15th annual historic house tour of the tredyffrin historic preservation trust

69464217_10156339994331479_7194727745933279232_n

As my dear friend (and beloved Madame President of The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) Pattye Benson said recently:

“The saying goes, ‘If walls could talk what stories they could tell’’ — Held annually since 2004, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust arranges for these stories to be told on its annual historic house tour. 15th Annual Historic House Tour tickets now available — www.tredyffrinhistory.org 

Join us for another great tour of beautiful historic homes and gardens in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships. Please support historic preservation and share the information!”

So true! And this year I am once again amazed at the absolutely splendid house tour that Pattye has put together! I was at the Jazz it Up Preview Party last evening at DuPortail and I know which houses are on the tour but I am sworn to secrecy!

You can still buy tickets for the tour which is Saturday, September 28, 2019 12 PM to 5 PM. They are moderately priced at $35 per person and all proceeds benefit historic preservation and the completion of the Jones Log Barn Living History Center at Duportail.

IMG_7937

The Jones Log Barn

This tour is so much fun and the properties are always amazing. Seriously, this year is going to be crazy good. Your hint is everyone knows how much I love old farms and farmhouses, right?

The preview party was as always so much fun and I was thrilled to see so many people turn out for historic preservation.

IMG_7946

Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline join my Savvy (and amazing!)  friend Caroline O’Halloran and Michael Noone (First Assistant DA and candidate for Chester County District Attorney. Terence and Michelle both support this event annually! History is SO important!!)

IMG_7952

Michael Noone with Megan King (Also in Chester County’s DA’s office and candidate for Superior Court Judge), and the ever lovely Elizabeth Mercogliano

The House Tour will be amazing, trust me, and it is a day full of super nice and knowledgeable people. The docents at each tour home know the property inside and out!

You start your day at the Tredyffrin Library (582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford, PA, starting at 11 AM on Saturday, Sept. 28) where you pick up your tickets and tour package and then you are off!

My husband and I are event sponsors.  I do not do as much in the area of volunteerism as I used to and this is my favorite sponsorship.  I love historic preservation and I love house tours.  Most of all I love house tours in a reasonably sized area where I can visit every home on the tour. This is a quality tour. Always exciting!

Here is the LINK TO PURCHASE TICKETS!

I really hope you will join me and other history buffs on September 28th!

IMG_7938

 DuPortail House in Chesterbrook. The gardens are especially lovely this year.  You can rent this amazing historic house for events and they have ample parking.

change comes to frazer

Change comes to Frazer in leaps and bounds these days. On Sunday, John’s Pizza closes it’s doors and by Labor Day, the Alley Pub will be but a memory.

John’s Pizza closing is by personal choice of the family who owns it . That is a case of a well earned retirement.

But the Alley Pub? That’s development which has come calling. The accumulated parcels which also include the run down mobile home park and the old bowling alley Frazer Lanes according to the developer’s blog will result in over 200 new…apartments.

Now there is no doubt that the mobile home park was in bad shape. But had the township (East Whiteland) allowed that to deteriorate over the years by looking the other way when they should have maybe inspected more and what not? There is another mobile home park down the road from the now closed one. Different owner, better care taken of it. There is a mobile home on Barton Hill Road next to Ebeneezer’s ruins. Also in good shape and is more of a community.

But the thing about this mobile home park going away and it being replaced with apartments leaves me with mixed emotions. How many apartments, townhomes, townhouses, carriage homes do we need?? East Whiteland has soooo many development plans. And all of it except for a small percentage are higher density plans.

If you move west into West Whiteland Township then you have all of their development. And they are putting a lot of apartments on Route 30 and already have a lot of townhomes or carriage homes or whatever the hell you want to call them.

And then what if you head over to West Goshen for a minute? Have you seen what’s going on at Greystone Hall? (Hint, check out the next two photos)

And if you go back into East Whiteland Township has anyone been to Flat Road or that vicinity recently? (Hint: see the next two photos)

So here we are in beautiful Chester County. Or it was beautiful and sadly with all the development it’s less beautiful every day. And our local municipalities all over the county are allowing this one bad plan at a time.

But back to these apartments in Frazer. Are you really going to want to spend a couple thousand dollars to live in an apartment that’s next to a run down gas station and sort of across the street from what used to be a mattress store and Wawa?

Yet there are the slum lord properties that are ignored. These are in East Whiteland along Route 30:

So when you talk about the slumlord housing along Route 30 in East Whiteland combined with whatever is left of mobile home parks you’re talking about the entire supply of affordable housing if it is actually affordable because I don’t know.

And that’s the thing about all of these developments regardless of the municipality in Chester County: where IS the affordable housing?

That is one of the problems I have with all of this development no matter what township. Lack of affordable housing. Look at what’s being proposed in Easttown Township to the east of East Whiteland. More apartments and already cheek to jowl townhouses that are not attractive and not affordable. They are expensive.

And East Goshen. Even once sensible East Goshen is no longer immune from bad development plans.

I just have to keep shaking my head and wondering where are all the regular people who don’t want to live in McMansions or McMansion priced apartments and townhouses supposed to go? Where do retirees go if they can’t afford Hershey’s Mill or the other two places near it in the retirement Bermuda Triangle?

And what about the stress all this development places on our first responders, our school districts, our infrastructure? And when things like entire mobile home parks disappear what happens to the people that used to call it home? People in this country like to talk about helping the disadvantaged and the financially challenged or poor but really do they?

I don’t have those answers. But in my opinion all of this development is going to come back and bite every Chester County resident in the rear someday. This is why we desperately need better planning more sound and competent zoning and elected officials that actually consistently give a damn about their residents.

I am not against change as far as development goes as long as it occurs in moderation. But I am against all of this greedy ass development gobbling up acre after acre of Chester County like Pac-Men. And these plans aren’t even attractive. They are just designed to get each developer the most money possible out of each site.

Rant over. (For now.)

who turns down the honor of a pennsylvania historical marker? devon horse show (apparently)

7275442970_eb6cbdb118_o

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.