File under longer letter later but I just had to share: I was invited to tour an AMAZING adaptive reuse by the new owners of the historic Fox Chase Inn on Swedesford Road in West Whiteland just before the intersection of Ship Road.
I have written about the Fox Chase Inn and its equally gorgeous neighbor the Benjamin Jacobs House before. Both are being restored. Both are being restored by people who care enough to do it right and who reside there.
I will post more photos at a later time but I just wanted to say WOW!!!! It is a beautiful restoration! Every township manager and supervisor in Chester County should look at what is happening in West Whiteland. Actual historic preservation and adaptive reuse.
The Fox Chase Inn on Swedesford Road was the first licensed public house in West Whiteland township, acquiring its first tavern license in 1786. Prior to that time, it had been a family home and, briefly, from 1775 to 1778, the home and workship of Eli Bentley, a well-known clockmaker. John Quinn was the owner by 1783 and after securing his license for the tavern, continued to run the public house until his death in 1793. David Williams was the new owner and he rented the inn to Thomas Cummins who ran it until 1800. After that time, no further petitions for license were filed for the Fox Chase.
The Goshenville Historic District is significant for religion and community development within the context of early Quaker settlement and community development patterns in Chester County. Goshenville literally grew up around a Quaker meetinghouse after being settled in the first decade of the eighteenth century. It also was developed in response to the needs of the largely Quaker agricultural community surrounding it. As a village, Goshenville supplied basic needs of this community – places for worship, cemeteries, a blacksmith/wheelwright shop, a post office, a school, a mill, a general store and a grange, all situated along an important transportation route. It would also offer area residents with the services of a doctor, lawyer, and several trades, as well as the local seat of government. Large Quaker families, particularly the Garrett family, heavily influenced its development. Significant for religion, Goshenville is the story of Quaker religion, tradition and history and its influence on its community development patterns and architecture……Quaker Settlement and Development as part of the 40,000 acre “Welsh Tract”, the area that became Goshenville began to be settled in 1683. In that year, Edward Jones and 17 Welsh Quaker families left the then frontier outpost of Edgemont south of the district and entered into the undeveloped wilderness of Chester County. They settled around what would eventually become North Chester Road. “Goshenville” was derived from the Biblical name “Goshen”, a promised land named by the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Then part of Westtown Township, Goshen Township – a name adopted from Goshenville and the only municipality in Chester County with a Biblical name – was organized in 1704. It was split into East and West Goshen Townships 1817. North Chester Road, which connected the village to the city of Chester to the south, was laid out in 1693 and in place by 1699. It was extended north to Frazer in the first decade of the eighteenth century.
The event I went to had a focus on the Civil War, and women on the home front. The volunteers were pleasant and knowledgable and there were even demonstrations. My favorite were the sewing ladies. What I found so amazing was that East Goshen Township as a municipality is so invested in the local historical preservation. As opposed to where I moved from (Lower Merion Township) they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.
Being around historic Goshenville in part reminded me of one of my favorite historic sites, Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. Harriton is a little slice of heaven thanks to decades of hard work on the part of her curator and Executive Director, Bruce Cooper Gill.
The event was enjoyed by yound and old, and it was a terrific learning experience!