As we all know Loch Aerie was rescued from literal ruin by the lovely Poirier family. And I do mean that compliment most sincerely as they are truly awesome and nice!
East Whiteland Township worked through the plans and whatnot with the owners and the new ballroom construction is underway!
To the historical purists this is probably not what they want to see but we have to be realistic: for a lot of these fabulous historic structures adaptive reuse is what keeps them from the wrecking ball.
I love this house and I have been fortunate to have been invited inside since they began the renovations to the existing structure.
Loch Aerie is becoming an event venue. Weddings and other types of parties, with a catering kitchen. They will have an on-site caterer for people to work with for their events last time I checked, and I am super excited to see this project moving forward!
Last fall Loch Aerie was even on the Chester County Day tour!
I had to stop at Home Depot this afternoon, so I thought I would take a peek and I think what’s happening is so wonderful and I just sort of stood there and grinned. The first time I saw the restored interior I cried.
With all the awful development we see ruining Chester County and every time we shed tears over historic structures being torn down, this is something I keep coming back to because it just makes me so happy. And I’m not the only one that is so happy to know that there are people out there who care about the structures and the history.
Loch Aerie has a bright future and that’s amazing. Adaptive reuse works. Historic preservation is possible.
Today I went to St. Paul’s in Exton for the Loving Our Earth Expo. It was a lot of fun and they had interesting vendors and terrific speakers including Mike McGrath from You Bet Your Garden.
While I was there, I decided to find the Lockwood family whom are buried in the graveyard adjacent to the church.
St. Paul’s is quite old and was started around 1827. It actually was apparently and offshoot of one of my favorite churches Old St. David’s Radnor. It was consecrated by Bishop William White in 1829. I will note they could probably use some angels to get some of the headstones in that graveyard repaired.
The Lockwood family are the people for whom Loch Aerie was built. I have been meaning to visit their graves for a few years, so today I made the time for it and I’m glad I did. I will also note one of the newer buildings is named after the Lockwood sisters.
Today I went to Loch Aerie to drop off my “housewarming gift” —- my big Loch Aerie print by Christopher Schultz and he is or was a Chester County Artist. The print belongs there. (I wish I knew more about the artist!)
The house is so happy she’s smiling. I know it sounds crazy but you can feel the difference in the house now that she has a family that so loves her once again.
The house will be used as a venue space. It is privately, not publicly owned, so please be respectful of that.
Loch Aerie is a jewel and god bless the Poiriers for saving her.
Late yesterday, almost like the perfect birthday present, George W. Pyle, Jr. sent me more photos of my favorite old lady, Loch Aerie/Lockwood Mansion. The photos came with a note:
These photos were taken in 1991. My family and I were back visiting relatives and I saw some people standing out in front of the house so I took a chance and drove in to speak with them. The person living there with his family at the time was Anthony Alden. Mr. Alden was an architect. He allowed me to walk around the property and take pictures. I have 23 photo total.
Anthony (“Tony”) Alden is an architectural curator who loved Loch Aerie and put buckets of his own money into her from around 1980 until the mid 2000s when he moved out. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2016:
In 1980, architectural curator Anthony Alden moved into a Loch Aerie with boarded-up windows and no heat. He sank thousands into its restoration, hoping to buy it from the Tabases. Alden called it an “undertaking of love” but was unable to reach an agreement with the Tabas family. He moved out in the mid-2000s.
Before he left, Alden joined with a group of residents, environmentalists, and historical commission members who fought to keep Home Depot at bay when it bought land next door to build a store in the mid-1990s. The historical commission negotiated to minimize the impact to the house, Caban said. But its gas works were removed, and the pond and much of its grounds were paved over.
These photos are truly amazing to see and they show Loch Aerie BEFORE Home Depot when the beautiful old fountain still worked and the pond existed. Remnants of the original Lockwood Gardens still existed.
After looking at the photos, and knowing the history which includes two fires (one believed to have been started by vagrants), it is truly a testament to how she was built and her architect Addison Hutton that she survived.
If you drive by Loch Aerie, as I do weekly, you will notice work is progressing nicely. The lovely new owners had hoped to be opened by this spring, but if you have ever lived through an old house restoration or an adaptive reuse, you will know that it takes it’s own time. I am so grateful to the Poirier family for taking on the restoration. It makes me so happy every time I drive by!
Here are the photos:
George W. Pyle, Jr. took the above photo in 1963. Next is same room, taken by me in 2016.
Next is another photo taken by George W. Pyle Jr. in 1963. The little dots are basically age spots on the 1963 negatives. What follows is a photo of the same room that I took in 2017.