east whiteland do you know your own history?

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It took years, but I finally located a copy of A Brief History of East Whiteland Township by J. Gilmore Wilson from 1965.  It is a slender volume, but it captures the history of a Chester County municipality that has no town center and to most is a place you drive through.

But East Whiteland has historical significance and as I do not wish to damage the spine of my book, I converted photos I took with my phone into a PDF so people can see it.

East Whiteland is one of those places thanks in part to organizations like the Chester County Planning Commission that people think they can just keep dumping development in.  Someone said to me again last week how King of Prussia was once upon a time farms and open space.  They then compare East and West Whiteland to King of Prussia, as in these municipalities are getting WAY over-developed.

I have said it before that I object to the Chester County Planning Commission being head up by a carpetbagger from Lower Merion Township. He doesn’t live in our county, how much of the history of places like East Whiteland does he know?

East Whiteland is a funny place because as much as it use to be farms, it was also equal parts mines and quarries and industrial.  That of course is why there are some astoundingly toxic areas past and present in East Whiteland Township.

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East Whiteland is home to random historical facts and locations.  For example: Dead Horse Hollow. Yes, a lovely name and according to J. Wilson Gilmore was at one time located south of the then PA Railroad, a quarter-mile east of the township line. As the railroad was being built all dead horses and mules were…well…dumped there. Can you imagine how THAT place stunk to high heaven in warmer weather? Gross.

Or how about Cabbagetown? It was a small community on Summit Road. And Barker’s Corners? That was a little village at the intersection of Swedesford and Church Roads.

Or how about the giant Penn Oak that was said to pre-date colonial settlers on Flat Road? Does it still stand somewhere, or was it cut down or did it die years ago?

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What about the Native Americans who once lived and roamed what is East and West Whiteland? Like the Okohocking which were for a while given a 500 acre reservation somewhere in Willistown Township? Do the residents of East Whiteland know the Indians referred to the area as “The Dark Valley” because of all of the woods? Of course today they would not recognize the area given all of the development.

How many know East and West Whiteland used to be one Whiteland? And they split into two areas circa 1764-1765?

Around 1777 do people realize that George Washington and his army after the Battle of the Brandywine marched into the area and encamped near Malin Hall? To quote Mr. Wilson:

With his troops deployed along this ridge from Three Tuns at the junction of King Road and Goshen Road, and west approximately three miles as far as Ship Road, he was in an excellent position with an army of approximately 11,000 men. During his march up the Valley, quite a number of local farmers joined his ranks.

And residents see reference to the Battle of the Clouds in East Whiteland but do they realize this was a battle which didn’t actually ever happen? Why? Inclement weather, apparently. Mr. Wilson states had the battle occurred, “the British army might well have been routed.”

The history goes on and meanders from schools to Duffy’s Cut to all of the inns and taverns and residents and industry and quarries and farms and early schools and churches.  Did you know the Catholic Church tried several times to build a church in various locations in East Whiteland but were never able to complete the task?  Mr. Wilson also talks about Ebenezer AME whose ruin barely stands today on Bacton Hill Road with its abandoned graveyard with a mobile home park to one side, and new development approved last year to spring up and around it.

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This book is fascinating and this is why I wish more local historical societies had really good websites with archives available online. I can tell you East Whiteland does not. Bits of local history continue to get lost and it would behoove the township to give the historical society more resources or help them build a proper website and archives.

Things in this book Mr. Wilson refers to are a mystery to me.  What were the Speakman apartments, for example?  And the Chester County Academy? Where is it?

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And what of a crazy cool log barn ?

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Or a crazy cool log cabin? “South of Conestoga Road, on Bacton Hill”?

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Or what was known as the “Black Maria” ?

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Now Elinor Janney Detterline also wrote a brief history of East Whiteland for the Tredyffrin Easttown Hostorical Society around 1970. It is available in the online archives they have for the public to use.

But Mr Wilson’s book? To me finding a copy was like finding the holy grail.  It’s fascinating.  And I wish more would take an interest in the history of East Whiteland before everything of historical value disappears. Because if this township doesn’t start to have more interest that extends past people like me and members of the historical society, then what?

Until I got this book I had no clue that they totally celebrated East Whiteland’s Bicentennial.  And then I found related to that, this super cool thing from a page about Frazer on Facebook:

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And East Whiteland had a tagline/slogan before “The Heart of the Great Valley” and it was “Land of Limekiln, Plow and Millwheel”.

Enjoy the book, I think I got it all back into order before I converted to a PDF.  East Whiteland has history.  And it’s not just the modern-day history of groaning under development.

Thanks for stopping by.

on the eve of 2019

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As 2018 draws to a close, what another long, strange trip it’s been.  As is the case with every year, there were beginnings and endings.

This was a year where once again I found mankind in general a wee bit disappointing.  Especially with the political vitriol. From coast to coast, print media to Internet to social media to television, it began always with the swirling inanity / insanity coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

One New Year’s Resolution? Just because he tweets, it doesn’t mean I have to read or listen. And for those of you who don’t like my opinion over the dictatorship in place, well cheerfully and with respect, you can stuff it.  I didn’t vote for him, I have never liked him, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing meets charlatan and circus big top ringmaster.

I was a Republican for most of my life, perhaps when sanity returns I will be once again. Truthfully I think both political parties are screwy right now.  I think Republicans and Democrats need to get back to the business of doing what is best for the entire plurality, not just selective factions.  Our government was founded by the people for and of the people and it feels like a dictatorship meets turf wars.  The anger that fuels this country is sick and twisted, and building a wall ain’t gonna change a thing.

In 2019, you don’t have to like my opinion or anyone else’s but we should be going back to the Founding Father’s and our rights to our own opinions. And respect for that lovely thing called the First Amendment. As a SLAPP suit survivor I know of what I speak, don’t I?

Our rights to expression and freedom of speech and the press are neither selective nor subjective. They are freaking inalienable and if you don’t like what someone says, it’s a big world with lots of opinions. And the right to have opinions. So if you don’t like something, move along, nothing to see here. (And that includes this blog.)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is why I support groups in this country like the Institute for Justice.

And can we talk eminent domain? Eminent domain is a vile thing. 2018 saw the rally to Save Stoneleigh (Natural Lands/Villanova/Former Haas Estate/Amazing) from eminent domain (and I will note I had the first big regional editorial on the topic May 18, 2018 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

Well, we saved Stoneleigh and on Christmas Eve Eve we learned that Scrooge, I mean the Lower Merion School District, has started yet another eminent domain attempt. Is this the third time is the charm for Copeland and Lower Merion School Board and Lower Merion School District? 2017 was the attempt to go after Ashbridge Park, then Stoneleigh, now two other nearby properties that Villanova University was poised to purchase?

newyears0What remains to be seen is if Villanova will take this lying down.  I hope they don’t. I hope Villanova University files suit against Lower Merion School District.  Some may find my opinion surprising, but I think Villanova is a preferable neighbor when compared to Lower Merion School District and they aren’t wasting taxpayer money like the school district does every time they go on their vision quests of arrogance and greed.

Also 2018 saw all sorts of craziness when it comes to the Mariner II pipeline.  Sinkholes, ruined wells, lessened property values, and raping and pillaging of Chester County.  And a Governor of Pennsylvania who doesn’t give a crap but was the lesser of two evils in the twisted mid-term elections of 2018.

Finally, right before Christmas the residents of Chester County received a gift from District Attorney Tom Hogan when he filed criminal charges against Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners/Sunoco Logistics. What will happen now that DA Hogan has done this is of course anyone’s guess, but for 2019 I hope justice prevails.  What has happened since this news broke is residents of Berks County pressuring THEIR District Attorney to follow Tom Hogan’s lead.  Hopefully Berks, Bucks, and Delaware Counties ALL follow Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan’s lead, right?

thisAdelphia Gateway are you listening? If one pipeline is on our District Attorney’s radar, doesn’t it make sense he will keep tabs on all of them?

And speaking of pipelines, there is this thing (see screen shots on left) which floated by my Twitter feed.  So Mariner II/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners are you ok with this? A homeowner essentially being threatened?

How is this O.K.? You bar people from parts of their own properties, and how is this O.K.???

How is any of this O.K.?  We as residents are not benefitting here. What is raped from the land is shipped away from here to places like Scotland to make plastics, so what do we gain? And doesn’t that in fact make the eminent domain takings of land for pipelines more like eminent domain for private gain? And don’t forget about the bullsh*t fake public utility status and how is it politicians all looked the other way for that again?

not ok2018 with the march of the Frankenpipe has done what exactly to benefit us? The workers aren’t even local guys – you can see it when you drive by job sites.  And with all the work stoppages due to issues and fines, how is this pipeline safe? How are any of the pipelines safe?

As we move forward into 2019, we also need to look at Chester County municipalities and development fever.  East Goshen, East Whiteland, West Whiteland, West Goshen, Tredyffrin, Easttown, and finally Caln Township come to mind immediately.  So hey now? Elected officials? Who is it exactly you are representing again? From ginormous digital billboards to overly dense developments residents do not want (and destruction of open space and historic structures), who are all of you collectively working for? Us? Doesn’t feel that way.

newyearsdwarvesAnd elected officials in Harrisburg? Do we need an act of God before you update the Municipalities Planning Code to offer Pennsylvania residents some protections, land and historic preservation?

Personally, it has been an interesting year.  Lots of wonderful gardening and spending time with friends and family.  It has been a year of reconnecting with friends I had not seen in a long time, and also closing the door on some other relationships.  Cleaning house and recognizing who your friends are is not a bad thing.  Introspection is good, and we do not need to be “friends” with everyone on social media.

I have rediscovered how local politics can be a blood sport out here, but can we say one of the roots of the cause can be when folks deal out good old-fashioned shady assed behavior?

I’m no fool, and I have my battle scars from just a few years living here. I’m outspoken and I’m a blogger. I don’t think you’re supposed to be either in the minds of some people. You are simply supposed to be some form of a Stepford wife. Or a bobble head.

d4a9539112f1d85988f92f91aac1ed48--christmas-images-christmas-holidaysI have done my time over the years of being the subject of gossip for being outspoken and a blogger and this whole theory of knives and knitting needles. And I have been the target of behavior that is so incredibly malicious and hurtful directed at me mostly because I was different from the way they were, or even because I just did not like them.

I think adult social bullying is the worst, and I truly think that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it.  Suffice it to say, human beings can be so incredibly cruel to one and other.

I think 2018 will go down in the history books as a year where everyone, everywhere was totally mean to each other. As I have said before, I do believe a lot of this has to do with the stage that has been set in Washington DC. People are so angry from coast to coast, and here in our little corner of the world you see it as well.

fc6e8139e3044880e3a378d28541fe042018 will end with two people still missing whom we have come to know through the people who care about them.   Geoff Partridge of Villanova and Anna Maciejewska Gould of Malvern. Today is #MissingMonday and I hope these people are located.

2018 saw a year where our family lost a beloved pet.  As a matter of fact many dear to me lost pets this year.  The unconditional love and joy they bring us are like nothing else in this world. Remember the pets who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge with a prayer to St. Francis and support local animal rescues.

Although 2018 has been a tumultuous year from coast to coast and locally, it is not without bright spots.  People are good even in the midst of bad.  There are those who offer hope and bright spots when others have disappointed you.  God may close doors, but always look for that window he left open.

573ec8d3396cb6b83fdbbd77c649bad0--ww-posters-ww-propaganda-postersI will tell you honestly I am not a big New Year’s Eve party person and much like St. Patrick’s Day, I would rather be at home.

When I was younger people would look at me funny when I said this. I suffered through many a New Year’s Eve at loud parties that did not suit me.

One of my favorite New Year’s Eves was in the late 1980s.  I was taken to a funny as hell off-Broadway show called Lesbian Vampires of Sodom. Bizarre title and it was (in my opinion) one of the great NYC theater experiences.  I laughed from beginning to end. Pure camp, very funny.

The show was at a small and legendary playhouse in the East Village – the Provincetown Playhouse on McDougal Street. Sadly, after being ruled eligible for preservation status, NYU essentially demolished one the most historic theatres in New York City a while back. The history didn’t matter there, either.

This New Year’s Eve long ago was a New Year’s Eve where some of my girlfriends were seriously pissed at me for leaving the fold and NOT going to a New Year’s Eve party with them.  It was an eventful evening for a few of them that New Year’s Eve. I remember one of my friends met her future husband at the party I blew off for off-Broadway and the East Village of NYC.

But seriously? Usually I am fast asleep waaaayyyy before the ball drops in New York City’s Time’s Square. And at least in my 50s it’s quite alright to stay at home. Even from the Mummers Parade.

I have rambled far long than I intended to today.  My humble apologies, but sometimes the words come pouring out.  I will close by wishing all of you have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve.  Cheers to 2019, and farewell to 2018.

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light a candle for the missing

As 2018 draws to a close, light a candle for the missing. I have lit two bay candles.

One candle is lit for Geoff Partridge of Villanova.

One candle is lit for Anna Maciejewska Gould of Malvern.

They have people who love them and the families deserve the answers they seek. My wish as I lit the candles are for the missing to find their way home.

I know neither of these missing people personally, but this could happen to any family.

Here’s hoping the new year brings answers and the missing do indeed find their way home.

Thanks for stopping by.

the company you keep: gossip and politics

I think I sometimes truly grow weary of the politics of politics and all it entails including gossip….locally. Sometimes I find people that are perfectly nice becoming collateral damage because they are judged quite literally by the company they keep, right or wrong.

Ahh yes, the old adage you are judged by the company you keep. I remember my own mother telling me that when I was a teenager, and I remember scoffing at the idea. Then I remember being in my mid 20s and figuring out exactly what she was talking about and it was one of those a-ha moments that sometimes your mother is right. A friend of mine and I were talking about it recently and they said their mother said to them “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”

(Please don’t tell my mother I said she was right about something LOL, I will never hear the end of it.)

Anyway, this friend came to me to talk about a tsunami of really unpleasant social media. She’s not someone I know real well but I have known for a few years. I met her when she lived elsewhere and I was first out here. She’s been living for the past few years in a place in Chester County where I have a lot of friends. Only I don’t know if her experience has been so friendly all of the time while living there.

This person is fast becoming what I can only describe as collateral damage in a power struggle that she should just be left out of. But it’s kind of hard when you live in a small community. My friend’s opinions are strong, which I respect because I have some pretty strong opinions at times.

My friend is a very loyal person, and she has formed friendships in this community that I would not personally choose for myself, but it’s her decision. And I dance around the subject of these people with her because I don’t think it’s fair for my perspective to influence or taint hers. But if I was going to be dead on honest I would have to say that I hope these people remain good and decent people towards her. I have to admit I don’t know if they are capable of it, but that’s just my opinion, and I hope I am wrong.

This power struggle which exists for very good reasons can be contentious enough at times that it is literally like a battle of the Hatfields and the McCoys. And sadly, the people this person has aligned herself with have indeed hurt other people I care about. They have also come for me on occasion because I have my own opinions on things. But because I don’t live in the middle of all of them, I can be more objective at times and say I just don’t like them.

But this person whom I know, is again, literally being judged by the company she keeps. And I understand why, but it’s Christmas and I just wish everybody would let up a bit.

Chester County is an amazing place to live. Her residents have amazing heart. However, when it comes to politics and local shenanigans, it gets ugly. I have seen it in municipality after municipality. I used to think nothing could get more upsetting than Main Line or Delaware county gossip and politics… Until I moved to Chester County. Local politics can be a bloodsport out here, but can we say one of the roots of the cause can be when folks deal out good old-fashioned shady assed behavior?

I’m no fool, and I have my battle scars from just a few years living here. I’m outspoken and I’m a blogger. I don’t think you’re supposed to be either in the minds of some people. You are simply supposed to be some form of a Stepford wife. Or a bobble head.

I have done my time over the years of being the subject of gossip for being outspoken and a blogger and this whole theory of knives and knitting needles. And I have been the target of behavior that is so incredibly malicious and hurtful directed at me mostly because I was different than they were, or even because I just did not like them.

I think adult social bullying is the worst, and I truly think that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it. Another friend of mine and I were discussing this recently. She lives down on the Main Line and she noted that a child who was sadly very bullying towards classmates in school had parents who exhibited the exact same behavioral patterns towards adults.

Suffice it to say, human beings can be so incredibly cruel to one and other.

I think 2018 will go down in the history books as a year where everyone was totally mean to each other. I think a lot of this has to do with the stage that has been set in Washington DC , truthfully. People are so angry from coast to coast, and here in our little corner of the world you see it as well.

It’s Christmas. And my wish for Christmas as far as this nonsense goes, is a hope it just at takes a cease-fire at a minimum. Just slow your roll and stop being so mean to one and other. And you know what? I’m taking myself to task here as well. I haven’t been as nice this year as I should have been.

Just because someone doesn’t share in your exact ideology and belief system it doesn’t make them a bad person. And yes, even if they are friends with people you can’t stand it doesn’t make them a bad person.

In this life, we are all judged by the company we keep. And we also need to pause and remember we can’t control the actions of others we can only control the actions of ourselves.

Peace on earth, good will towards men, remember?

Thanks for stopping by.

missing at christmastime: geoff partridge from lower merion township

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This is being posted on Facebook and other social media outlets. Geoff Partridge has been missing for days.  His family and friends are frantic.

Geoff Partridge has been missing since about December 5th from what I can piece together.  And the only media that seems interested is Patch, Main Line Media News, and CBS Philly. Truthfully there is NOT much media on this and I can’t help but wonder why?

Geoff Partridge went missing in Lower Merion Township.  Is Lower Merion not excercising all options to locate a missing and potentially endangered person?  There is so little information available it’s kind of odd.

Does Geoff Partirdge have to be a missing teen or woman?  Or will this turn into one of these Lower Merion missing person mysteries? You know like Toni Lee Sharpless??? She went missing once upon a time in Lower Merion, correct? Or what about Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska from Chester County?  How do these people just vanish and it seems up to ordinary citizens to keep the missing persons cases alive?

When I first saw the missing blasts crossing social media I shared because he came from the township I essentially grew up in and spent a lot of my adult life living in.  He also just looked like a nice person. Kind of what motivated me to share about Anna Maciejewska when she first went missing. Life is short and precious and it costs nothing to pay it forward.

Then I read Geoff Partridge suffered from  bi-polar depression and  between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be really, really hard for anyone experiencing depression. It’s hard enough some years for any of us for any number of reasons.   All I kept thinking is his poor family, not realizing at first I actually know his mother as she and I share mutual close friends.

After I first shared the missing post my friends contacted me to say thank you and to tell me I did know his mom.  And as day after day goes by, I can’t help but wonder what is being said off of the record somewhere that this does NOT seem to be getting the media attention it should?

My friends from Gladwyne and many other residents are combing the area near where his car was found every day for hours.  I have friends with boats on the river who live down on River Road and close by who have been searching.  Even Philadelphia Search and Rescue has gotten into the act, so what gives in the Magic Kingdom that it just doesn’t feel like other than friends and neighbors have a sense of urgency?

Here is what TAPinto Lower Merion and Narberth has had to say:

Gladwyne, PA — Cadaver dogs from the Greater Philadelphia Search & Rescue Team joined the Gladwyne Fire Company Water Rescue Unit Sunday, December 9, searching for a missing Villanova, PA man.  The man’s car was found Wednesday at 1:47 PM partially submerged in the Schuylkill River.

Geoff Partridge, 37, of Villanova, PA, went missing on Wednesday, December 5 at around 12:15 pm.

The car was submerged but the rear end of the vehicle was still showing when it was noticed….The LMPD’s working theory is that the man was washed from the vehicle by the fast flowing river’s current after the car plunged into the frigid water.  The water temperature is low enough that a body could be submerged and unless found may not be spotted until the temperature rises in the spring….Roughly 27 persons, 3 dogs, and 5 rescue boats were employed for the search.  The local team from Gladwyne Fire Company used two boats, the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue unit provided 3 boats.  Detective-Sergeant Michael Vice of the Lower Merion Police Department oversaw the entire operation.

Ok seriously. Not trying to be critical of law enforcement but Geoff Partridge is someone’s son and husband and friend and so on.  He matters.  Please pay it forward and share this post or the others on social media.

His family deserves answers.

#GeoffPartridgeismissing

geoff partridge

This was posted by someone I know on Facebook.

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:

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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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going to france for dinner via chester county

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We have this sort of unofficial supper club with some of our Chester County residing Shipley friends. Last night, we were treated to dinner at the home of one of these friends.  We all went to France via Chester County because another guest at the table was renown local chef, (an actual honest to goodness amazing French Chef)  Sylvie Ashby.

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Chef Sylvie 

Chef Sylvie lives in West Chester. She was born and raised in Normandy, France. She always wanted to share the love and passion for French cooking and comfort food the French traditional way by only using seasonal fresh produce and meats from the local markets.

Last evening’s dinner was one of my favorite meals ever.  I grew up on bœuf bourguignon or beef Burgundy or bœuf à la Bourguignonne is not some ordinary stew, as delicious as they may beef.  It is elevated far beyond that and if done properly like last night, the meat does not disintegrate but melts in your mouth. Last night, it was probably hands down the best I have ever had.

We started with hors d’oevres of belgian endive boats piped with a light and fluffy goat cheese, goat cheese toasts, and one of my favorite purely French treats I have never made, gougères!Related image Gougères are these fluffy puffs of warm pastry made with Gruyère cheese.  (Check out this recipe for gougères from Alain Ducasse.)

After our main course of bœuf bourguignon we had a marvelous salad with fresh greens and a delightful vinaigrette with an amazing blood orange infused olive oil from a Taste of Olive in West Chester. And the bread? Amazing as always from La Baguette Magique in West Chester.

The beef and cheese were also locally sourced.  I forget whose goat cheeses we had, and

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Chef Sylvie Courtesy Photo

I do not know the farm name for the beef but for some reason I think it was from down near Landenberg.

And dessert? Channel your inner Julia Child, it was Floating Island! Floating Island is a light as a feather dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise.  The crème anglaise is custardy and delicious.  Chef Sylvie finished the dessert with a light caramel drizzle.

This dinner was a true mini vacation to France.  I love when we get together to have dinner with our friends, and we loved being introduced to Chef Sylvie.

And guess what? You too can hire Chef Sylvie to bring the taste of France to your home for intimate gatherings.  Chef Sylvie specializes in French country cooking, bringing France to the comfort of your own home for private dinner parties.  And her prices are emminently reasonable. She also will cater events like birthday parties, Girls ‘night out, Crepes bar party, Book Clubs, Wine Clubs…her website is cuisinedesylvie.com . You can also find her on Facebook Cuisine de Sylvie.

One thing I did not ask her is if she teaches cooking classes.  I think that would be super fun!

Stay safe in the snow and ice!

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