Today social media groups on the Main Line are all abuzz about a particular development plan. It is proposed for Bryn Mawr. I think it’s awful.
It is the same developer apparently as the “Berwyn Square” that Eastown just said no to. Which was truly remarkable because Eastown never says no to anything.
I didn’t just connect the dots to all these development plans, Savvy Main Line did it for us (CLICK HERE FOR SAVVY)
Too. Damn. Much. Development.
The Bryn Mawr plan is shocking. Having grown up on the Main Line, and especially because where I went to high school was Shipley which is in Bryn Mawr, I spent a lot of years in Bryn Mawr. And I can tell you a great deal of the wonderful “village” feel disappeared when Bryn Mawr Hospital supersized. But a plan like this? I think it would kill what is left of the small town Main Street kind of vibe.
Obviously I no longer live in Lower Merion so even though I sent the commissioner for the ward that contains Bryn Mawr an email, I know my opinion doesn’t matter, I just gave it anyway. I figure he owes it to me to listen since way back when he wanted to become a commissioner in the first place a group I was part of helped him get elected.
The other reality of this plan and if you look at the last screenshot in this post it shows a rendering of sorts, and it also totally doesn’t show you what that Lancaster Ave (Route 30) intersection in Bryn Mawr is really like. It is an extraordinarily busy and accident prone intersection. It’s where Morris Avenue ends and Bryn Mawr Ave. begins. It’s where Ludington library is, the main and original branch of Bryn Mawr Trust Company is there. It’s where the train station is and a block or so from where the hospital begins.
The above photo was taken in 2007. One of the many accidents at this intersection. This particular accident I believe resulted in the fatality of the driver in the car in front of the bus. I also had another friend who was hit pushing her babies across the street in a stroller on a pedestrian walk signal at this corner. At that time, there was an NBC10 report on that accident.
No one is going to say that the building currently on the corner where they are proposing to put this apartment development is attractive. It’s never been attractive. But every development that is proposed is overly dense no matter where you live and whichever township or county you call home.
The above photo is a development in progress in Downingtown. Another massive development. And none of these developments are particularly distinguishable from each other. Which is why I find great humor in the “brynmawr square“ and “Berwyn Square” development proposals
Above you see the development often discussed in East Whiteland. I don’t understand how the people who are paid to do the planning for these townships as well as elected officials have no vision.
At the end of the day this is why we desperately need to update the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This amount of development is not sustainable. And I will never believe the emperor’s new clothes fairytale that it is.
It’s very sad that it has come to this, but pick the township, town, and county and there’s always a bad development plan or several bad development plans. We are the ones that live in these communities and it’s time for elected officials to start listening to us.
I went all the way up to the top of the house to the cupola and the widow’s walk, and down to the somewhat creepy root cellar. It is truly an amazing house and considering all the abuse it is taken over the past few decades, it is in remarkably decent shape.
I took hundreds of photos and also talked to people going through. Some were local people who read this blog and had seen me discuss the mansion, also a lot of regular people who like myself just always wanted to see the inside, and quite a few people that actually seemed interested in preserving the mansion. There were also developers and developer representatives and lots and lots of contractors.
I met a woman from far away with a big family that includes a lot of adopted children and grandchildren who is looking for a place to call home.
I also met a guy who grew up near the mansion and told me stories of when he and his siblings were little. He told me how they saw the bikers drive up to the house when they were squatting in the mansion in the 1970s I think it was. He also said that the bikers would ride their motorcycles up the front steps and up the staircase. And that kind of makes sense because there are marks and some of the floors upstairs that look like tires. He also told me of when the bikers had left and the kids in East Whiteland used to use the pool tables and pinball machines that were on the first floor.
Another lady wrote to me and said:
As a young boy my father, now deceased, worked making sandwiches at the Lockwood Mansion. Two elderly sisters employed my father. One of their relatives, Leaugeay, helped my father make sandwiches which were taken to the train station nearby for the soldiers. As the years gone by, my father married and named my sister, Leaugeay as a namesake of a family who helped dad. Growing up on Morstein as a young girl our large clan passed by the mansion many a Sunday on our visits to other family members. Really hate seeing another landmark in Chester County being replaced by commercial buildings. WHAT is going to be left for OUR GRANDCHILDREN to visualize HISTORICAL LANDMARKS……..What a shame that opportunity and money pass over our History.
I was amazed at how few people actually knew any of the history of the house they were just drawn to it. It really is a landmark. And an emotional pull back to the area for others.
Someone from East Whiteland Historical Commission was there. A woman whose name escapes me. I don’t think she was particularly thrilled to meet her friendly neighborhood Chester County blogger, and I’m sorry for that but I am not sorry for my opinions necessarily. She said they were meeting next week, but to what end? Do they have a preservation buyer with deep pockets to bid on Loch Aerie come April 21st? When I asked her about Linden Hall, she assured me it would be preserved but that old porches not historically authentic would be torn off. I told her Linden Hall already looked like demolition by neglect, but she assured me I am wrong so we shall see. I hope I am wrong.
If this beloved mansion Loch Aerie can find the right buyer future generations will be talking about her in years to come.
Here is an article from 2010 about Addison Hutton:
What a perfect fit for a historic architect: designing the building for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust St. in Philadelphia in 1902.
Known by many as the Quaker architect, Addison Hutton was a popular and prolific professional who designed palaces on the Main Line and in surrounding communities, and grand college buildings on campuses including Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore colleges and Lehigh University, as well as adding his talents to the designs of courthouses, museums, libraries and religious institutions.
Many of his most famous Main Line mansions have served double purposes. The Waverly Heights home of a railroad executive is now an upscale retirement community in Gladwyne. Ballytore in Wynnewood first served as a home to the co-founder of the Strawbridge & Clothier department store, then lived its second life as the home of a private school and is now in its third life as an Armenian church.
Hutton also used his talents for designing religious sites. In 1872 he designed the rectory for the Church of the Redeemer on Pennswood Road in Bryn Mawr. The original portion of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood was built in 1871 with Hutton and fellow architect Samuel Sloan designing the building where the preparatory college and theology divisions were joined in September 1871….
The Main Line Times article is quite long and well worth reading in it’s entirety.
Addison Hutton is a favorite architect of mine and his work can also be seen in Bryn Mawr on Shipley’s campus – the landmark mansion known as Beechwood. I know that Addison Hutton mansions can be saved and repurposed as adaptive reuses because I was on the Committee to Save Beechwood. And while Shipley basks in all the glory of this successful old house rescue, it was a committee independent from the school who save it, not the school. The headmaster (who is still there today) wanted to tear Beechwood down for a parking lot or a pool (I forget which.) Here is an article from when it began (the renovation was complete around 2002):
That’s the word from the Shipley School, which recently relented on its controversial plan to demolish a 19th-century building on its campus after a prolonged battle with local historic preservationists.
Yesterday, the school welcomed several architectural firms into the aging Beechwood House and asked them to pitch their best ideas for how to renovate its rooms for school use.
However, the school did not ask the architects to pitch their bills for the work to Shipley’s accountants. Someone else will be paying for the renovations.
As agreed in negotiations with the school, a group of Shipley alumni, preservationists and others who want to save the building have the job of raising the necessary money – possibly as much as $1 million – by Jan. 1, 2001. If they fail, Shipley reserves the right to tear Beechwood down.
But if the group can leap that hurdle, school officials are ready to make good use of the old building.
Frens and Frens were the Philadelphia architecture firm which did the restoration of Beechwood. They won numerous awards as a result. Another Addison Hutton home, also in Bryn Mawr on the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue is another more recent and successful adaptive reuse. It was restored and converted to a handful of luxury condominiums.
The estate was formerly a Welsh tract of 500 acres, and the title deeds say it vas held on a lease from W. Penn to Peter Young and from Peter Young to Hugh Roberts , of
whom President George 3. Roberts of the Penna. PR, is a lineal descendant. The tract has been subdivided and has been in the possession of General Persifor Frazer
of the Revolution and also of the family of ?. Frazer Smith. The purchase of the estate was made by Elon Dunbar, Mr. W. 2. Lockwood’s step-father, from estate of
William Harmer, in I8U9, and Mr. Lockwood from Mr. Dunbar in April 1863. When Mr. Dunbar purchased there was 113 acres. Mr. Lockwood has been making purchases
adjoining the original tract at different times and from 136 acres it has increased to 680 acres.
And it had quite the famous landscape architect:
Loch Aerie was designed by architect Addison Hutton in
1865 for William E. Lockwood, who made his fortune manufacturing
paper collars and folding boxes, and lost much of it promoting local railroads. The house remains with few changes. The fine landscape was designed by landscape architect Charles P. Miller.
Mr. Lockwood began to pay some attention to live stock in i868,when he purchased tventy five head of Ayrshires, but about that time he was elected president of the Union Paper
Collar Co. and had to reside in Sew York for ten years. He was thus forced to relinguish the raising of stock, but he secured the services of competent farmers who
attended to what stock he required for domestic purposes. Mr. Lockwood intends to divide his tract into three small farms, consisting of the property south of the
Penna RR and will include twelve acres of woodland,, which will be kept to preserve thewater supply. Pour hundred acres north of the Penna RR will be retained as the
homestead farms of two hundred acres each. On the western most tract is St. Pauls Episcopal Church erected in 1828 by the Rev. Dr. Levi Bull and which was improved in
1874 at an expense of $8000. A fine parsonage will be erected during the coming summer.
And these last excerpts:
2. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1877
Wm. E. Lockwood, of Glenlock, has a telephone in his house also one in the P.R.R. tower so that in case of invasion of his domicile by burglars or tramps he can call the P.R.R. hands to his assistance. The Railroad Company also keep a police car on the siding there to lock up all loafers and tramps found in the vicinity. Mr. Lockwood also has a very complete “burglar. alarm»”which connects with every door and window in his house, and borrows his neighbors “bull dogs” for outside alarm at night. Also he has a formidable array of repeating revolving and breech-loading pistols and rifles and we understand he thinks of adding a gattling gun and jackass howitzer, and yet he retires to his little bed very uneasy as to his safety during the night.
We should think the tramp would give his place a wide berth in their travels but through his influence they are gobbled up at the rate of a dozen per night in and
3. “Daily Local News,” West Chester, Pennsylvania, May 1, 1936
One of the most interesting houses in the Chester Valley is that of the late William E. Lockwood, at Glen Loch. It was built in the year 1865, with its towers and bull’s-eye windows. William A. Stephenson, late of West Bernard street, West Chester, was the boss stone mason, and the walls were well built. The architect was Addison Hutton, who, five years later, designed the first building for what is now State Teachers College. Mr. Hutton, as the story goes, was on his way to Glen Loch in response to a summons from Mr. Lockwood to consult with him in regard to the plans, when he was told that Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, had been shot.
All the people were so shocked and horrified that there was no talk about house plans that day, and the dwelling was not erected until some months later. One of the art
treasures in the home today is a painting of George Washington on horseback – a handsome piece of work which once was loaned to the late John Wanamaker, long ago, to be exhibited in his Market street window.
People, we need to save the grande dame. #ThisPlaceMatters and she needs a preservation/adaptive reuse buyer. Not just some developer who wants the other 4 acre parcel that goes with the house and the 2 acres it sits on. Loch Aerie has so much potential still. I can totally see a boutique hotel with a marvelous little restaurant on the first floor.
I am not getting into some protracted discussion about property rights, what this demolition has done is leave a lasting impression on me regarding historic preservation in Pennsylvania.
Historic preservation in Pennsylvania remain a lofty ideal, but is seldom a true reality. So when you hear on rare occasions that you might not like what a developer is doing, but they are saving and preserving a historic structure on a property they bought? Well that my friends is huge and doesn’t happen very often. See ( Linden Hall post July 24 and Farmhouse Post on July 27 and Adaptive Reuse from April 2013 )
I watched and documented the last sad few months of La Ronda, and to me it is a glaring reminder of what lip service preservation is. In 2009, Lower Merion Township Commissioners (including the current Board President Liz Rogan) did much beating of the collective breast and waxed long and poetically on how they were going to do things differently and how they were going to preserve historic assets.
Also facing an uncertain future is the historic Odd Fellows Hall and property and United Methodist Church and property in Gladwyne. People have said for decades that there are Revolutionary War soldiers buried there. Famous Phillie Rich Asburn is buried there and heck some of my friends have all their family buried there. So Odd Fellows is in limbo. What is historic will survive if the developers who are the owners, Main Line Realty Partners, do the proper preservation. They can do the right thing if they want to. They have in the past and truthfully the partners in these projects have done beautiful work. Last I heard that Odd Fellows plan was tabled, but these same developers have now purchased another church, First Baptist in Ardmore. They also bought the United Methodist Church in Narberth Now the developers are calling themselves Main Line rebuild.
But like I said, adaptive reuse and historic preservation by developers are the exception rather than the rule.
I do not know a lot of the preservation groups throughout Chester County as I have not lived here that many years yet . I love the Chester County Historical Society and they have lots of neat stuff in their headquarters in downtown West Chester and they do fun things like walking tours.
VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) – A 32-year-old mother faces drunk driving and child endangerment charges after police say she plowed into the rear of a car Thursday night in Villanova, causing a chain-reaction crash. Officers found her 5-year-old son in the backseat.
Only CBS3 cameras were there as Linde was taken to Montgomery County Prison in lieu of $7,500 bail. …According to an arrest warrant, an officer “asked Linde if she had been drinking and she stated, ‘Well,ya.’ Then, according to the warrant, when asked to submit to a field sobriety test, she responded by “stating she was ‘smashed’ and that she in no way should be operating a motor vehicle.”
One other driver in the crash was treated for injuries. Linde’s 5-year-old son was not hurt, but police say he was not restrained in a booster….
Court records show Linde pleaded guilty to drunk driving and causing a serious injury crash following a 2007 accident.
Linde is the third mother charged with driving drunk and crashing her vehicle with her child in the backseat in the past four months in Lower Merion.
When I commented before on this topic I said that I feared an epidemic of these DUI mommies was brewing.
I will ask some of the same questions I asked before:
What has gone wrong here? How do families not know if someone is having issues? Do that many people really in this day and age routinely drive around comfortably numb? And who exactly let her get behind the wheel of a car? Who lets an intoxicated young mother get behind the wheel of a car with a child in the back seat?
This woman Karin Linde is a repeat offender. With these new charges (see Linde 2013 ) she went to jail. They reported that her husband has the child. Thank goodness, I guess. Except if she is a repeat offender, how is it she is allowed to drive anyone around, let alone drive herself?
I will say it again that to me this is an alarming issue. And with now multiple incidents (different women) to hit the news a couple of months apart , I will state again that I truly see this as an issue.
But if we are honest, by varying degrees this is not a new issue. It’s just not one discussed in public as much as whispered down the lane.
Once again, I want to try to show these women compassion. But if I am brutally honest, with this one I am having a hard time doing so. Why? Because this woman seems to have “oops, done it again” and wow, when do you stop? When does the being a mother gene kick in?
Alcoholism is an awful disease. I have friends who have been “in the program” for years. Including now not so young moms. Some have been successful working their programs, others not so much.
When I wrote my last post in November on this sad topic I didn’t just catch hell from mommy bloggers who did not like me writing about this or mentioning these women by name (even if the media and law enforcement already “outed” them by name and location), I received a lot of off-line feedback from women who had experienced issues with alcohol and/or had been a child of one or more alcoholic parents. They thanked me for talking about it. And shared some heart wrenching stories of their own. I won’t betray those confidences, but I applaud them for being brave and dealing with it.
Some people with alcohol issues never hit the bottom to stop, some do. They have to want it. You have to want to get better.
Tonight, nineteen days before Christmas a young mother from the Main Line sits in jail unable to post bail. Somewhere, someone is undoubtedly trying to help her 5-year-old make sense of all of it. Can you imagine being that child? Accident, noise, mahem, sirens….mom being taken away in the back of a police car.
My heart aches for the children of these people. The littlest and almost silent victims.
And no parent wants to judge another parent, but my word this is hard to wrap my head around. I guess at the end of the day I don’t get how you put the alcohol first, child last.
Here is hoping something good happens for this latest DUI mommy. But I am sorry, this one seems like more of a train wreck, given past acts.
She could have killed quite a few people including herself and her child.
No winners here. This young woman, now pregnant with another child has been sentenced to prison for the death she caused with the accident. This is in published media reports, so it is public knowledge. I hope this woman can get through this. I still feel the same about her prior behavior, but there are no winners in this case. At least this time family members could be seen with her.
Meredith Williams-Earle (in black and pink dress) leaving courtroom with her husband, Timothy Earle (left), and her attorney Christian Hoey. (Laura McCrystal/Staff)
On the morning of Aug. 6, 2013, the Lower Merion mother took a prescription sedative, swigged champagne, and filled a plastic cup with whiskey as she headed out the door.
Then she strapped her 2-year-old son into his loosely fastened car seat in the back of her Toyota Prius and set out to drive him to day care. At Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Williams-Earle sped through a stop sign and slammed into a flower delivery van.
Its 72-year-old driver died at the scene.
Now pregnant with her third child, Williams-Earle, 32, sat sobbing Tuesday in Montgomery County Court, apologizing and pleading for mercy…Judge William R. Carpenter said the death of Winston Staats could not be overlooked. Turning aside her requests to be free before her baby is born, he sentenced Williams-Earle to nine to 23 months.
The sentence brought to an end a tragic case that even perplexed the jury….The jury convicted her of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment – including endangering her own child…..and deadlocked on vehicular homicide. By pleading guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, she avoided a retrial.
When Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who lives in Bryn Mawr near Historic Harriton House, got into her car on August 6th, she was above the legal limit for alcohol and had Ativan (Lorazepam) in her system. Not only that, but she had one of her children in the car.
What happened next, no one except her would know for sure, but media reports (based upon police reports) indicate she blew threw a stop sign at Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue and struck and killed an older man in a delivery van. Main Line Media News reported she was going 42 miles per hour.
I know where those roads meet quite well. I worked in one of the Tower Bridge Buildings in Conshohocken for a decade and that is how I traveled back and forth. I remember hearing about the accident on KYW News Radio in my car when I was buzzing around on August 6th and thinking “wow that sounds like it could be bad.” You see, initial radio reports were in the form of a traffic advisory, no mention of anything other than something like it being called a serious accident.
I was also saddened to learn that not only was this 30 year old mother a teacher, but a graduate of my alma mater The Shipley School as well (and no I have no clue who she is, and I do not believe she was even born when I graduated high school). So bright, a mom, lived in a nice area, so what went wrong? Because something did.
I am asking because the media has been floating photos of her out on the Internet and well, there seems to have been a metamorphosis. She went from being a pretty co-ed at UPenn and pretty young teacher to the mug shot above. You don’t travel from point A to point C without a point B. (And I am sure some reader somewhere will roll up and give me grief about writing about this, unfortunately.)
Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who grew up in Bryn Mawr, was trembling as she sat next to her lawyers at a preliminary hearing Thursday related to an accident that took the life of a 72-year-old flower shop delivery driver.
Williams-Earle, 30, who teaches at Interboro High School, was driving a Toyota Prius with her 2-year-old son in a car seat when she allegedly ran a stop sign and struck a van at 10:28 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the corner of Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office……..Officers spoke to Williams-Earle at the scene and smelled alcohol. Her eyes were glassy and her speech slightly slurred, police said…..Later…Williams-Earle allegedly admitted to Officer John Kuvik that she had taken Ativan the night before and felt dizzy that morning, according to the criminal complaint. …..a friend told her that alcohol reverses the effect of that sedative so she had drunk some leftover Champagne, the complaint said….defense lawyer Joseph Hylan argued that his client had lived in Lower Merion her entire life, was a graduate of The Shipley School….She lives with her husband, mother and two young children, on the 700 block of Harriton Rd.
Ativan and champagne are a heck of a combination. And the drug is prescribed for anxiety, correct? So I have to ask in the pill happy nation in which we live, who was monitoring this young mom and for what? What she one of the millions of women detrimentally affected by depression after having children? Was something going on regarding the home front? This is a woman who doesn’t appear to have had many brushes with the law so to speak (although I did find record of a speeding ticket in Radnor Township in 2011.)
Also something that bothers me is she did the “perp walk” caught on camera alone.
Where is her familial support? Wouldn’t you think a young mom like this would have had either her husband or mother there? A friend? A grandparent, aunt, uncle, someone? The media reports that she grew up in Bryn Mawr and lives in that house currently with her husband, mother, and little kids.
A Delaware County teacher is charged in a drunk driving crash that killed a 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran.
Meredith Williams-Earle, who teaches at the Interboro School District, was charged today with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person.
My initial reaction was to write a much more harsh post. I have a huge problem with drinking and driving. There are just too many tragedies.
But as I have read and seen the media coverage and read the comments left by people on websites with articles on this, the conclusion I come to in my opinion, is this is a woman in crisis. And these charges she is facing unless a county judge grants leniency is up to 3 years in jail.
My instincts (and I do not know her or even of her), is this is a person who would not survive jail. And what good is justice if it creates more motherless children?
I have to think that this is a woman who needed help but no one was listening, or listening closely enough. How do you live in a house with someone (again media reports other adults in her household, a husband and mother) and not know someone is in trouble or self-medicating?
Ativan is a high potency drug often used as a sedative. It is also is used in the short-term treatment of anxiety and insomnia. There could be any number of reasons she took it. She could have been prescribed it or someone stupidly could have just given her some to take the edge off. We live in a nation of extreme pharmacology and well, pills are the new jellybean at times I think.
Sedatives are things I find both serious and scary. If she was taking this drug for whatever reason she should not have been in a car, let alone left alone with the potential for pulling a Karen Ann Quinlan by mixing hard core prescription drugs with alcohol. And whomever this “friend” was who suggested she mix Ativan with champagne is a huge loser. A friend is the person who says if you are dizzy let’s get you to a doctor, not have a drink and you can get in the car.
This is what you call a real tragedy, boys and girls. A 72 year old man not wearing a seatbelt and everything that was going on with Meredith Williams-Earle.
Meredith Williams-Earle is a woman in crisis. I don’t know why no one has addressed whatever is obviously going on with her, but I wish they would. I do not think she is just some run of the mill gal who likes to play with drugs and alcohol. I believe, right or wrong, that she needs serious help. And support from her family. Because if she had help and more familial support or even familial awareness I am not sure she would have been behind the wheel the fateful day of August 6th, are you? But I wasn’t there, I don’t know, and can only guess and opine…as can all of us except immediate family.
There are no winners here, only quite a few take away lessons of life. This story makes me sad.
Yesterday on the news I heard about a hit and run in Bryn Mawr, in Lower Merion Township where I used to live. At an intersection where I almost got hit several times over the years. The intersection is the big one at Lancaster Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue right where Bryn Mawr Trust Company is and across from Ludington Library. I held my breath every time I crossed, and played chicken with cars ignoring the stopped traffic and pedestrian crossing signal more than once. I hate that intersection for pedestrians.
This is a busy pedestrian intersection and on weekends there are things like the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market in the big municipal parking lot. Lots of the vendors who serve that Farmers Market hail from Chester County, incidentally.
This light has signals which are supposed to stop traffic in ALL directions for pedestrians. Only I have discovered that many impatient Main Line and other drivers often disregard this.
So why am I writing about this in Chester County? Because the truck that mowed down a mom and her twin children headed WEST on Route 30/ Lancaster Avenue, so who knows who may have seen the truck.
And this mom is part of a group I belong to called Philadelphia Social Media Moms. They sent out an e-blast a while ago asking people to tweet out the following:
Here is a tweet you can copy and paste. We are trying to raise awareness so the perpetrator will be caught: 6yr old in hospital, Black Ford F150 still at large. See something? Call police. #PSMM4Janeane http://ow.ly/ks5hi
By my calculations, 24 hours have passed since this incident. This mom has one child at home and one at DuPont in Wilmington.
This is not ol, and what this mom wrote to those of us who are part of this group chilled me to the bone. I will share an excerpt only:
It is a terrible thing to see your child hit so hard [they are ] knocked out of [their] shoes. Please know we appreciate all your kindness and help
This is one of the things I disliked most about living on the Main Line, and in particular, Lower Merion. They always talk a good game about pedestrian friendly communities and business districts, but the reality is often quite different. Like now.
This intersection is no stranger to horrific accidents, either. Here is a photo from July 2007. A woman named Maryjo Delvescovo, 43 died from her injuries in this accident. I remember at the time the media saying she left behind a child. This photo taken by a friend of mine is pretty raw:
Accident at same intersection in 2007
If you know anything about this accident, please call police ASAP! Police are asking for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at (610) 649-1000 or (610) 645-6260.
It would be nice if the driver of this black pick up truck were to come forward on their own of course.
This is why I wish more municipalities around here enforced pedestrian cross-walks more like they do in other places including New York State and Washington, D.C.
I am just sitting here shaking my head as I type. I remember having conversations with one local politician in particular about this very intersection in the past. I said at the time I was afraid a pedestrian would get hit. Mind you, I completely expect this politician to have a large case of political Alzheimer’s when it comes to this.
Please…if you know anything come forward. Everyone else, please say a prayer for this family whose children and mom were hit.
Lower Merion police are asking for the public’s help with information on the truck or the driver who stuck a woman and her two children crossing Lancaster and Bryn Mawr avenues Thursday afternoon. One of those children remains hospitalized in Delaware with head injuries.
According to police, the woman and her five-year-old twins were crossing Lancaster when the driver of a black pickup truck going north from Bryn Mawr onto west on Lancaster Avenue stuck them.
….One of the children was taken to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., overnight Thursday for a head injury….The driver failed to stop and continued going west on Lancaster Avenue toward Villanova. The vehicle was described as a full-sized black pickup truck similar to a Ford F-150.
This is in "City and Suburban Architecture" by Samuel Sloan, published in 1859 by Lippincott in Philadelphia. Sloan was partnered with Hutton when the house was built, but Hutton seems to get all the credit! The book is at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia
I am a lover of old houses and I love the quirky and fanciful. But I had no idea that so many of you out there shared my fascination with Loch Aerie or the Lockwood Mansion in Frazer, PA. When I said yesterday that Loch Aerie was like Bryn Mawr’s La Ronda was, well, hmmm maybe I am not so far off base?
It’s a shame that Loch Aerie isn’t loved and cared for like Granogue, Irenee Du Pont’s Estate in Delaware. Granogue is privately held and once upon a time Mr. Du Pont was kind enough to give me a tour, let me check out the green houses and the amazing view of the Brandywine Valley from a top the water tower.
The house was originally named Glen Loch, but when the Pennsylvania Railroad named its last Main Line station “Glen Loch” without asking permission first, William Lockwood the mansion’s owner changed the name of the estate to Loch Aerie.
I found this information in a book by Brian Butko called Lincoln Highway. Because of Mr. Butko’s book, I also learned that William Lockwood made the mistake of granting access to his springs to the railroad. After all, the Pennsylvania Railroad needed water to power their steam locomotives. Apparently Lockwood had to really go after the railroad and the legal battles depleted his fortunes, even as he prevailed in court against the railroad. I find this part of the history fascinating because I think our railroads of today are lousy neighbors, and this shows that lack of consideration along this rail line in particular is historical.
So that is most curious? Did the estate ever leave the Tabas family after Daniel Tabas purchased the house? I am sooo curious. Thanks to The Library of Congress, we all have access to a Historic American Buildings Survey (mind you there are lots of other Chester County-centric stuff too.) I found several copies on the Internet of the one in particular about Loch Aerie to and will embed a copy below, but it appears to have been done in the 1950’s. So maybe this Tony Alden did not actually own the house as was implied in Butko’s book?
Now take a minute and check out this article from 1992 from The Philadelphia Inquirer:
As an East Whiteland Township landmark, the house known as Loch Aerie is more than the history of its original owner, who made a fortune manufacturing paper shirt collars and lost it fighting the Pennsylvania Railroad.
It is the end of the Main Line.
Loch Aerie, originally owned by William E. Lockwood and occupied by his family for 102 years, was a 19th-century gentleman’s farm built on 836 acres. It contained three separate farms and tenant houses and four railroad stations, including the last Main Line station of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The stop was known as Glen Loch (Scottish for “lake of the glen”) after the estate’s original name.
Lockwood built the Swiss Gothic house in 1867 for the then-astronomical cost of $250,000, using blue marble and blue limestone mined from quarries now covered by Route 202. Only the house and about 26 surrounding acres remain of that huge estate. The rest has become dense commercial development. The Sheraton Inn Great Valley is directly across the highway.
Because of its size, Lockwood’s Glen Loch estate was a town by itself. Mail was handled by the Glen Loch post office. But when the Pennsylvania Railroad adopted the name Glen Loch for its station without first consulting Lockwood, the angry owner changed its name to Loch Aerie.
That was not the only disagreement Lockwood had with the railroad. He had given the line permission to use some of the water from the estate’s many springs to power its steam engines, with the agreement that the railroad would maintain the pipes.
Eventually, however, the railroad was pumping all of Lockwood’s water from the springs, to the extent that Loch Aerie had no water. The ensuing battles in Chester County Court, many of which Lockwood won, cost him his fortune……until 1967, when the property was bought by Daniel Tabas….. Since 1980, the house has been occupied by architectural consultant Tony Alden.
Here again is where I find more curiosity: was this definitively designed by Addison Hutton as an original idea? I ask because a friend from the Radnor Historical Society Greg Pritchard (he is one of my favorite people and helped me so much as I was going through the approval process to gain a PA historical marker for what once was The Wayne Natatorium) sent me a message last night with a photo he took from a plate in a book that was published nine years before Loch Aerie was built. The photo is above and the first one in this post. It is a photo of a plate in a book titled “Rural Villa” and I can’t quite make out the name on the bottom right hand corner of the plate. But that is Loch Aerie, is it not? So was this drawing done for/by Addison Hutton before Lockwood commissioned his mansion, or was this drawing the inspiration for Hutton’s design? If it was inspiration, is there a Loch Aerie look-alike somewhere?
Around 1974, Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall wrote a biography on Addison Hutton (Addison Hutton, Quaker Architect 1834-1916). On page 41, she writes of what appears to have been a visit to the home with her husband. William Lockwood’s daughters were still living there.
Apparently, as per this book, Loch Aerie/Glen Loch/Lockwood Mansion was one of Hutton’s favorite commissions because it was an independent one. I also learned thanks to Elizabeth Biddle Yarnall how William Lockwood made at least some of his money: paper collars. Mrs. Yarnall remarked upon her 1958 visit how intact the house still was at that time that it seemed that they “…had stepped into the Victorian world of Addison Hutton“.
Flash forward to 1995, and another Philadelphia Inquirer article about Loch Aerie. The Philadelphia Inquirer used to do all sorts of cool pieces like this, but their issues and various changes of ownership means that not only don’t you see articles of interest like this very often, they also don’t seem to give the reporters the time or encouragement to write articles like this. I find that a shame. Anyway back to 1995:
FRAZER — Loch Aerie was once the scene of lavish outdoor parties attended by gentlemen farmers living along the fringes of the Main Line.
A century later, the house, with its peaked roofs, gables and Romanesque windows, achieved fleeting fame when the Warlocks motorcycle gang took up illegal residence there.
Situated on Route 30 across from the Sheraton Great Valley Hotel, Loch Aerie is now in the midst of an escalating battle between preservationists and developers.
The latter have proposed to build a 103,000-square-foot Home Depot store and a 23,400-square-foot lawn-and-garden center about 50 feet from the side porch of the house, built in 1867 by paper magnate William E. Lockwood.
While the house would not be demolished under the Home Depot proposal, the proximity of a large commercial development would destroy its integrity, said Sylvia Baker, chairwoman of the East Whiteland Historical Commission.
Loch Aerie is owned by Daniel Tabas, who plans to keep the house and about two acres around it. Home Depot has bought the other 19 acres, contingent on township approval.
Even though the house would remain, Baker and Dan Maguire, vice chairman of the historical commission, said Tuesday that the proposal “won’t do.”…..”This plan would destroy the ambience of the property, not to mention the underground icehouse and gasworks,” two of the home’s most unusual features, Maguire said…..”This is the most valuable house in East Whiteland, maybe even in Chester County,” Baker said Tuesday as the late afternoon sun cast an orange glow over the small lake and formal gardens behind the house.
“And they want to destroy it,” she said.
But Tabas, former owner of the Tabas Hotel in Downingtown, said he is ”very hurt by a small minority” who think he would see Loch Aerie destroyed.
“I bought that house in 1960 because I loved it,” Tabas said Wednesday.
“It’s been a love affair ever since.”….
Tony Alden, an architectural consultant, has been living in the house since about 1975 and has been “meticulously restoring the furnishings,” Tabas said.
Tabas added that he has turned down a “dozen” development offers that would have destroyed the house.
“Then came Home Depot. They didn’t want the house, either, but then they agreed to keep it and establish a protection zone around it……The house is not on the National Register, Baker said, but it qualifies. The necessary paperwork was never completed. However, the house is considered ”an important structure” by preservationists around the state….The plan also shows a building that is “not the typical concrete block warehouse” Home Depot usually builds, but one with an architecture “more characteristic of the Main Line,” according to Snyder’s associate, Wendy McLean.
Ahhh what a tangled tale. So with all due respect to the late Dan Tabas, if he had such a “love affair” with the house, why did it rot for many and have motorcycle gangs hanging out? Why does it in essence sit and rot today? Let’s get real, this was always a juicy plot of land. Someone who has a love affair with a home like this, restores it, doesn’t sell off all the land around it to a big box store, effectively marooning it like a small desert island. Someone with a love affair, restores it and moves his family in to enjoy the splendor and privilege of living in such a home. Or they find a suitable adaptive reuse. Yes, think Addison Hutton’s Beechwood on Shipley’s campus which the Committee to Save Beechwood saved – yes volunteers did that, not the school although the school reaps the ultimate benefit now. Or up closer to Bryn Mawr Train Station (around 802 W. Montgomery). That is also an Addison Hutton designed home, and if memory serves it could have been the house Hutton built for his family. In any event, this property was recently converted to condos. Mind you, I will never be a condo girl, but in this case, it provided a viable adaptive reuse that saved the structure.
I also love how Home Depot described their store design as “more characteristic of the Main Line.” And then they woke up. I have been to that Home Depot several times, and Ardrossan it ain’t. Not even close. It is what it is: a big box with concrete floors.
Of course I wonder given another article unearthed from the Philadelphia Inquirer if East Whiteland could have said no? According to this article, not only was the sale of the property on which Home Depot now sits contingent on this approval, Home Depot went to this “township to amend its zoning ordinance and create a special classification for retail and home and garden center use.” This article also says how the reason Home Depot wanted to big box in was traffic from the Exton Bypass on Route 202.
That just kills me. Big boxes might have their uses but not only do they slowly starve out independent businesses, the big boxification and strip mallification of Chester County is something which astounds me. So many Chester County municipalities seem to an outsider completely thoughtless when it comes to preservation and the future. All these plastic mushroom house developments, and countless big boxes and sub par strip malls, not all of which have full occupancy. Look at what has been built over the past 25 years or so. Is any of it spectacular? No.
I don’t get why Chester County doesn’t have a more cohesive plan for commercial development county-wide, and it is obvious in some of these municipalities that they see the short-term salivation over ratables, and not much else. Of course if you ever watch any public meetings, eleted and planning officials love to fall on the sword of Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code which in my humble opinion needs an updating. Suburbs and exurbs are vastly different and Pennsylvania needs better comprehensive planning, so that many local municipalities run out of excuses on why they don’t need better planning. Not all local municipalities are horible at historic preservation, but a lot of them could do much better, or simply pay less lip service to the idea of preservation and employ more doing.
I also think that Pennsylvania as a state needs to have more that means more in the area of historic preservation. People need incentive to preserve, and I wish that Pennsylvania would follow the lead of other states in this country who offer more enticing incentives to preserve historic structures.
Now the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission administers the federal rehabilitation investment tax credits , but it just seems a lot of other states simply do more. At a minimum the Municipalities Planning Code needs to be more in sync with historic preservation in a top down approach in Pennsylvania. Of course that opens other cans of worms as Pennsylvania is most definitely a private property rights state. We all learned that lesson again when it can to La Ronda. La Ronda was demolished I think as much as anything else because the owner could demolish it.
It is a crying shame that Loch Aerie has never made it to The National Trust for Historic Preservation. I wish in addition that preservationists in Pennsylvania and Chester County would take an interest in preserving this La Ronda of Chester County. No, we can’t save every old house, but once in a while it would be nice if some of the more important homes, of which this mansion is definitely one, were not left to rot. We are in a crappy economy no doubt, but still so much our past in our communities is left to rot. There seems to be plenty of money to build new, but not much money or incentive to preserve. Private property rights state or not, once the architectural history is gone, it’s gone and not coming back.
What kind of adaptive reuse do you think could fit Loch Aerie? I would like to see something that preserved the exterior and enough of the interior. It would make a cool B&B or boutique hotel. Even a restaurant. Or a quirky office space. Antique store or art center. The landscaping would be key as it’s views are now either highway or big box. Given how it was cut off, it wouldn’t make an ideal single family home. If I were an official in East Whiteland, I would be looking for a way to make preservation of Loch Aerie happen. But we all know the reality of that as it is far simpler to approve a demolition plan and look the other way. Or to let many old structures rot and look the other way until no one wants the properties except for another doofy strip mall, drive thru pharmacy, bank branch, or fast food restaurant.
One last question. Has this home ever been on a Chester County Day Tour? There certainly are enough cool Victorians in Chester County that they could do an entire Victorian Day, or given all the historic homes at risk ALL over, they could do an “at risk” themed tour. I love my barns, don’t misunderstand me, but there are a lot of cool houses in Chester County that are in desperate need of rescuing from various points of time in history.
Here are the documents I loaded on SCRIBD and also check out The Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society’s Historical Quarterly Digital Archives “A Brief Glimpse of East Whiteland“:
Chester County is at a critical point in its history. We must make a choice for our future. We can let the unsustainable development pattern of the past continue, or we can choose to work together toward a new pattern of development that preserves the unique character of Chester County.
Chapter 1 of the comprehensive policy plan, Landscapes2, outlines how the Board of County Commissioners and the Chester County Planning Commission plan to address growth management and preservation strategies in collaboration with public, private and corporate citizens.