I was thinking about the post I wrote recently on Devon Horse Show. In it I asked who owns local history, of which the Devon Horse Show is an integral part of the history of Main Line residents, Chester County residents, and so on.
The answer is pretty simple: boards may come and go, but they do not own the history. Which is why it was ludicrous that they pressured a perfectly nice local historian into cancelling a talk given at a library on the history of the Devon Horse Show, wasn’t it? Just like it is utterly ridiculous they try to squash a roadside historic marker which is an honor, right?
So it got me to thinking. May is Preservation Month if you follow what the National Trust For Historic Preservation does. Devon Horse Show falls in May. So what if there was a grassroots movement to do a THIS PLACE MATTERS on Devon Horse Show?
This is what the National Trust for Historic Preservation says about This Place Matters:
Every single person in the country has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter. We want to see and celebrate the places that matter to you.
Download and print the sign (or display it on your phone or tablet). Take a photos with the sign at the places that matter most to you.Share your photos online with the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters. Look for your photo in the gallery below, and stay tuned to @SavingPlaces on Instagram and Twitter as we spotlight our favorites
What if people did this at Devon this year? You can download the sign art free HERE.
Could you imagine the IMPACT if #ThisPlaceMatters started showing up on social media about Devon Horse Show and started trending? People could do it outside the horse show in case the kabal had a hissy fit. People could start now as a matter of fact.
Boards come and go, but they do not own our history. The tradition that is Devon Horse Show is part of our history and people have to begin to act now so that Devon and the land are preserved. Because that is one thing that has always bothered me – the question of is the land Devon Horse Show sits on preserved in any way? Is it Is there a trust set up to preserve the actual land? Deed restrictions at county level and so on?
Why are they are terrified of a historic roadside marker? Why don’t they want local historical societies discussing the history? Is this all a larger scheme for down the proverbial road? Unfortunately Devon Horse Show seems to be the perfect scenario for conspiracy theories since raw land for development is such a hot commodity, right? (Think of what almost happened to Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show a few years ago with that failed bid for eminent domain for private gain, right?)
Anyway, I was thinking about this. I think the Devon Horse Show is a perfect candidate for #ThisPlaceMatters.
Thanks for stopping by.
Just when you think stupid can’t happen again at Devon Horse Show, up crops the news that much like Britney Spears oops they did it again (at Devon Horse Show). According to published media reports Devon Horse Show has committed the astoundingly unbelievable and ignorant gaffe of thus far (there is always hope they will come to their senses, right?) turning down an amazingly approved historical marker commemorating the history of the horse show!
Seriously??? It is an honor to be chosen for a historical marker in Pennsylvania. They do not just give them out like gold sticker stars to kindergarteners. They are hard work, and it is super competitive.
How do I know? Because it takes a lot to get one approved and I have done that. (Wayne Natatorium, Wayne PA approval 2009, sign erected 2010)
When I read the press release in March from the state I was very excited (see excerpt):
The new markers, selected from 50 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.
Since 1946 PHMC’s historical markers have chronicled the people, places and events that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. The signs feature subjects such as Native Americans and settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses and a multitude of noteworthy topics.
Nominations for historical markers may be submitted by any individual or organization and are evaluated by a panel of independent experts from throughout the state and approved by the agency’s commissioners.
More information on the Historical Marker Program, including application information, is available online at www.PAHistoricalMarkers.com…..Devon Horse Show, Devon, Chester County
Begun in 1896 and designated a Heritage Competition by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF), the Devon Horse show is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the nation. It was a founding member of the American Horse Show Association, which became the USEF.
This awesome news came out just a little before the news of which Chester County historic sites were receiving grants.
And of course this latest news arrives on the heels of the article which was obviously placed in the Inquirer recently which heralded the new era at Devon Horse Show after a “year of tumult” which appeared March 30th:
Two months before thousands should stream into its grandstands, the Devon Horse Show has been on the receiving end of an unlikely question for an event in its 119th year:
Will the show go on?
Such inquiries stem from more than a year of turmoil at the storied Main Line institution, including the departures of staffers and board members, whiffs of scandal, and a regime change.
The nonprofit’s new leaders – who came to power just before Christmas – say the upheaval is behind them.
“At this point, there is no time or effort looking backwards,” chairman Wayne Grafton said. “All the effort and focus is looking forward.”
The Inquirer article discussed the booting out of Wade McDevitt and his relationship to the Devon Yard/Waterloo development site – which just had an unpopular seeming unveiling April 27th. The Daily Local covered this:
In a public meeting on April 27, Waterloo Devon L.P., Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Anthropologie, Inc., presented the proposed Devon Yard development to a standing-room only crowd at the Hilltop House in Devon….During the meeting Monday, the principals on the project repeatedly noted that no part of this application for development is on Devon Horse Show land, and that they are not addressing how it will impact parking or traffic during the show. Sarah Coxe Lange, who identified herself as a “life-long exhibitor at the Devon Horse Show and former president of the show,” encouraged the planning board to consider how it could impact the Devon Horse Show, ‘preserving a cultural phenomenon’ and the history of the location.
(It’s a really long article in The Daily Local so go read the whole thing and it still sounds ghastly doesn’t it?)
Anyway….apparently last year Michael Morrison the esteemed president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society was asked by then Devon Horse Show President Sarah Coxe Lange to help the Devon Horse Show get a historical marker. Apparently others no longer part of the horse show also knew about this marker application.
And I believe that because I went through the process personally. You need a sponsor, there is an in-depth application and so on. Basically, you can’t just wake up one morning and say “I am going to apply for a historical marker” like it’s a manicure or hair appointment. It is a long process and the sign itself if approved costs a couple thousand dollars.
Did I mention what an honor and BIG deal it is to be chosen? It is.
Now when I read the article in which TEHS Michael Morrison was quoted it piqued my interest. He said (and I quote briefly from the article by Linda Stein in Main Line Media News):
“Once it was announced there was great joy at the horse show,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal to get these markers. They are not easy to obtain.”…. “Somewhere between that week and a half and our meeting, things started to turn sour,” said Morrison. He said he learned that the new leadership, which took over after the board voted Lange out in January, didn’t want the historical marker.
Really? Good news and good publicity is not wanted at Devon? They would rather continue the bad publicity (and this latest article already has over 40 mostly negative comments). They would rather continue air their dirty scandal ridden laundry?
How can the Devon nouveau be so blasted ignorant? Don’t they get this is not a punishment or impediment, but an honor? Getting a historic marker is a GOOD thing. It is also FREE GOOD publicity that money cannot buy (and by the way Devon Horse Show sure must be flush if they are paying for Phelps Media Group these days, right?)
Now according to this article apparently Devon nouveau are claiming they did not know. I find that extraordinarily hard to believe…again based upon my personal experience in obtaining a historical marker.
I called my contact at the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program Karen Galle today to ask her basically why a group would want to turn down such an honor. She is one of the people who shepherded me through the marker process. She is the nicest lady. She said she had received a call from from a local reporter and she really did not know the situation but had responded to the questions of basically whether a historical marker places restrictions upon a property. The answer of course is there are no restrictions as the signs are informational and educational in nature. Often these signs are erected where something historic once was and no longer is – you know along the lines of “George Washington slept here.”
It’s not restrictive to the property and wow who else is fascinated that Devon nouveau would not know this? And be worried about it like they are getting ready to put a sale sign on Devon Horse Show?
These historical markers enhance an area. Goodness. A marker is CACHÉ….bragging rights. It enhances not detracts. I get that not everyone loves historic commemoration or preservation but one of the hallmarks of Devon Horse Show has always been its very history. Look at their own and published mission statement:
In 1896, the Devon Horse Show started as a one-day show. Now, years later, it has become the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. It is internationally recognized…..and one of the most exciting events to happen in our area. While it draws top competitors from around the world, the show continues to reflect the local traditions and lifestyles of the Philadelphia Main Line.
Can we say D’Oh Devon? Wow if they were smart they would be planning an awesome ceremony centered around the sign dedication. It’s a no brainer…. but these people continue to make a mess out of all things horse show, don’t they?
I will be skipping Devon Horse Show this year I think. I am but one person so it really doesn’t matter, it’s just a personal decision. What they did to Sarah Coxe Lange was distasteful enough, but to make this big, giant fuss in a negative way over something as positive as the honor of being approved for a historical marker? Ehhh no thanks. Maybe next year…….
I really hope this horse show survives these people. I really do.
Yesterday was a study in contrasts. Started out my morning in Chester County, and headed up to New York City for the day.
New York City in October is very alive and bustling. A cacophony of sights and sounds and smells. I worked in New York for a few years when I was younger and fall and spring were my favorite seasons. It is such a contrast now to go from the quiet of Chester County to the very definition of urban.
From the east side to the west side, New York City is a sea of constant motion…and taxi cabs. It’s beeping and honking and massive waves of people bustling across giant intersections.
It is one of my favorite places to take photos, but yesterday there wasn’t time for that. I appreciate the beauty and the urban canyons of Manhattan, but I truly am a Chester County person now….I love getting back to the trees and fields.
From New York City it was back to Ardmore for the last First Friday Main Line. The event was the Happy Howl O’Ween dress up your dog contest.
Since 2006 First Friday Main Line has been there to bring art and music to every day life ; bringing local artists, musicians, and small businesses together. Inspired by the Old City (Philadelphia) First Friday, First Friday Main Line has had people discovering art in unexpected places.
Because Ardmore doesn’t really have gallery spaces, the art and music were tucked in alleys, store fronts, restaurants and on the street. All of this was done by Executive Director and Ardmore business owner and resident, Sherry Tillman. These were never Lower Merion Township as in municipal sponsored events. Many municipalities are deeply involved in the First Friday celebrations of their communities, but the extent of Lower Merion’s involvement was basically collecting permit fees.
First Friday Main Line was something I was deeply involved in until the spring of 2013. I did the publicity and event photography and it was an amazing ride, including a Congressional Commendation in 2010 for our Operation Angel Wings initiative.
But change is inevitable. Sherry called me a couple of months ago to let me know she was putting First Friday on hiatus. I had stopped actively participating because of my move to Chester County and new life here. I was sad to hear her news, but understood. She wanted to focus on different kinds of art events and get back to creating on her own. Sherry is an artist in her own right.
Coming back to the last First Friday Main Line was a bittersweet, yet sentimental journey. I had spent so much time in Ardmore between First Friday Main Line and the community activism I was part of a few years ago. (Lower Merion Township had once to seize part of the historic business district via eminent domain for private gain.)
Coming back to the area I once called home is now like being a stranger in a strange land. What once was home, is now just a place I used to live. The contrast was very pronounced to me this visit. I loved seeing all the old and in many cases beloved familiar faces, but I see everything now through different eyes in a thanks for the memories kind of way. I no longer belong to these old places, I belong to Chester County.
Part of the contrast which was sad to see is just well, how grungy and almost worn around the edges Lower Merion Township seems to look. And that isn’t just the business districts. When I was a kid Lower Merion really was a beautiful place to live. Now it is just an expensive place to live, which is not the same thing.
What I observed was a lot of the sense of community and neighborliness no longer seems to be self evident. A lot of strangers bustling by, and I wonder are there still people stepping up to foster a true sense of community? Or maybe it’s no longer that kind of place?
I have to be honest I do not miss the congestion and traffic of the Main Line nor do I miss the constant development. I felt really old passing by locations where I remember the house and the people who lived there, only now planted on those spots were condos and McMansions and such. All of what replaced what was in these spots are built out to the last possible inch with no real attempt at human scale let alone compatible style. In fact, no real style at all, these projects between Wayne and Ardmore scream nothing more than “new”. Sad.
Down the street from where my parents used to live, I read recently about a house which has a property which is now the subject of potential development. I knew it as the Woodruff House.. The super family which once lived there is long gone and sadly mostly passed away. Realistically, the development will probably happen. There is no zoning and planning to prevent it even if it is a ridiculous and vastly inappropriate spot for infill development.
But it has been almost 40 years at this point since Lower Merion Township had a comprehensive plan update, and the lack of planning is showing. What worries me about what is happening on the Main Line is the same developers snapping up whatever they can there are also in Chester County.
Take Downingtown, as in the borough. If they don’t watch it, they will make the same mistake that Malvern Borough did with Eli Kahn and Eastside Flats, which should really be seen from the rear too. An article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently:
…..In addition ……..the archdiocese said that it had an agreement to sell a 454-acre property in Northampton County for $5.5 million, and that it had sold 55 acres in Chester County for $3.7 million.
The $3.7 million from the sale of excess land at the St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, a behavioral-health center for clergy and women religious, was deposited into the archdiocesan priests’ pension fund. That fund previously had a $76.3 million deficit.
The buyer was Woodbine Partners L.P., a partnership of Chester County developers E. Kahn Development and J. Lowe & Associates.
Stephen Sullins, Downingtown’s borough manager, said the expected mixed-use development was significant for the town, which covers just two square miles.
“It looks like it is going to expand our tax base somewhat. We’re looking forward to some new jobs,” Sullins said.
Yep, Eli Kahn.…again….Eastside Flats which still look vastly out of place in Malvern and unfinished although they are finished and the project is for sale (See Philadelphia Business Journal, July 2, 2014) .
And remember that very telling Patch article a couple years ago that told a very different tale of how much money Malvern Borough would actually make off of this project?
$60,000: East King Revitalization’s Impact on the Borough The new apartments and businesses won’t be a windfall for the borough. By Pete Kennedy (Open Post) Updated June 29, 2012 at 1:38 am
During a discussion…at….Malvern Borough Council, resident Joan Yeager asked a related question:
“Once the King Street project is completed, how much additional money is going to come into the borough? In taxes and all,” she said.
“Something in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year,” council president Woody Van Sciver said, citing a financial feasibility study done before the project was approved.
“That’s it?” Yeager replied, expecting a bigger payoff from the several new businesses and hundreds of new residents that will be moving to the east end of the borough.
Downingtown can afford a development misstep even less than Malvern Borough. And I love Malvern, but if there is some benefit to having that Christ awful development once you get beyond having Christopher’s there and Kimberton Whole Foods moving in, I haven’t seen it. And the development looks like giant Lego buildings (with about as much finesse) plunked down in Lilliput.
There are a lot of empty store fronts in Eastside Flats and the borough itself, and last time I was there to have lunch at Christopher’s there were cigarette butts all over the sidewalk in front of the nail salon. Of course I also wondered why such “high end” and new real estate could only get a nail salon? And have you ever see Eastside Flats from the rear? It shows it’s backside to a lot of Malvern residents over the tracks and wow, a little landscaping might help. But do developers like this care about the existing residents?
My travels yesterday merely reaffirmed the true contrast between urban, suburban, and Chester County. And suburban doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be the mini-me to urban, and well for us out here in Chester County, we shouldn’t want developers to spin their tales of the Emperor’s New Clothes out here and give us the awkward new urbanism fairy tale or hybrid cross of what they are shoe horning in everywhere else. Maybe that is NIMBY (not in my back yard) of me, but heck I have lived with bad projects and bad planning in my back yard–it’s one of the things I was happy to leave behind on the Main Line when I moved to Chester County.
I still believe Chester County is incredibly vulnerable to these projects, and these tiny towns and boroughs need to think carefully before jumping to the extremes of these very dense developments. Places grow and evolve and not all development is bad, but there is just way too much of it. The pace needs to slow.
The open space and gracious rolling farm lands,fields, and forests which make up Chester County are worth preserving. So is the way of life which accompanies it. Thanks for stopping by today. I know this post has rambled along, and when I started out with my original thought of contrast I wasn’t quite sure where this post would lead me.
Enjoy the beautiful day!
Here I was minding my own business, moving onto other topics, taking care of my family, seeing a dog through chemo and WHAM! I get sucked back into Horsegate, not yet a movie. As in Much Ado About Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue.
When last I heard about all this stuff, I heard from the owner of Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue, Jessica Troxell Basciano. It was 12/8/2012. She sent me comments she asked me not to publish. I decided to honor her request for the time being (as in not forever). I am beginning to regret that as it seems this blog is being contacted by her posse, her protégés, her employees or her pals? (Just a hunch, yes?)
I am generally speaking an experienced blogger and tolerant and understanding when people get upset or heated about a topic. I also know when to call a spade a spade when comments cross the line.
Yesterday the comments on “the funny thing about asking questions about horse rescue” exploded. So I nosed around the horse community and someone tells me there was some sort of court date yesterday? Possibly near Oxford PA? (I am asking because I don’t have the docket so can’t say definitively – if I did have the docket which is indeed public information I would post it.)
Anyway, comments from a Christina, Alice, and I don’t remember who. At first I thought they were comments threatening towards me for writing about this in the first place. That in and of itself kind of pissed me off in the whole First Amendment of it all. I saw crazy ads on Craigslist, so why couldn’t I write about and ask questions about them and a horse rescue? But the comments as per a clarification by the poster Christina (thank you for apologizing to me by the way), were directed at someone else – someone who must have testified in court.
I said to “Christina”:
I wrote about this topic, I have moved onto other topics and for a topic that is purportedly such a “non-issue” it seems to be a problem. ….If you took in horses on the up and up, have all the records, have those coggins things people talk about and so on and so forth you are good, so why respond to anyone anywhere in a threatening matter?
I have been patient with people on both sides of this issue and have tried to be fair to whomever this Jessica is. As a matter of fact at her plea, I did not post some comments she left when obviously upset.
Then there was a post by someone named “Heather” who told someone else she wasn’t angry and couldn’t care less (but she still felt the need to comment.)
Alrighty, quite the tempest in the stable teapot don’t you think?
My Spidy Sense is tingling and if there wasn’t something funkalicious going on, why would people keep leaving comments?
Jessica Basciano and Barbara Luna what say you on this? The horses start with Barbara and Turning for Home before coming to Jessica and Off The Track Throughbred Rescue right?
Again, if this Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue ends up being totally legit with a good non-profit status, etc, etc I will update the posts. Just like if this Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue doesn’t end up being legit and isn’t really a non-profit, etc, etc I will update the posts.
But it is four days before Christmas and I am sick of the happy horse manure quite frankly.
I do not take threats lightly, and I live in a part of Chester County with very helpful and friendly law enforcement. More importantly, a lot of people read my blog, including fairly influential Chester County folks any rescue or rescue owner might wish to cultivate.
So rein it in ladies. I don’t do girl fights and intimidation. I am a lot of years out of high school, so let the mean girl of it all go.
If this is supposed to be about the good of the horses, then stop making it about the people and personalities.
And media out there that I know watches this blog a story on this would be nice as it is getting to be a bit much in the drama of it all, don’t you think? Besides since it is in some court room somewhere in Chester County there might be something to all of this after all, maybe?
And for you true horse rescue types, here is yet another Craigslist Ad that makes me scratch my head – it is out of Douglassville, which I have no clue where that town is:
For those wondering who is on first, let alone who is on third, here are links to the posts and comments….except the ones I am withholding for the time being that is:
Poor Devon, always in the shadow of Strafford, always a little odd, and now a hot bed of bad publicity:
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday the arrests of James Lippert of Tredyffrin and David Eisenstadt of Philadelphia for allegedly possessing over $2.5 million worth of marijuana.
According to a press release from the DA’s Office, federal and local law enforcement agencies raided homes in Philadelphia and Tredyffrin Township. The arrests and raids were coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Chester County DA’s Office,the Tredyffrin Township Police Department, and the Philadelphia PoliceDepartment.
District Attorney Tom Hogan stated, “When federal and local law enforcement work as a team, drug dealers do not stand a chance. These two drug dealers thought they were smart to be running drugs and money between Philadelphia and Chester County. Now we have their drugs and money, and they have been arrested andlocked up.”
Defendant James Lippert, 49, lived on the 100 block of Colket Lane, Devon.
Defendant David Eisenstadt, 50, lived on the 4000 block of Chester Ave., Philadelphia.
In July, 2008 there was a brothel bust in Berwyn. People were shocked that one of the world’s oldest professions was going on under their noses on the Main Line.
A brothel in Berwyn?
Residents say “no way” but that’s what the Feds say was going on at the Swan Day Spa at 529 Lancaster Avenue.
Federal authorities say it was being portrayed as a health spa, but there was a lot more going on here than just massages.
Authorities say the operators were running a thriving business since April 2005 with sexual favors being offered along with the massage for $60 cash, $65 for credit. But things began to unravel when the operators hired two illegal immigrants from China eager to make a new life here in the U.S. The women thought they were going to provide massages. But the Feds say the operators wanted them to also have sex with clients. When the women refused, authorities say the manager threatened to turn them over to immigration. The women somehow managed to escape. Meanwhile, residents and business owners seemed stunned all this was going on in Berwyn.
I always wondered why the Swan looked so low brow, yet so many men went there for “massages”. Ick. And duhh, quite frankly. It wasn’t exactly a place that made you think Client List and Jennifer Love-Hewitt.
Well it is ground hog day on the upper Main Line, as today, four years later also in July, in Devon (also a Chester County community) there apparently was a prostitution bust on Friday the 13th (bad day to be a hooker, apparently).
Devon, known for HORSE shows and expensive foreign car dealerships now has the dubious honor of being known for HOOKERS.
Mind you, should we be surprised? When you put devon prostitutes into Google, God help me there is the online list that pops up. A yellow pages to the round heeled. Ick a doodle do. And there have been rumors for years of similar situations in places like Ardmore and Wynnewood, but no busts have ever occured to my knowledge. They have however busted Mummers clubs in Philadelphia.
The Daily Local reports that these hookers were from Oregon? Did they throw a dart at a map? Is Devon the new Sin City and no one got the memo?
DEVON — Two people were arrested last week for allegedly providing prostitution services at an area hotel, police said.According to the Tredyffrin Police Department, Jacquelyn Stahley, 24, and Jamaal M. Lambert, 29, both of Portland, Ore., were arrested Friday, July 13, after employees of the Devon Marriot alerted police shortly before 4 p.m. about suspicious activity inside the hotel.Police said an assistant manager of the hotel told investigators Stahley arrived at the hotel with Lambert and checked into the hotel with a cash payment. The manager also told police he suspected she was a prostitute, according to a criminal complaint filed by police.
Tredyffrin-Easttown Patch has the press release from Tredyffrin Police that you can read.
They were picked up on the 700 block of Lancaster Avenue as per 6 ABC.