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…

a grinch from lancaster leaves a comment and more pipeline follies

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So the other day I wrote a post about pipeline liens being filed against beleagured residents in Pennsylvania who have had pipelines shoved down their throats and land taken by eminent domain for private gain.

And I say eminent domain by private gain versus eminent domain for public purpose because the natural gas companies filing for PUC utility status in Pennsylvania is BOGUS. So BOGUS.

Why?

Because what they rape from the ground and ship across multiple counties doesn’t stay here does it? It is EXPORT, isn’t it? Like for plastics in Scotland? So where is the public benefit?

And let’s talk about the pipeline WORKERS. They are IMPORTS, right? Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, etc as you can see from their license plates, correct? So these pipline companies are EXPORTING the gas and “other hydrocarbons” and IMPORTING workers from other places so any way you care to look at it, how can they say PUBLIC PURPOSE? It’s not. When they say that it is just P.R. swill, isn’t it?

People in Chester County not too far from me have had their land seized and properties devalued (because who in the hell wants to buy a house in a neighborhood after the pipelines have visited and sinkholes have opened up, wells have been polluted?)

In Berks and other counties homeowners have been subjected to the SAME heinous actions and now to add insult to injury, are being threatened with Mechanics Liens by subcontractors who were employed by the pipeline companies.  That was why I wrote the post about it HERE.

Don’t believe me? An actual letter was shared with LancasterOnline and was published today. I screen shot it and blocked off the homeowner name and address:

So how about that? Crazy, right? Not only have these people had land siezed, the pipelines aren’t paying their subcontractors and they are being targeted instead of the pipeline companies who actually employed them? Merry freaking Christmas.

Lancaster Online: Homeowners along gas pipelines in Lebanon, Berks counties shocked to find threats of liens in mail
AD CRABLE | Staff Writer 2 hrs ago

Fallout from the bankruptcy of Welded Construction, the main contractor in two local gas pipeline projects, has ensnared landowners in Berks and Lebanon counties with the threat of liens on their properties.

Lancaster County residents are wondering if they could be next.

Three homeowner couples and the Twin Valley School District near Morgantown, Berks County, were astounded to find legal letters in their mailboxes recently.

The letters were from United Piping Inc., a Minnesota-based subcontractor that says it has not been paid by Welded for work on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East natural gas liquids pipeline that runs through their properties.

United Piping was giving the property owners formal notice of the company’s intent to go to Berks County court within 30 days to file “mechanics liens” on their land….In Lebanon County, meanwhile, Dykon Blasting Corp. — an Oklahoma subcontractor that worked on the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline and says it has not been paid by Welded — has mailed similar legal letters to landowners….He said affected landowners can contact Williams for additional information by e-mail at AtlanticSunrise@Williams.com.

Despicable.

Heinous.

Oh and as this article was first being read by folks, I realized I had a nasty and somewhat menacing comment left on my other post:

GRINCH

This Grinch hails from Lancaster County.  It took about two minutes to find out exactly where he lived and what other nasty bits of business he has posted on the Internet. Also discovered the proximity of local police to them.

So FYI to the Grinch,  I retain all threatening comments. And law enforcement reads this blog on occasion. And not that it is any of his Grinch-y business BUT I actually don’t drive a big gas guzzling SUV.

And all the things that “modern free enterprise” give us does not start with the pipelines because none of it stays here. It’s EXPORT.  They don’t even employ local for the most part, they INPORT from elsewhere.

The other thing is if the pipeline subs are owed money  why aren’t they going to the gas companies for their money versus attacking the homeowners who have had their land stolen and properties devalued BY THE PIPELINE COMPANIES?

So Grinch, you want to be ignorant and threaten and not so subtly suggest I am a communist who should go to Cuba? Rock on with your bigoted self. Like I said, I have zero problem with letting law enforcement know about people who menace.

Now while we are dishing pipelines, let us pause for Adelphia Gateway.  They are a comin’. There are in front of federal regulators and will be in Chester County municipalities like Westtown, East Goshen, West Goshen and East Whiteland and more.

Here is what Vinny Vella from The Philadelphia Inquirer had to say yesterday:
PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com Upper Bucks residents lob pipeline complaints at DEP hearing
by Vinny Vella, Posted: December 5, 2018

On a brisk night in Bucks County, a group of retirees and young families unloaded on state officials their frustrations about natural-gas infrastructure.

“They say this pipeline is for the benefit of Pennsylvanians, but it is not. This line goes to Marcus Hook for export,” said Christine Shelly of West Rockhill Township. “Adelphia is looking to squeeze the last drops of a dying energy source out of the ground, oblivious to the cries of the people, who plead for protection as our air, ground and water become fouled.”…Adelphia Gateway LLC is proposing to convert a hybrid oil/natural gas pipeline to solely pump natural gas from a plant in Northampton County to a refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County. The company, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, bought the 84-mile pipeline from Talen Energy Co. last year for $189 million….

Adelphia did not send any representatives to the hearing, nor was it required to, according to Rebarchak. The company has said it’s working closely with township officials to create a facility that blends into the area “while delivering much-needed natural gas safely to its intended end users.”

During its air-quality review, DEP officials will weigh the residents’ comments — as well as any others submitted in writing before Dec. 14.

People before pipelines. It’s long past due.  There are not any real safety plans in place and how well what is around would work as we saw in a Boston suburb within the past few months because when they blow (the situation in Boston was described by residents as “looking like Armageddon”) , they decimate everything in the explosion’s path. They are shoving these things through school properties, libraries, churches, farmers’ fields, and so on and so forth.

So do not tell any of us expressing valid concerns about these rape and pillage corporate greed projects is being anti-American.  It doesn’t get anymore American than wishing to #DefendWhatYouLove

Thanks for stopping by. #NotOurPipelines

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Photo taken by Chester County Resident and posted to  Uwchlan Safety Coalition.  Notice the child’s play area in someone’s backyard that the pipeline pipes are literally on top of.

not glad tidings in easttown township

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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.

swiss pines november, 2018

I always read about Swiss Pines and the magical gardens before I moved to Chester County but I never realized where it was located until I lived out here a while.

Where it is— where it lies in ruins is along Charlestown Road.

I am really bummed out that I will probably never ever get to see the gardens and that they will probably just continue to rot into oblivion.

I actually wrote about Swiss Pines before. Why it has always interested me was because of the wonderful Japanese woodland gardens.

My personal gardens have so much of a shade garden and woodland garden component to it here in Chester County, that Swiss Pines is exactly the kind of place I would love to explore to learn what they did. Gardens like this are always inspiring.

But I am losing hope that the gardens will ever be restored and re-opened. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. My fear is someday it will all just be bulldozed under for more development.

Today when we drove by, the bamboo seemed larger and more oppressive than usual. (It can get really tricky on Charlestown Road in front of those gardens especially as we go in the winter because something is always falling into the road.)

Even in their state of ruin, the gardens of Swiss Pines still beckon. When you drive by you catch little glimpses of what lies on the other side of the bamboo. Remnants of paths and little footbridges, Japanese garden ornaments. Way overgrown plantings.

I think Swiss Pines is a treasure. Right now, it remains a tantalizing mystery disappearing into the overgrowth.