the hunt for eastlake

My Eastlake table once I got it home! I think it’s beautiful!

I have a DIY antique hunter heroine- Victoria Elizabeth Barnes . I live vicariously through her Victorian home restoration and furniture acquiring and objects d’art acquiring writings. (And if you don’t read her blog you really should, it’s delightful!)

Today I think I channeled my inner Victoria Elizabeth Barnes when I went to pick up an Eastlake table I found.

I have always had a love affair with Eastlake furniture and I finally found something that could fit in my house. I will never have a large Victorian, and sometimes Eastlake furniture can be quite substantial in size.

What is Eastlake? Eastlake was considered a furniture movement:

The Eastlake Movement was an American nineteenth-century architectural and household design reform movement started by architect and writer Charles Eastlake (1836–1906). The movement is generally considered part of the late Victorian period in terms of broad antique furniture designations…
His book Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details posited that furniture and decor in people’s homes should be made by hand or machine workers who took personal pride in their work. Manufacturers in the United States used the drawings and ideas in the book to create mass-produced Eastlake Style or Cottage furniture…

Eastlake furniture can be quite beautiful.

But Eastlake furniture is very still popular today and it is hard to find pieces reasonably priced that are in good shape at the same time. 

So when I saw this table advertised I jumped on it. I was second in line and  I did not think I was going to get it, but the woman ahead of me found it too large for her purposes so it came home with me.

A lot of Eastlake furniture is made of woods like walnut or maple also. It’s not all just heavy oak furniture like a lot of Victorian furniture.

It was a gorgeous day so I set out on my pilgrimage across part of Chester County to pick up my table.   I am not sure that this table was living in Chester County before I bought it, I seem to think it came out of a house in Lancaster County.

My table needs a little TLC but I don’t think I’ll need to refinish it. I will however have to rearrange other furniture in my house to place it.

Of course I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to make it home today or not, because I am somewhat limited by a sedan in as far as how much furniture I can actually place in it.  The person I bought it from and I definitely had some giggles maneuvering it into my car. But it fit! And I drove home with a table in the front seat next to me. 

My new table makes for a great end to the week!

Enjoy the day it’s absolutely gorgeous!

The Eastlake table just fit in the front seat of my car!

ebenzer a.m.e. on bacton hill road is in the news!

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second from left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

For over three years, I felt like a lone voice in the proverbial wilderness. It also felt crazy to me that no one really cared about the ruins of 184 years of history known as Ebenezer A.M.E. and her old souls buried on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, East Whiteland.

But it ends up, people do care, and day by day she is further released from her green prison of weeds, giant poison ivy vines, overgrowth. Every day we see a little more.

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

The tide turned shortly after Kristin Holmes wrote her first article on Ebenezer. This gentleman named Al Terrell told me he was going to get Ebenezer cleaned up.  He will tell you, and I will admit at that point my faith in this happening and being able to keep my promise to Ann Christie that we wouldn’t give up… was waning to say the least.

But Al came along with this remarkable teenager and Eagle Scout from Willistown 78, Luke Phayre.  And little by little, it’s happening.  It is actually happening.

Al is amazing.  He is one of the nicest men I have ever met, and he has this quiet and unassuming determination about him.  He has a deeply rooted faith in God and humankind that has kind of made me have faith again.

And Luke. Luke is an amazing boy, with an equally amazing mom, Kathy.  This boy is hard-working, smart, and articulate.  And yesterday, even as most of his buddies and fellow scouts were off on a camping trip, Luke was at Ebenezer, cleaning up debris.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Luke and happy to meet his mother who is also just one of those people you know from the first introduction are “good people”.

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Yesterday at Ebenezer, I also met a man named Doug.  He grew up in East Whiteland and told me about how he and his friends played in the graveyard and church.  He said when they were kids (60’s and 70’s) there was still the roof and the floor. And even part of the old altar and a couple of pews.  That now gives us a better timeline as to when the roof caved in taking everything and the floor with it. My guesstimate on that is late 1970s or 1980s.

So today, Kristin Holmes has another article in the Inquirer.  I had contacted her after the clean up began and had sent her photos.  I connected her to Al Terrell for a follow-up article.  One of the most remarkable things in the article is a quote from an A.M.E. Bishop who would not respond to me when I contacted him:

Duffy’s son, Luke Phayre, 15, and Terrell researched the property and talked with township officials. They also sought permission for the cleanup from the First District of the A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, and got it. Phayre said he talked to Bishop Gregory Ingram, who sent a letter approving the project and commending Phayre for his initiative.

“I think it’s so noble,” Bishop Ingram said in an interview Friday. “. . . I feel somewhat embarrassed that I haven’t been out there. But I will.

“For anyone to make themselves available to champion a cause like this,” he said, “it shows that in the midst of all the negativity in the world, wonderful things are happening.”


This also means to me that the A.M.E. Church is acknowledging Ebenezer’s existence and importance in history. It also gives me hope and the ability to start to forgive the A.M.E. Church  for not responding, not acknowledging.  A boy with a scout project helped them see what we see. That is what is important. Will I ever forget that men and women of the cloth like Rev. Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler, senior pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia who had an earlier calling in West Chester could never take the time to speak to me when I reached out? Probably not, but that is past and it’s time to look forward.

Bishop Ingram makes a hopeful difference in my mind, so it’s time to forgive them and look forward.

Every time I am at Ebenezer now I get all filled up with tears.  Happy tears that people young and old and in between still care about things like this.  Now I am hopeful she will be preserved and along with her some of the history of the people of Bacton, which was once a very important black community around here.

Meet Luke's mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

Meet Luke’s mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

The people buried in this cemetery bore witness to so much  history.  And they lived it like ordinary people raising their families, working hard towards a better tomorrow.  We owe these people a great debt, I think.

This article which I am about to post is why I do what I do.  And some days it is hard. People love to criticize and castigate from behind their keyboards, semi-anonymous in their vitriol.

This is a strange world we live in where at times you are punished for not essentially being like everyone else, not thinking like everyone else, not being all the exact same homogeneous lump of humanity. And then after a lot of these people criticize they actually go out and mimic what you do, anyway. Imitation is after all, the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that.)

My journey through Chester County thus far has been an amazing one.  And it is home.  So I am happy, so truly happy about Ebenezer.  I have hope for her future and was able to keep my word to a new friend.

Enjoy the article and I will have new photos soon.

Thank you Kristin Holmes for getting it. She is the ONLY reporter from any paper who has taken the time to write about this.

Thank you Al and Luke for your hard work and unwavering faith.

Updated: OCTOBER 16, 2016 — 5:34 AM EDT

loch aerie sold again


Ok it is no secret how much I love Loch Aerie.  I last wrote about her April 21, 2016 when I thought she had sold.

I had wondered what was going on because no one had heard anything.  I saw lights on a few times at night over the summer and the lawn was getting cut.

I had found there two deed related documents on Chester County’s website (see highmount-1 and  highmount-2 ) but that was it.

Well guess what?

As per Vista Today Loch Aerie has sold again.  Apparently they are reporting that the deal fell through and their real estate agent from Berkshire Hathaway Mike Diggin submitted an offer on behalf of Steven and Dana Poirier of Downingtown and it was accepted.

I was able to confirm Vista’s story via, what else? Social Media!



Why yay? I do not know these people but they want to rehab it and have a wedding venue and maybe it sounds like the husband’s office as well.

I remember them from auction day, they were across the room from me.


Anyway, that is all the news fit to print on 700 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, PA.

Tip of the hat to Vista for getting the scoop. I enjoyed my brief stint writing for them, I just couldn’t do it for free so  that writing experience was unfortunately short lived.

I see this as positive news for Loch Aerie.  I look forward to their opening day.

Selfishly I hope the consider Frens & Frens out of West Chester for an architecture firm – they are the ones who restored Beechwood House in Bryn Mawr.  I was on the Committee to Save Beechwood years ago – it is how I fell in love with Addison Hutton houses.

I will close with a  video done on Beechwood for the restoration so people can se a modern adaptive reuse of an old mansion/home can work!

community love for ebenezer grows

Al Terrell photo

Al Terrell photo taken October 11, 2016

Today while Al Terrell was on site at Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, a couple of things that are so delightful occurred. People came to visit.

Not people with family buried there, but just people coming to visit Ebenezer and East Whiteland’s amazing history!

First, a  family stopped by Ebenezer to take pictures this afternoon and spoke with Al Terrell . Unbelievable. Their Girl Scout Troop wants to volunteer to help. Al is getting their information.

Then a woman and her daughter stopped by to take photos.  Al said the lady was a photographer.

Can I just say how awesome it is?

After a few years feeling like the voice in the proverbial wilderness, all these people are taking an interest.

God is good. Don’t know what else to say ❤️  My heart is so happy right now that people obviously DO care about Ebenezer.

A photographer and her daughter stop to visit Ebenezer today October 11, 2016.  Al Terrell photo

A photographer and her daughter stop to visit Ebenezer today October 11, 2016. Al Terrell photo

(For my years of writing about my journey with trying to get help and recognition about Ebenezer click here and here and here .)

Every day seems to bring good news.   The only thing I will say is to caution people to not go climbing in the church ruin itself and to be careful.  That is 184 years of history in there, and way before most of our time, the roof of Ebenezer collapsed through to the stone pier foundations.  We want to preserve that, but it is NOT safe at this point for people to do anything other than view the church ruin from the outside.

Ann Christie are you watching? Chris and I promised you we would get Ebenezer help. It is happening.  All these wonderful people are coming forward.  I wish you were here to see her emerge from her green prison of overgrowth, but I would like to think you are watching like an angel over Ebenezer.

Ann was a brilliant poet as well as a fervent champion of Ebenezer.  I think I will finish with one of her poems:

Already the Heart

The spinal cord blossoms
like bright, bruised magnolia
into the brainstem.
And already the heart
in its depth — who could assail it?
Bathed in my voice, all branching
and dreaming. The flowering
and fading — said the poet —
come to us both at once.
Here is your best self,
and the least, two sparrows
alight in the one tree
of your body.

A.V. Christie / The Housing

saddle up for crebilly, chester county


Photo Courtesy of Chadds Ford Live and Kathleen Brady Shea “With the expanse of Crebilly Farm ahead of her, Mindy Worth Rhodes rides on Dunvegan Road in Westtown Township. Her goal is to raise awareness about Toll Brothers’ subdivision plan for the 330-acre property.” (Photo edited by me to achieve this cool effect)

Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Kathleen Brady Shea’s photo in her article today did that for me. She seems to be the sole member of the media who cares about the fate of Crebilly Farm.  I find it disturbing that I have not seen anything anywhere else as a matter of fact.

This article is about a woman whom I do not know but wish I did, because she sounds marvelous. Her name is Mindy Worth Rhodes, she is now a resident of  the historic village of Trimbleville in West Bradford Township, grew up in Westtown on General Howe Drive. She is a life-long equestrian and growing up she rode through Westtown neighborhoods to be able to ride on Crebilly.

So on Sunday, like the Pony Express rides again or Paul Revere, she saddled up her horse and distributed flyers about saving Crebilly.

How cool and appropriate is that?  To do it on horseback!

I am thrilled other people are stepping in and stepping up the game to Save Crebilly, or at least part of it.  Community matters and so does coming together on this issue.

As a friend said to me today:

The more letters and emails that go to ANY public officials, including the county commissioners, the better….. Here’s what I know about the previous apartment building: It would have conserved 90 percent of the tract. That is why some, including the supervisors, supported it. Members of the public hated the concept and came out in droves to defeat it;


Here is an excerpt of today’s article:

Saddling up support for Crebilly preservation


I can’t pretend to understand the heirs to and most of the current residents of Crebilly, one of whom resides in New Mexico.  But the person we see mentioned the most when it comes to Crebilly is David Robinson. I do not know what drives Mr. Robinson.  Wish I did. I guess I do not and will never understand how a significantly affluent and influential family can sell to a Toll Brothers?  I get wanting to divest themselves of some of the land because it is an awesome responsibility, but how do you inherit something like Crebilly and not want to preserve it for future generations?

How do you not value the legacy that was dropped in your lap because you were related to certain people? Is it the whole having to work for it versus inherit it? How can you sell to Toll and live in your same homes and watch hundreds of plastic boxes grow up like demented plastic corn around you? Does the man have an overwhelming desire to be the Squire of his very own plastic Toll Village? And since the family has avoided telling anyone anything, no one knows besides the obvious objective of financial motivation and gain what is going on, right?

Now, onto other things. First,  I thought I would mention in addition to my Save Crebilly Farm Page on Facebook, there is now a Neighbors for Crebilly Page on Facebook.  I know the people who started that page a little bit, one is a residential realtor in Chester County and her significant other who is a businessman  is no stranger to conservation and land deals. They are what a friend of mine would term simply as “good people”.  So that being said, while they are not neighbors in close proximity to Crebilly anymore than I am, they are smart people whose heart is with Crebilly….you can’t go wrong with that now, can you? Maybe give their page a like too please?

So while I am on the topic of neighbors, I know people in Westtown Township are upset about Crebilly, but they are not going to Westtown Meetings to discuss it with their Supervisors.  Supervisors might be local politicians, but they are also human beings and not clairvoyant.  People with actual standing, who live in Westtown, need to speak up now before it is too late to have a voice, any voice in the eventual outcome. And whomever started the latest petition should probably come forward as I assume they wish to present their petition to Westtown?

I get the need to have anonymity when voicing opinions on certain local topics, but whomever you are, you inspired me and others to raise our collective voices regarding Crebilly with your simple message to go with your petition:

Help join the cause to save Crebilly Farm, a prized open landscape that represents Chester County’s unique history and natural beauty. There are currently plans installed by real estate company Toll Brothers to develop the Crebilly property. If you oppose these plans, please show your support. Together we can preserve Chester County’s historical significance and natural integrity that are central to our community’s identity. Let’s keep our home an enjoyable place to live in.

Here are some of the comments left by petition signers:

1-more another-1 family history memories more regrets

I hope someone hears their pleas. Eloquent and simple.

I hope Westtown residents express themselves soon so their township hears from the residents in time.

I hope people from ALL over Chester County bombard the Chester County Commisisoners with phone calls, e-mails and letters over Crebilly and the state of development in Chester County in general.  It would be nice for example if they could tell us the taxpayers and residents of Chester County why it is that our county planning is headed up by a hired gun who does not even live in Chester County? Why is the Chester County Planning Commission led by Brian O’Leary who lives in super pro-development Lower Merion Township, used to be on their planning commission and accomplished nothing really to combat over development and sprawl during his tenure in Montgomery County? Why does a pro-development Auslander the best choice? Are there no qualified planners who reside in Chester County? Really?

Other Crebilly posts:

before crebilly gets developed westtown, let’s talk traffic

is it possible to STOP toll brothers from destroying crebilly farm in westtown? sadly, probably not.

a love note to the chester county planning commission

Oh and one last thing. In order for Chester County Planning Commission to be as confusing as humanly possible they have split the survey they recently sent out into different sections. You can now take a survey on just certain sections like Preservation or Agriculture, for example.

I will note their original survey seems to be not load right (maybe it’s just me, not sure and it could be Survey Monkey which gets hung up if some thing is busy), so   FOLLOW THIS LINK. It will lead you to the split up sections page.

Carpe diem folks! Once places like Crebilly are gone, they are never coming back.  It is up to us collectively to step up and demand better.  Historic preservation, equine and agricultural preservation, meaningful open space preservation.

I would like to think when it comes to Crebilly, the ghosts of American Revolutionary War Soldiers would want us to speak up don’t you?  They died to keep our land free from invaders, right?

Thanks for stopping by.


the last ring home

I am constantly in awe of what some of my childhood friends have accomplished. A book arrived today, have started it and I am hooked.

It is called The Last Ring Home.

It is amazing and emotional and so darn well written.  This book, written by my friend Minter Dial is simply blowing me away.  It is a very personal greatest generation story, the story of his paternal grandfather. Bravo, Minter.

Allow me to quote from the book and documentary’s website:

The Last Ring Home is the story of Lt Minter Dial’s Annapolis Naval Academy ring, that miraculously made its way home 17 years after he was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII. The Last Ring Home is a tribute to Lt Dial, the producer’s grandfather, and all members of the Greatest Generation. It is also a journey of self-discovery, having an impact on the filmmaker, his wider family and many other people in its wake. This story, which took over 25 years of research, illustrates the importance of serendipity and the role of good and bad luck in piecing together a personal history of someone who died 70 years ago.The Last Ring Home is to inspire everyone to uncover their own personal history, to keep a foot in their past and the other in the future, and to be thankful for the tremendous present in which we live, thanks to the sacrifices of the those who fought in WWII.

I can’t wait to see the documentary premiere at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in November.

14572226_1307359442610337_1560703277793001576_nNow this story was  featured in Smithsonian Magazine in 2011:

Minter’s Ring: The Story of One World War II POW

When excavators in Inchon, Korea discovered a U.S. naval officer’s ring, they had no knowledge of the pain and suffering associated with its former owner, Minter Dial
August 2, 2011

In the spring of 1962, the United States Navy was excavating a site in Inchon, Korea, when the discovery of human remains led officers to believe they had come across the site of a prisoner-of-war camp. More than a decade earlier, during the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur commanded some 75,000 United Nations ground forces and more than 250 ships into the Battle of Inchon—a surprise assault that led, just two weeks later, to the recapture of Seoul from the North Korean People’s Army. But the 1962 Inchon excavation led to an unexpected find….the vehicle was speeding through the crowded streets of Inchon as the two men visited one pawnshop after another until they found the guilty laborer. The ring was in the process of being smelted. The admiral demanded that it be recovered. It had been partially melted down, but once it cooled and he was able to wipe away the grime, Pressey recognized that it was indeed an Annapolis class ring. Class of 1932. Pressey had been at the U.S. Naval Academy at the same time. His heart began to pound as he tilted the blue stone ring toward the light. Engraved on the inside was a name he knew: Dial.

Nathaniel Minter Dial had been one of Pressey’s best friends at Annapolis. They were teammates on the lacrosse squad, and Pressey and his wife had been members of the wedding party when Dial married his longtime sweetheart, Lisa Porter, in 1934. Pressey had just one thought—to get the ring back to Lisa.

Memories and sadness came flooding over the 51-year-old admiral. Minter Dial, the son of U.S. Senator Nathaniel B. Dial of South Carolina, was the quintessential all-American boy. He was affable, educated, terrifically athletic and married to a beautiful young woman who had given up her theatrical ambitions to start a home and raise a family. He was going places, and in the summer of 1941, he headed for the Pacific.

I have not finished the book yet.  I think I am going to need a box of tissues to get through it.

You can purchase the book on :

I purchased my copy on a pre-release via Amazon.

I have friends in Charleston, South Carolina, and I hope they see the documentary film at the upcoming  Charleston International Film Festival, November 2-6, 2016.

After that, the film is coming to the Philadelphia area, to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute for a screening in advance of it’s PBS small screen debut.

This will be an exclusive screening of the The Last Ring Home, presented by the filmmaker and author of the eponymous book. The event will consist of the screening, a talk and a Q&A, plus book signing.

Tue, November 8, 2016 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Buy your tickets on Eventbrite for $18 adults and $6 students.

This really is something quite extraordinary.

And yes, the screening is election day. So what. You will be out by nine as the returns start to come in and you will miss two hours of the ugliest campaign season in American History, for something worthwhile.  Actual American History about a member of the Greatest Generation.  A true American Hero.


progress at ebenezer 

Al Terrell photo

Look…that is Ebenzer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, yesterday.

Now look at this photo from when they were first starting. This photo is Al and Luke the Willistown scout doing his Eagle Scout project when they started this journey (and the way it was when we took the Philadelphia Inquirer out to the site this summer):

Al Terrell photo

And even better is this next photo.  It is Al’s son Andrew showing Luke the Eagle Scout project he did at Ebenezer 16 years ago!!! How cool is that? 

Al Terrell photo

It got me to thinking. Not only of the generations of the same family interested in preserving Ebenezer for future generations, but how many scouts have actually done service projects here?

It is so obvious the love so many have had for this site. And every day we see more progress.  This is what community is about, people.  From East Whiteland’s township building to the local Boy Scouts from multiple troops over the years, to all the others interested in Ebenezer in the past and present, this is the good community can do simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Here is hoping the AME Church is watching. And anyone else wondering about trying to save history wherever they live.

This is awesome.

Al Terrell photo. This is our soldier , Joshua