historic kerfuffle house in bryn mawr

Gosh Harriton House a place I have loved since I was 12, but now like many other beloved historic sites can you say it’s in decline and getting more run down as time goes on?

I was introduced to Harriton as a child by a neighbor who volunteered there and also knew the original executive director who made Harriton what she was, and sadly the flavor has changed, and at the helm now is a woman who seems to need multiple assistants and I am not quite sure why? And then there is the social media from today…

Madame Kerfuffle seems to have made quite the faux pas today, yes?

It started innocently enough with one of the normally silly posts now posted on their Facebook page. I say silly because well, they are. I was vastly amused by the history camp posts this week because it made me ponder how child labor laws came to be- all you saw were the kids of Main Liners doing chores and I hope the new executive director remembered to get signed releases for the purpose of posting photos of other people’s children publicly as marketing? They are kids not marketing material after all, right? (Example immediately below ⬇️)

Publicly posted photo. Faces of children covered as a courtesy.

But then I saw their patriotic post for July 4th with a historical faux pas that makes you wonder about holy proof reading Batman!

And then the comment which will help you figure out the kerfuffle of historic proportions even worse that that time in recent history when someone decided to bake bread in Harriton’s historic kitchen, right?

Well oopsies and ouchies, eh? Gosh. Now of course like magic this post was corrected and undoubtedly eventually disappear and was also corrected ….except well Facebook allows you to view revisions.

Harriton Historic House and Park has lots of “human error”….like MYSTERIOUSLY blocking me from Harriton House’s Instagram in spite of MANY, MANY years of volunteering, donations, and donations in kind. Is that “human error” too? To block me who never leaves a comment on Instagram although I do find posts where a goat is baby talking on a historic house page somewhat ludicrous?

Harriton House turned 300 in 2004. I got them on the Today Show. The board never said thank you. But some took credit for it.

They also never did answer my question posted on a removed post of theirs about how many trees were taken down in the past year, and if Lower Merion Township was in approval and did the tree people carry whatever license Lower Merion Township asks for I think? Also because the property is historic did the nouveau executive director actually get HARB permission to take down old fences and erect the new ones which have that penitentiary feel to them?

There’s so much going on at Harriton that people have so many questions about. And I know people that just won’t go back anymore because every time they do now they think the property looks sad and I thought that last year when I went back after an oncology appointment at Penn Medicine in Radnor. Harriton was a happy place to me for decades, and I decided to go visit while I was more or less in the area. When I went back, it just looked sad with lots of weeds, doesn’t look like the garden clubs are really there anymore, and the original white fence that stood in front of Harriton was gone. It was a time of year where there should’ve been people there even if just families with kids or somebody walking a dog because it was summer and it was empty.

And July 4th. The house was always open July 4 for tours. No more. Given what Harriton’s most famous occupant was part of, sure seems odd, right? I can’t believe it was 2021 that I wrote a July 4th post, seems like a lifetime ago.

So much about Harriton seems like a lifetime ago. Like the gardens. There were two garden clubs which used to do various beds and the sunken garden, which I actually was the first person to create a garden in. Last year the sunken garden was new weed city. Someone who was over there recently and had not been in forever messaged me to ask where the garden clubs were and I asked why and he said “weeds all over.”

Sunken garden some point
between 2019 and 2021

I will go back to the recent history of when someone thought they could bake bread at an annual meeting was it? And it was a disaster ? When we cooked in the kitchen in the late 70s, we didn’t create any issues or set anything on fire, and that’s important at a historic site, right?

A Taste of History hadn’t even been in the Harriton kitchen yet when we had
been in the late 1970s.

Harriton was a really special place. It could be again. But it needs a board makeover and executive director makeover. I actually found what looks like a copy of the last executive director requirements? New girl is not so new any longer so can she hack it?

You will have to click on each screenshot to read:

So it makes you wonder if Lower Merion Township is actually paying attention? After all they do own the historic house and land, correct? They have a commissioner on the board and commissioners were there in June for some sort of commissioner gathering, correct ? What did they see or is it they choose to ignore? You have to wonder because you don’t want Harriton to end up looking as sad as Ashbridge House in the park in Rosemont which kind of just looks like it’s rotting. Also, it’s interesting to note that even if you have a guide star membership you don’t see IRS form 990s past 2019 so why is that? I mean, maybe that’s just a clerical error on the part of these websites that monitor form 990s but still.

Anyway. It’s been a ramble, hasn’t it? I’m sure the heat and hate mail now will come rolling in because oh my God, I expressed an opinion. No one said you had to read it…