happy days farm under contract to a developer?

Months ago I wrote that Vanguard was selling Happy Days Farm. I had expressed my opinion that they waited for Mr. Bogle to die.

Happy Days Farm was once home to the Supplee Family in modern times (I think from some point in the 1940s.)  Mildred and Warren Supplee were well-loved by their community and were married for 75 years.

Happy Days Farm is STILL actively farmed by tenant farmers who are WONDERFUL people.

Just now I learned Happy Days Farms is under contract to a developer? And that means that if they don’t buy it for some reason there are undoubtedly other developers right behind them, correct?

Vista Today has the story and allow me to quote (and note they republish things from other sources in this case the Philadelphia Business Journal.)

Here is an excerpt of what Vista Today said:

Happy Days Farm, a 246-acre property in Exton that is currently owned by Vanguard, has been put under contract by Audubon Land Development, writes Natalie Kostelni for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The property near the Downingtown Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was put up for sale by Vanguard in March after the investment giant kept it for two decades as a possible expansion site.

Thanks to its excellent location that can attract traffic from a large demographic area, the property was expected to receive significant interest from developers.

For the love of all that’s holy, IT IS STILL A WORKING FARM!

Now Audubon Land Development, who are they? From their “about” section of their website:

ABOUT US

Audubon Land Development Corporation is a family owned and operated business with over 50 years of development, building and management experience. Audubon Land affiliates have built over 3,000 homes in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as many commercial facilities including apartment complexes, the Audubon Square Shopping Center, The Hilton Homewood Suites in Audubon, the 422 Business Center, The Hilton Garden Inn at Oaks, the Marketplace at Oaks, including Target, Lowe’s and Regal Cinemas and the Greater Philadelphia Expo in Oaks. Audubon also has under development, the 2,500 unit Shannondell Retirement Community, with 1,000 units completed.

Oaks. That hideous complex that always seems dirty? The Philadelphia Expo Center? Have you been there? It’s part of the long stretch of 422 development hell, isn’t it?

I have no issue with Shannondell as their rehab center does a lot of good but don’t we already have a lot of warehouses for seniors out here? And let’s be honest, is a place like Shannondell affordable for your average senior citizen?

Maybe a lot of you aren’t familiar with the whole other side of Montgomery County that is Audubon and Oaks and up Egypt Road and 422? I actually am because our son went to a charter school that pulls from these areas and a lot of friends lived over in this direction.

If you think King of Prussia is bad you have not seen anything until you’ve experienced this area. When you travel along places like Egypt Road and other areas back here in Audubon and Oaks you see strip mall after strip mall and development after development and in between you have these tiny pockets of humanity trying to survive in the midst of it.

This area actually reminds me of King of Prussia as the mall grew. And I say that because I am just old enough to remember when you were along 202 near the King of Prussia Mall years ago, there were still these cute little houses along 202 that people lived in.…until they gave up.

Is this the fate of Happy Days Farm?

I will note that Philadelphia Architects and Buildings  dates the farm as circa 1730 to 1780. They also have a 1995 site plan. I also discovered it is part of some Watershed H (Brandywine Creek, East Brandywine creek?) and there is an archeological and historical survey report.  And this abstract document from 1998 would also be of interest.

Also a few months ago, it took some digging but I did indeed find a 1998 PA Historic Resouces Survey Form. You can click HERE and I am uploading it here: H067961_67867_D. It’s fascinating and what did this survey lead me to? Oh yes, another Penn Land Grant and possibly part of Native American Hunting Grounds:

The origins of Happy Days Farm can be traced to two early land grants from William Penn, Proprietor of the Province of Pennsylvania. One tract of 1,000 acres was granted to James Claypoole in 1682. James Claypoole was an English investor who purchased several land grants in Pennsylvania, but never lived there. The other tract of 1,666 2/3 acres was granted to David Lloyd in 1703. David Lloyd was a land investor who owned a considerable portion of what became Uwchlan Township in 1712. In 1713, the heirs of James Claypoole sold 800 acres in Uwchlan to David Lloyd. In 1714, Lloyd sold to Joseph Phipps an 800 acre plantation that included parts of the two Penn grants.

The description on the 1714 deed of a “messuage, tenement plantation tract” indicates that there was already an established farm and dwelling house. Joseph Phipps was among the early Quaker settlers who requested the formation of their own meeting in Uwchlan Township in 1712. At the time, most of these Quakers were living on land owned by David Lloyd, so Joseph Phipps was probably living on the land he later purchased. Between 1712 and 1715, most of David Lloyd’s holdings in Uwchlan Township were deeded to early residents such as Phipps. The first tax records for Uwchlan Township occurred in 1715. Joseph Phipps was one of eighteen names recorded on that list and one of the greatest landowners. 280 years later, descendants of Joseph continue to live in Uwchlan Township.….For much of the eighteenth century, the Phipps family prospered. As Joseph’s children grew and married several houses were built on the family lands. Some farmland was divided, but the  “home farm” and approximately 400 acres remained intact through the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century witnessed the growth of a new agricultural industry – the dairy farm. Chester County became known for its dairy farms. By the 1880’s, 85 individually owned dairy farms prospered in Uwchlan Township. The Phipps families owned several. 

Happy Days Farm is the only farm property that remained in the Phipps family for more than two centuries. Members of the Phipps family were active in several area churches including Uwchlan Society of Friends and Windsor Baptist Church. Phipps participated in the organizing and prosperity of the Uwchlan Grange. Residents of this early farm accomplished their goals. They may not have been famous, but they were excellent examples of nineteenth century Pennsylvania farmers.

This is Uwchlan Township for Happy Days Farm, I believe. But what happens here doesn’t just affect the tenant farmers and the residents of Uwchlan Township, it affects all of us in Chester County.

It’s like we don’t matter anymore. Existing residents don’t matter anymore. It’s just all about the crazy race for development.

Like Lloyd Farm in Caln, Happy Days is part of an original Penn Land Grant, correct?

Why doesn’t that mean something anymore?

Chester County wasn’t founded for fields of Tyvek boxes and strip malls and apartment buildings.

And look at the stresses on our infrastructure now. And someone else said to me recently that people talk about the stresses on the roads and the first responders and the school districts but they don’t talk about things like the stress on the hospitals. They said:

….the strain is here and growing. I work in an ER and this week we have gone on pre-divert and divert status 3x. The hospital is full and people are being admitted but have to stay in the ER since we have no beds upstairs….several patients ask …why the wait is so long and I discuss with them the issue of the exponential population growth due to poor planning of high density housing all around the area. When I start listing the neighborhoods then they suddenly understand why we are facing a crisis.

Again, also look at the school districts. Isn’t Great Valley looking to expand and build more schools? And what of Downingtown School District? Isn’t there a whisper of eminent domain floating around as they also need land to expand and build more schools? And hasn’t the West Chester Area School District got plans in place for yet another elementary school over near or in that Greystone development? And what about Tredyffrin? How long before they need more schools or need to expand?

Chester County, now more than ever, the agricultural and equine heritage and open space HAS to matter! Residents have to matter! The future has to matter!

We are literally in the midst of a development glut, right? So what happens when this developmental gold rush is over?

No one ever talks about that. I do not believe it is everyone will settle in and get along nicely. I think we are setting ourselves up as communities for decades of problems going forward because there is no balance or sane pace to development.

And this is why I don’t like development. And why I am not a fan of organizations like the Chester County Planning Commission and their Landscapes plans. In my humble opinion, which I am allowed, this “build it and they will come” attitude is problematic. What happens when all of “they” come? It looks pretty on schematics and diagrams and plans to be shown at municipal meetings, but what is the reality? My opinion is in reality we’re not going to be able to handle it because we can’t handle it now and how is that progress?

I don’t know what else to say other than if we can’t stop the madness, we need to stem the tide. This is getting crazy. And happy days farm just makes me sad. Especially because it is still a working farm and farmers matter.

I’m getting off my soapbox now. I really didn’t intend for this to be such a long post and there’s nothing I can do personally to stop this from happening but I can express how I feel about it. At least the First Amendment still gives me that right.

To Happy Days Farm and the generations and families who have farmed you, including the current family, I say my heart broke a little more over this news. I am so terribly sorry that as human beings we can’t do better to preserve what our founding fathers fought and bled for out here.

Chester County we have to do better.

this is chester county

This photo was taken yesterday while a friend was driving by Lloyd Farm in Caln.

No, Lloyd Farm is not saved. But apparently a tenant farmer is back.

This is the Chester County we lose with every development. This is why many, many brave souls are boarding a bus at 6 AM May 6th to go to Pittsburgh for Crebilly.

Yes, Pittsburgh. It’s not uncommon for court calendars to fill up and apparently they’re jammed around here. But I am told if the developer had agreed to the venue not going to Pittsburgh it could have been closer and wow, right ?

Here is the information on how to ride the bus from Mindy:

Dear Friends,

This is a reminder that the next court date for oral argument in the Toll Brother’s appeal will be held:

MONDAY, MAY 6TH, 1PM

Allegheny County Courthouse

Room #313

436 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, PA  15219

Thanks to Randell Spackman of Thornbury Farm (who also happens to be my wonderful cousin), a chartered bus has been arranged for those that wish to attend but prefer not to drive.  Here are the details:

*Bus departs from Thornbury Farm Market at 6AM:  1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester  (http://thornburyfarmcsa.com

*Cost of the bus is $45 per person/round trip

*Bus will return the same day

*Free parking at Thornbury Farm

*Here is the link to purchase bus tickets:

https://crebillybustopittsburgh.brownpapertickets.com/

Friends, please do not miss this great opportunity to support the Westtown Township Supervisors and Township Solicitor Patrick McKenna in their brave battle to preserve the national, historic view shed from our Revolutionary War on Crebilly Farm (part of the Brandywine Battlefield) and prevent over-development in an already saturated region of Chester County.  We need bodies in the court room.  We need MASSIVE PUBLIC OUTCRY!!!  A full court room of supporters will speak volumes without saying a word.  It will send a clear message to the panel of judges that indeed we care and we are standing up for what is right.  Please contact any friends and family you have in the Pittsburgh area and ask them to attend this very important court appeal.

Together we have come so far and I thank all of you for your efforts.

We must keep going.

If not you, then who?

Sincerely,

Mindy Rhodes

Neighbors for Crebilly had the following to say:

Tell our Commonwealth Court Judges in Pittsburgh how much Chester County residents feel about their Quality of Life. Attend the oral arguments on Monday, May 6 at 1pm with your neighbors – all headed to Pittsburgh.

Several groups and interested parties are all working together to make a statement and presence by filling up the courtroom in Pittsburgh. We’ll fill one bus first and then start on the second. If we don’t reach a threshold number to fill the second bus, we will refund your ticket purchase. The coach holds 54 passengers.

With that said, tickets are $45 each.

First come, first served.

Your ticket is your placeholder, reservation.

No ticket purchased, no seat on the bus – we have to make this easy to manage – we’re all volunteers and need to be fair to all.

You will need a ticket to board. Print-at-home tickets or mobile tickets supplied at purchase.

We anticipate leaving Thornbury Farm, 1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester, PA 19318 at 6am and will return from Pittsburgh between 4-5 pm. It is a long day for everyone and to be compliant, the motor coach company will staff two drivers for your safety. Coffee and refreshments will be available for the ride out. Convenient parking at Spackman Farm.

Please post and share this simple ticket purchase URL: https://m.bpt.me/event/4224737

Not every piece of land or old house can be saved. That is the reality. But some of these properties don’t have to become developments.

And with these remaining big parcels in Chester County, I don’t understand why these families can’t put at least part of the land into conservation and preservation and not just turn everything over to a mega housing developer.

People want to tell us that we need all this development. We don’t. And all this development is causing other issues in our communities.

Between pipelines and residential developers, Chester County is becoming a war zone.

It’s time to start gathering within our individual communities and telling our elected officials we don’t want so much development.

We also need to band together as Chester county residents and tell the Chester County Planning Commission and Chester County Commissioners and anyone else who we can get to listen that we don’t want so much development.

Thanks for stopping by.

tragic photos of the desecration of lloyd farmhouse

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Submitted by Anthony, a photographer

A blog reader named Anthony has sent in this marvelous set of photos of Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse I posting here.  It is all so tragic. Before I load up the photos, please enjoy this summary history courtesy of Chester Couny Author Historian and Artist, Catherine Quillman:

Lloyd Farm, also known as Valley Brook Farm, has been a community landmark that has spanned generations of change in the Downingtown/Caln Township region. The farm itself sits one of the last remaining parcels from a William Penn land grant dating to 1651 . 

According to a Chester County architectural inventory listing historic resources, this former “estate farm” is comprised of stone farmstead with a 18th-century core and 19th-century alternations and additions of exceptional architectural style. It is one of the few area properties that has retained much of its original plantings and specimen trees as well as its open space and historic landscape, complete with a tree-lined long entrance way and a circular drive with a mounting block at the front of the house.

The nearby historic one-lane Lloyd Bridge spanning the Beaver Creek and Lloyd Park, a 30-acre “dog” park given by the Lloyd family to Caln Township in 1969, have added to property’s community status as a beloved landmark.

As a virtual theater of Chester County’s history, Lloyd Farm has adapted through the years. Its early ownership reflects the region’s influx of Irish Quaker immigrants from the 1720s to 1750s; the 19th century local industries that included farming, dairying, and quarrying; and the era of the “gentleman” farm when it was owned by William McClure Lloyd, a Harvard graduate and Philadelphia stockbroker.

Lloyd’s great grandfather, John K Eshleman, a physician and botanist, made the Lloyd Farm famous as one of the few documented sites on the “Underground Railroad.” Eshleman, who began helping escaped slaves in 1840 while living in Lancaster County, became a key “stationmaster” after he moved to Caln in 1848 and joined other Quaker neighbors to form what has been called the “northern” route through Chester County.

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Also of note are  videos out there on Lloyd Farm:

Lloyd Farm and what is happening in Caln should be a wake-up call to preservationists and residents throughout Pennsylvania, not just Chester County.

Historic Preservation can’t just be a cute pair of buzzwords, they have  to mean something. And in order for it to mean something changes have to occur in a top-down approach starting in Harrisburg with the laws that govern us.

We need a complete overhaul of the Municipalities Planning Code, that archaic outdated state-level bible that guides the planning and zoning within our individual communities throughout the state whether we want it to or not.

This state level bible, the Municipalities Planning Code, has not been comprehensively updated in too damn long. (There were some 2007 updates you can look at here.) They need to re-define historic preservation, land preservation, open space preservation, suburbs, and exurbs just to name a few things which come to mind.

Furthermore, our elected official even on the most local of levels through to Harrisburg and Washington DC should serve their constituencies, not special interest groups, and not their own political ambitions. If they cannot accomplish that, as we are seeing in Caln Township now and elsewhere, they need to be replaced.

We are losing on a daily basis what makes Chester County so special. We are losing land, we are losing our amazing architecture, we are losing history, our equine and agricultural traditions as we are losing the very farms that put food on our tables!

Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse could still be saved, but I don’t think it will be. We need to learn from this and act. And that starts with changing the faces of those who govern us. Wherever we live, we deserve government representation that fights for the residents, supports the residents.

I also think our county planning commission should have a Chester County resident as it’s executive director and at present, it does not. Someone who doesn’t live here, doesn’t get it.

Finally of note, the historic Witmer’s map of Caln:

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barbarians at the gate…of lloyd farm

 

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Social media has totally amped up since earlier this afternoon and Caln residents and historic preservationists and history buffs all over Chester County are SO upset.  I am upset right along with them. The raping and pillaging of a historic house before demolition has begun.

1757.  The Lloyd Farm farmhouse was built in 1757.  We weren’t even a country yet.  I could just cry it’s so awful.

Yes….sadly, the barbarians have arrived at the proverbial gates of Lloyd farm.

Today, hours ago, people started getting messages that salvagers were in the house ripping away. Hardware, mantlepieces, doors, paneling, trim, you name it. Going going until it’s gone, right?

52926870_773931022988143_1379312911565979648_nReaders, I didn’t want to be right about what is happening here, but sadly my gut instinct when I first heard about this is coming true. This is just like Addison Mizner’s La Ronda in Bryn Mawr all over again. I don’t understand people that take houses down not because they have to but because they can, do you?

Much as was the case with La Ronda (and I was there then), residents came over today to Lloyd Farm on a sacred pilgrimage to say good-bye.  As you can see, residents have sent me LOTS of photos.

(I will note again however that in the case of La Ronda (which was in Lower Merion Township also a first class township like Caln ), the commissioners in Lower Merion and their township staff were 100% supportive of their residents wishing to save La Ronda – the township wanted it saved too.  Mind you, you can’t say that about Caln, can you?)

53039138_301373790444613_7807780605986340864_nSomething I find profoundly disturbing looking at the photos is whomever the people were inside the house salvaging today have seemingly broken every window in the house and WHY????? Why be common vandals? Every salvager and antique and scrap dealer will tell you there is big money in intact 18th century windows complete with glass, so why wanton destruction? Sadly my opinion is they do it because they can. Today’s salvaging was described to me as like ripping limbs off a body. And they weren’t very bright because of the hardware and shutter dogs and things they left behind based on the photos I saw.

 

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These resident submitted photos are probably the last ones you will ever see of this farmhouse standing.  Next I will get the demolition photos and I will post those too.  People also went to visit the Lloyd graves today.  They aren’t on site.  They told me they went to the graveyard to pay their respects and to apologize for the destruction of their beautiful home.

And speaking of graves, are there graves actually on Lloyd Farm given the fact people have lived on that land since when? 1682 if you count the Penn land grant? And isn’t their a limestone quarry on the site too? But if their are graves discovered during construction, then what? Will the remains be respectfully removed elsewhere or just plowed under to haunt the development?

This developer is apparently a local guy. He has other businesses and is it true he lives in West Whiteland Township? He has a development in Delaware that looks like a plastic Lego land. Which of course is great if you’re in elementary school, but after that it just looks…fake and plastic.

img_3118-1Caln Township has zero respect for their historic commission or their residents or the history being lost, can’t you agree?  The commissioners in Caln will wring their hands and say they couldn’t do anything. Well if course not, because when exactly is it they do anything productive and for the benefit of their residents at all?

(Here is where I am pausing to remind those commissioners and their solicitor that no one in Washington DC has repealed the First Amendment yet, so if I want to have the public opinion that they are a bunch of turds, it’s legal.)

262 years of history are about to become dust. And there are even more years if you count the fact that the land itself that the farmhouse sits on is part of a Penn land grant. And what about the Underground Railroad history? That links this site to Glen Isle, correct?

 

53211079_268640844029190_829416385959428096_nI wish I could say something really intelligent here but I just think this totally sucks. I don’t understand people that have to destroy history when they don’t have to.

The residents of Caln Township have to stay vigilant. And they need to replace every single commissioner until they are all gone. Every last one of them. And once all of the commissioners are replaced they need a new township structure from the inside out don’t they?

I will further note that people need to look at any new candidates coming forward for public office carefully. For example, I would not be too jazzed about “endorsed” Republicans. As a former Republican when the real ones return to the party then maybe I won’t say that. However, don’t discount truly independent candidates from either the Republican or Democrat party.  A candidate who is not endorsed is often preferred in many places. Caln, you want independent thinkers and they don’t need to have zippy little bow ties, either.

These are the current Caln Commissioners and when their term expires (and YES I can name them they are publicly elected officials):

Jennifer Breton – term expires 2019

George Chambers – term expires 2019

Joshua Young – term expires 2021

John Contento – term expires 2021

Lorraine Tindaro- term expires 2021

Follow this link to learn about the appointed officials and other township personnel. And explain to me again why they saved Ingleside Golf Club and can they afford it? And what about the Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission? 

Lloyd Farm doesn’t have to die. It truly doesn’t. But it is. Today is proof.

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Also upsetting? Once again  Chester County’s history and architectural heritage hasn’t been sexy enough for media to really cover. And I understand the realities of media today whether it’s television or print journalism (what’s left of it) but media gives people a voice and things that are important aren’t just about what’s going on in the cities, whatever is going on in Washington D.C. , drugs and murder.

Sadly and pathetically, this situation is playing out all over Chester County and Southeastern Pennsylvania. This kind of crappy ass development, infill or not is why I moved off of the Main Line. But now I am sadly realizing more and more every day that it doesn’t matter where you move to this plague known as over-development is just following all of us. Everywhere.

Our history, our heritage, our open space, our agricultural traditions and past, they all matter. And they keep disappearing more every day.

And the loss of Lloyd Farm should be a rallying point. Enough is enough.

Many thanks to the residents who sent in the photos, and signed me completely and utterly disgusted.

Our history shouldn’t always belong to the bulldozer and wrecking ball. It just  shouldn’t.

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meanwhile back at lloyd farm in caln

Readers keep sending me photos of Lloyd Farm and I am grateful. A little dose of vertigo has kept me grounded.

Lloyd Farm. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? This is insanity that this farm house is coming down. Much like La Ronda in Bryn Mawr around 2009, it is a place that doesn’t have to come down, it’s a choice isn’t it?

La Ronda was in Lower Merion Township, which like Caln is a First Class Township. A big distinction is however, that Lower Merion agreed with residents that La Ronda should have been saved. Can we just say plainly that it seems like Caln doesn’t give a crap?

Other things about this site I wonder about is have they checked for graves? I have also heard people say that given the 200 + years of people living on the property there may be burial grounds and is this true?

I think it’s the wrong choice to tear down Lloyd Farm’s farmhouse. I am a defender of private property rights but this is NOT just about private property and somebody exercising their rights. This is about development superseding history.

And I’m sure that Caln’s commissioners and lovely solicitor really would prefer none of us were talking about Lloyd Farm, but how can we not? The Lloyd family gave and did much where they called home didn’t they?

How can we not wonder what it will take to slow the pace of development in Chester County?

Our county is being destroyed. Not all developments are bad but when is the last time we saw one that was thoughtful? They mostly seem like they are all about just cramming as many structures on the property as humanly possible and developers wherever moving onto their next projects.

And this property which as I’ve written before is part of a Penn land grant, has an 18th-century farmhouse that’s historically important with an equally important 1910 addition completed and designed by a noted Philadelphia architect also with ties to Chester County. The history is undeniable.

In 1982 it could have become historically recognized but it never happened. Why?

Lloyd Farm via the familial history is linked to yet another local treasure, Glen Isle.

I am told this developer whom I do not know and was never really aware of before is a local guy. I don’t understand why as a local guy he can’t see what a good thing it would be to save the farmhouse and a little bit of the land around it? I will go back to my point that even Toll Brothers saves the occasional farmhouse in their developments.

Now let’s talk about Caln Township for a hot minute. Time for the residents to change the faces of who govern them every election until they are gone. I don’t know who those commissioners in Caln are working for but it’s certainly not the residents is it? And what about the appointed officials there? Who are they working for? Maybe it’s time to change them up as well, huh? But you have to flip the board of commissioners in order to be able to do that don’t you?

Anyway these are photos that have been sent to me over the past couple of days which are in this post.

I urge residents to keep cool heads. You have every right to be angry about what is happening in Caln. Keep the faith, Caln residents.

I keep saying it but will say it again: our history should not always belong to the wrecking ball and bulldozer.

#SaveLloydFarm

#ThisPlaceMatters

what is really going on in caln township with lloyd farm?

Many thanks to Abandoned Steve Explorations for the use of his gorgeous photo of Lloyd Farm in Caln Township.

Abandoned Steve Explorations took the glorious photo I am opening this post with. I am positively obsessed with the cool structures he covers. He was nice enough to lend us the use of this photo it’s part of an upcoming project. You can find him on Facebook , his website, and YouTube.

Lloyd Farm is haunting me. Part of a Penn Land Grant, dating its origins to the 1600s.

(See this history by Edward C. Lendrat)

Then there is the 18th Century farmhouse with an equally historic 1901 addition.

What am I talking about? 1757 was when the farmhouse was originally built and 1910 when the Lloyd family commissioned Gilbert McIlvaine the Philadelphia architect to build a “modern” addition that paid homage and melded with the original farmhouse. Mr. McIlvaine maintained a home in Downingtown for many years and was also active in the Boy Scouts founding several troops I am told in Chester County.

Back to Lloyd Farm…except the people who have called it home or who had something to do with it are important to the very fabric of Lloyd Farm’s history.

Yesterday I learned surprising news when a copy of an old historic preservation application was unearthed from the early 1980s – possibly 1982. Yes – seriously – Lloyd Farm Application for Historic Designation: PA Historic Resource Form Circa 1982.

From this form we learned quite a few things including that Lloyd Farm around or before the Civil War was a freaking stop on the Underground Railroad!

It’s just crazy and you have to ask what in the heck is going on in Caln Township? How long have these commissioners known the history of Lloyd Farm and why didn’t that historic designation proceed? Why wasn’t it pursued for a national historical status?

Did I mention the demolition permit? There is one. And what is with the date mismatch in that letter thing?

I don’t live in Caln. I do know amusingly enough like Lower Merion Township , it’s a First Class Township. But who runs the Township? Because it surely doesn’t seem like the elected commissioners does it? I know in Lower Merion Township years ago because I was part of it when the residents rose up after having had enough over the threat of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore that we flipped half of the board of commissioners in one election.

And Caln residents are upset about this.

Really upset.

I want to know why the developer wants to tear down the house don’t you? Is this going to be like the death of Addison Mizner’s La Ronda in Bryn Mawr, PA? A case where a magnificent home was torn down for salvage just because someone could?

Caln resident submitted photo.

Look at the historic comparables in Chester County that are actually getting saved and restored: West Whiteland Inn, Exton. Benjamin Jacobs House, Exton. Fox Chase Inn and Barn, Exton. Linden Hall, Malvern (even if I don’t like some of what is being done it’s being saved, finally.) Loch Aerie, Malvern. The Jenny Lind House, Yellow Springs Village.

Also to be considered? Several Toll Brothers projects including in Chester County where similar vintage farmhouses and/or barns have been or are being saved. Now it is no secret how I feel about Toll Brothers developments, but if even they can preserve historic structures on properties they are developing why couldn’t the developer for Lloyd Farm do that? Or why couldn’t they contemplate something like selling off the farmhouse with a small plot of land around it to someone who might want to preserve it and live in it or something like that?

Caln resident submitted photo.

I don’t have the answers and every day I have more and more questions. This is one of those situations I just don’t get it. I just don’t get what is going on here. I don’t understand why this property isn’t more valued for the centuries of history involved here?

Our history should not always belong to the wrecking ball.

That’s all I have got.

#SaveLloydFarm #ThisPlaceMatters

Caln resident submitted photo.

lloyd farmhouse STILL not secured! caln township are you listening?

My friend Robin Ashby sent me some entirely too heartbreaking photos from Lloyd Farm. This is what he had to say to people about a visit there this weekend:

Historic Stewardship involves documenting a site before it becomes the next High Density housing project, raising awareness and speaking out – Nestled in Downingtown is a parcel dating back to Penn’s Land Grant Charter of the late 1600s. The ruins of the barn and outbuildings are stunning examples of stonework using Downingtown Blue Limestone from 1800 -1940, overgrown formal gardens in which one finds one of the largest (and oldest) Japanese Maples in Pennsylvania sit waiting to be brought back to life. The farmhouse is circa 1795 and is rapidly disintegrating, but has 8+ bedrooms and beautiful architectural elements.

This will shortly become high rise, high density commercial/residential housing for 1000+ new residents. The fields will be gone, the fox, deer and birds will find other habitat.

Of course, we have the ability to speak up and say that this doesn’t have to happen quite like this. Caln Township will discuss this project on February 12 at their meeting, DAHS (Downingtown Area Historical Society) suggests that you attend and listen.

What in the hell is wrong with Caln Township and whomever the developer is? Literally a week ago I wrote about this as then people were also inside the historic farmhouse on thr property because it was wide open and not properly secured.

It’s like someone doesn’t want this farmhouse to survive do they?

Japanese Maples are among my favorite trees! And who knew this property had the oldest one? Or had at one time such fabulous gardens? Who has old garden photos to share???

Here is the info on the upcoming meeting:

And again, many thanks to Robin Ashby for the photos. Here are some more: