill on 23 just at the Berks and Lancaster County line.

Change is coming and I don’t think it’s good. I think the casino is a mistake and I also think no one really cared what residents which included generations of Amish and Mennonite farmers think. I think the state is completely disrespectful here. I think it’s going to bring more problems in the long run.



And no I don’t like casinos. Any of them. And Penn National? They are doing the Morgantown Casino and how about their former director of benefits who had a penchant for stealing?



I think small towns like this are at risk all over the state. Farming communities too.

But does anyone care?

the joseph price house in exton is in really bad shape.

Yes again, I am writing about the Joseph Price house in West Whiteland Township. It’s really starting to deteriorate badly in my opinion. (And I say that from observing it across the street today- I have not been invited to be on the property so I would not presume.)

This house is on S.Whitford and Clover Mill Roads in Exton. The Joseph Price House in West Whiteland Township.

(Here is a wonderful little slide show presentation on prezi. )

This house is historically listed. It was built in 1878 and altered in 1894 by the house namesake inhabitant at the time. It was altered from a Gothic style to a Queen Anne style.

I was also told in the 1990s it was separate apartments inside and there were also cottages around it which were rented out as well.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a large barn there that was a sale barn for cattle run by Bayard Taylor —a blog reader told me that. He knew because his mother did bookkeeping for that business while she was in college.

This house is not completely deserted I am told there is still a caretaker who still lives there. However, this house has an uncertain future at best and nobody seems to know what will happen to it. Which is a shame because it’s very cool.

There are so many amazing houses like this throughout Chester County from all eras of time.

I am told the house is owned by two people in Ambler. Chesco Views confirmed that today.

This afternoon I had some time so I pulled into the business parking lot across the road on Clover Mill Road. I took some photos from across the road and I just looked at the house. It has been historically listed since the 1980s. And yes I know I’m being repetitive, but it just blows my mind that these gorgeous houses that are historically listed not just locally but nationally rot like this.

Things are just crumbling and the property also seems to be quite the haven for dead car bodies.

Truly (and sadly), the house is becoming so decrepit, more decrepit. I really wish these owners would sell to somebody who could restore it.

It is just so crazy to me, as this could be the most fabulous property. It’s big enough and there is enough land left that it could be a great restaurant or even a boutique bed-and-breakfast which is not a stretch considering there is one up the road from it on South Whitford – the Duling-Kurtz House and Country Inn.

Anyway, I continue to be obsessed by this property which is not for sale. It’s just that this is a historically listed property (since 9/6/1984) and is this demolition by neglect? I really hope someone will save this place.

#thisplacematters

one of my favorite roads

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This is (I think)  part of the old mill structures on Hershey’s Mill Road in West Chester (East Goshen). It looks like it is  getting a new lease on life. It is the landmark for Hershey’s Mill Road off of Greenhill Road.

This is also one of my favorite roads.

Probably because it hasn’t been torn asunder by development.

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We have had so much rain that the pond that had been drained is back.

But this is a road where you take your time, meander, and exhale. It’s lovely.

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even in the rain, chester county has incredible beauty

Yesterday traveling around with my husband in the pouring rain I was struck once again with the beauty of Chester County. So I hope you can see beyond the rain drops.

This is why I get so upset with the relentless march of development, cursed pipelines, and things like digital billboards.

Happy Sunday!

life in black and white…at life’s patina

Once upon a time in 2012 in the summer I was asked to photograph beautiful Chester County properties for a historic house tour. The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Annual Historic House Tour.

On this day, for the first time I saw Willowbrook Farm, which most of you know as Life’s Patina. At this point in 2012, the barn where so many go to enjoy special events and charity shopping days was being restored. I had not even met Meg Veno yet.

I fell in love with this farm on that day many years ago.

The restoration and adaptive reuse of the barn and the restoration of the property is an amazing thing to behold. It’s just so beautiful.

The care, the love, the attention to detail. And I have loved all of my many subsequent visits ever since.

Meg is inspirational to me. She is endlessly creative and has an incredible eye. She is also one of the kindest people I have ever met.

I was going through old photos and came across these and thought I would share them.

Life’s Patina is also expanding. They are restoring and renovating the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village.

Now Yellow Springs is one of my very favorite places and has been since I was much younger. I used to come to Yellow Springs with my parents. My father loved the village and we used to come for the art show and sale and the antiques show they used to host (which I always thought was fabulous by the way.)

I took these next two photos of the Jenny Lind House last May 2019. I was in the village for the Herb Society Plant Sale. It’s so wonderful to see the house come back to life!

Anyway, enjoy the photos and celebrate those who chose to restore and renovate and find an adaptive reuse for old structures. We need more of that around here!

Make sure you check out Life’s Patina on their website and Facebook page. They often have terrific events. And the bonus is you also get to see a property that’s a slice of heaven in Chester County!

the end of the decade, new year’s eve 2019

Lovely Loch Aerie, Frazer, PA

It has been a crazy decade chock-full of so much. I wasn’t sure what my last post of the year was going to look like until I started looking at some of my photos of houses that had captured my interest and fancy in the past decade.

So in all of the houses I have looked at in this decade I have decided to remain true to Chester County today and give you my three favorites.

Ironically my three house picks for the decade are not traditional 18th century Chester County Farmhouses, but three 19th-century stone houses of a certain era.

You see the first house above. My ultimate old house love, beautiful and lovely Loch Aerie mansion. I have written about her enough that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and restate her history.

Loch Aerie on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer in East Whiteland Township enters the next decade with a guaranteed and brilliant new lease on life. She is being restored to her former glory, and will have an adaptive reuse that will ensure her place in architectural history for decades to come.

Old stone house Francis Ave, Berwyn, Easttown.

Next on my list is a house I was reminded of this morning. I know nothing of her pedigree. It is the great stone house on Francis Avenue in Berwyn.

My great friend (and Chester County historian and artist) Catherine Quillman and I stumbled upon this beauty in 2016 one fall afternoon.

We took a wrong turn somewhere after leaving Jenkins Arboretum and all of a sudden we were on Francis Avenue in front of this house. And before anyone flips out, we did not trespass. I had a camera with a zoom lens with me and I took photos from the street. This house captured my fancy for a number of reasons, including the fact that the stonework reminded me a lot of Loch Aerie.

I know absolutely nothing of the history of this house other than its 19th century and in Easttown Township . I think it probably has a name (possibly according to a 1912 atlas it appears it was maybe called “Rhydlyn” home of James G. Francis, whose sister in law I believe was famed local photographer Lucy Sampson according to census records from the early 20th century and according to the census she lived there for a while!) I don’t know if it is listed on any national registries or even a state or local registry. I couldn’t find it listed anywhere. (I am told it is mentioned HERE.)

It strikes me as a similar vintage to Loch Aerie. I also do not know the current ownership of the home but I am told it is being preserved as part of some kind of a development. I am also told that the glorious slate roof is no longer which I can’t say surprises me because old slate roofs are incredibly expensive to maintain and it’s a lost art of the craftsmanship of roof building. There are very few slaters left.

My last house which captured my fancy a great deal in this last decade is the Joseph Price house in West Whiteland Township.

This house is on S.Whitford and Clover Mill Roads in Exton. The Joseph Price House in West Whiteland Township.

Here is a wonderful little slide show presentation on prezi. This house is historically listed. It was built in 1878 and altered in 1894 by the house namesake inhabitant at the time. It was altered from a Gothic style to a Queen Anne style.

I was also told in the 1990s it was separate apartments inside and there were also cottages around it which were rented out as well.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a large barn there that was a sale barn for cattle run by Bayard Taylor —a blog reader told me that. He knew because his mother did bookkeeping for that business while she was in college.

This house is not completely deserted I am told there is a caretaker who still lives there. However, this house has an uncertain future at best and nobody seems to know what will happen to it. Which is a shame because it’s very cool.

So as we lift a glass one last time to toast a crazy tumultuous decade everywhere, let us think of our future and historic preservation. There are so many cool houses like this throughout Chester County from all eras of time.

Less development. More land and structure preservation and adaptive reuse. That’s my final wish for Chester County for 2019.

Please do not trespass on these properties. Either get permission to wander around or look from the street.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Joseph Price House. West Whiteland Township.