Odessa, Delaware is one of my favorite places. It is literally a jewel of a historic town, almost frozen in time.
Located in New Castle County, Delaware, Odessa was founded in the 18th century as Cantwell’s Bridge, her name was changed in the 19th century after the Ukrainian port city of the same name.
I will be posting a separate post of just photos I took today in Odessa, but would also interested me separately is a study in contrasts.
When you’re coming into historic Odessa, on the edge of the town, there is literally this house that has been falling apart for years. It is a clear example of demolition by neglect or abandonment, take your pick. We see examples of this in Chester County all the time. I realized today that the house that used to be right on the corner of Boot Road and Greenhill across from Hershey’s Mill and the fire house is so overgrown I can’t wonder if it has met or is meeting a similar fate? The deterioration of this old house reminds me a lot of the deterioration of the historic farm house in Malvern along route 30 that is part of the Clews and Strawbridge boat property in East Whiteland.
But then as you get into town and around the corner from Cantwell’s historic Tavern is a house that obviously suffered a fire that is being rebuilt. So that is your contrast. You have letting a historic structure rot versus someone painstakingly rebuilding a structure after a devastating loss.
This post is not a dig at Odessa, Delaware because the historic preservation is remarkable. It’s just sort of food for thought of the whole historic preservation of it all. The next post shows how pretty Odessa is.
Yes again, I am writing about the Joseph Price house in West Whiteland Township.￼ It’s really starting to deteriorate badly in my opinion.￼ (And I say that from observing it across the street today- I have not been invited to be on the property so I would not presume.)￼
This house is historically listed. It was built in 1878 and altered in 1894 by the house namesake inhabitant at the time. It was altered from a Gothic style to a Queen Anne style.
￼￼I was also told in the 1990s it was separate apartments inside and there were also cottages around it which were rented out as well.
In the 1950s and 60s there was a large barn there that was a sale barn for cattle run by Bayard Taylor —a blog reader told me that. He knew because his mother did bookkeeping for that business while she was in college.
This house is not completely deserted I am told there is still a caretaker who still lives there. However, this house has an uncertain future at best and nobody seems to know what will happen to it. Which is a shame because it’s very cool.￼
There are so many amazing houses like this throughout Chester County from all eras of time￼.
I am told the house is owned by two people in Ambler. Chesco Views confirmed that today.￼￼
This afternoon I had some time so I pulled into the business parking lot across the road on Clover Mill Road. I took some photos from across the road and I just looked at the house. It has been historically listed since the 1980s.￼ And yes I know I’m being repetitive, but it just blows my mind that these gorgeous houses that are historically listed not just locally but nationally rot like this￼.
Things are just crumbling and the property also seems to be quite the haven for dead car bodies.
Truly (and sadly), the house is becoming so decrepit, more decrepit. I really wish these owners would sell to somebody who could restore it.
￼￼￼￼It is just so crazy to me, as this could be the most fabulous property. It’s big enough and there is enough land left that it could be a great restaurant or even a boutique bed-and-breakfast which is not a stretch considering there is one up the road from it on South Whitford – the Duling-Kurtz House and Country Inn.
Anyway, I continue to be obsessed by this property which is not for sale￼. It’s just that this is a historically listed property (since 9/6/1984) and is this demolition by neglect?￼ I really hope someone will save this place.
At the Main Street at Exton site, formerly known as the Indian Run Farm, some of the county’s most historical treasures will stand beside some of the county’s largest new stores.
A case of the old meeting the new, part of the Main Street project includes the adaptive re-use of several historical buildings, one of which may be nearly 300 years old.
“It’s kind of remarkable that historical structures like this can co-exist with this type of development,” said West Whiteland Historical Commission Chairman Bruce Flannery. “I think there is an opportunity there for a something really fruitful between the township, developer and community, but that remains to be seen. We know the resources will stay. The question is how they will remain…….”Historically, the crossroads has been where some of the county’s first settlers, given land through the 1684 William Penn grant, designated by the king of England, chose to call home. Penn gave 40,000 acres of land to Welsh Quakers fleeing persecution in England.
At that time Route 100 was most likely an Indian trail, said Flannery.
The land where Main Street at Exton is being constructed was initially given to Richard Thomas, a Quaker who fled Wales with his family. The Thomas family complex was centered around the area where routes 30 and 100 now intersect.
Operating a gentleman’s farm, Richard Ashbridge, a direct descendant of Thomas, built the 1843 house, renovated in 1912, that stands at the site. Both the house and the woodcutter’s cottage, where a stone dates the building back to 1707, are class one historical structures.
“The resources on the Indian Run Farm are some of the most historical in the township,” said Flannery. “The site itself and the complex are extremely important and unique.”…..The land where the former Thomas homestead and the current Ashbridge house stand is “sacrosanct,” said Flannery. “It certainly was one of the first settlements,” he said. “It’s a really wonderful farmstead, really beautiful.”
So this is the respect for the past that the developer here has shown and West Whiteland has allowed? 16 years of demolition by neglect for what they said is one of the first settlements in the township and of paramount historical importance?!
Main Street at Exton builder Wolfson Group, plans to build a 410-unit apartment complex near Commerce Drive and next to the Exton Square Mall. The 26-room mansion is slated to become a community center .
The township has not awarded final approval for the apartment project. The property is zoned TC or Town Center.
Shoppers at Main Street at Exton have watched the historic building decay since long before it was wrapped with protective tarps in 2002. Much of the 1843 era house is now exposed to the elements as tattered tarps blow in the wind….
So….how many years does a developer have to let something stand and rot before they file for demolition permits in West Whiteland?
There is also an Abandoned Steve video on this which is quite interesting. CLICK HERE TO VIEW.
I was astounded that when I went to the village of Historic Yellow Springs for dinner at the amazing Yellow Springs Inn over the weekend that Historic Yellow Springs or whomever owns Vaughn House has not done a blessed thing yet as far as saving this historic structure. I mean it has been years at this point.
There stood Vaughn House last Saturday evening like a ghetto shell of its former self. I had not been to the village since early fall, and would have thought by now that something other than demolition by neglect would have been happening.
And yes, I understand some of my readers take *issue* with me mentioning the deteriorating, run down Vaughn house when I talk about fabulous dining experiences at Yellow Springs Inn. The truth is I do it on purpose. Historic Yellow Springs in my opinion neither respects nor appreciates the treasure that is Yellow Springs Inn and I find them extremely hypocritical at this point because if a private citizen owned Vaughn House I have no doubt everyone would be on them like white on rice to do repairs….yet what is happening? Vaughn House continues to rot. I can’t help but wonder if it is salvageable at all at this point.
Vaughn House should not be allowed to continue to rot and moulder. It brings down property values of everything around it in its current state of disrepair it also might be dangerous as a structure. It is criminal that it is being allowed to rot like this. Have they even had a structural engineer do an assessment?
Historic Yellow Springs needs to decide what they want to do one way or the other. If they want to repair Vaughn House they need to get busy. If they need to admit that perhaps the structure is too far gone at this point, that is something else they need to decide. Otherwise what it eventually going to happen is West Pikeland might decide for them. Of course if they are passively aggressively hoping for that, they could just be honest about it.
Historic Yellow Springs is a village of beauty and history. Like many other non-profit places of historic import it apparently also has lots of problems doesn’t it?
Here’s hoping they have an epiphany sooner rather than later. They can’t recreate the specialness, so why not get back to preserving it?
Is a bulldozer coming soon or what? This property is beyond unkempt and the way this historic structure is being left to rot via demolition by neglect is almost criminal (not that any of the multitude of other old and historic homes I see rotting along Route 30 are any better – I think the abandoned and derelict what looks to be 18th century farmhouse next toe Clews & Strawbridge looks like a giant vine now).
So this is Linden Hall, and since we were driving by today I thought I would take some additional photos. East Whiteland are you just blind to how bad parts of your commercial corridor look?