ebenezer ame church – bacton hill road

Ebenezer AME Church on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, PAThanks to Pete Kennedy of Malvern Patch I know the identity of a ruin I like to photograph from the road on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer.

So sad.

It is an abandoned church that had historical importance to the area: Ebenezer AME Church.  I hate when this happens, and it makes me think of a whole slew of at risk churches.

Historical Photo Location Revealed: Ebenezer AME Church

The church, now crumbling, is on Bacton Hill Road.

By Pete Kennedy Email the author September 27, 2012

Last week’s historical photo challenge didn’t offer much in the way of contextual clue, but one reader got it right.

JoAnn Richardson hit the nail on the head with this comment:

This is Ebenezer AME Church on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, PA. There is a cemetary on the property as well.

That’s correct. The church was built circa 1835 and is still barely standing today.

Apparently the oldest grave stones in the cemetery date back to the 1830s.  An Eagle Scout named Matthew Nehring had been working on uncovering the gravestones. (Have no idea if his project is finished.) According to the photos it appears some of the dead buried here are soldiers and veterans. One gravestone is for a Joshua Johnson  (Pvt., Co. K, 45th Reg., United States Colored Troops (USCT) (Civil War). I find this to be incredibly historically significant as the army began to organize African Americans into regimental units known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in 1863.

According to the East Whiteland Historical Society (which I am not sure what they do because all I see are historic structures rotting in East Whiteland) this church used to serve as a “hub” of African American society in Frazer.  So why isn’t any of it being protected?

The church was used through into the 20th century as per Patch and the information from East Whiteland, and now it is abandoned.  So who owns the graveyard and the church?  In Radnor, the Radnor Historical Society has been caring for the historically important and abandoned First Baptist Cemetery off Conestoga Road.  They have gotten volunteers to help keep weeds in check and right upended grave stones.  So why is it that East Whiteland always seems to be Johnny on the Spot for historical data yet all this stuff just rots?

I understand completely that you can’t save every old house or church, but wow, people including soldiers who fought and served are buried here.  Show them some respect. Shame on East Whiteland for not trying to find avenues of preservation for this and other sites.

I think I am going to go back out there and photograph graves when the weather improves and the ground isn’t so soft from rain. But who owns the land? Is it truly abandoned?

malvern train station: all that $ spent and still not ADA accessible?

malvern 3Wow.  Way to go Pete Kennedy from Malvern Patch!  Millions of tax dollars were spent on making SEPTA’s Malvern Train Station new and improved….and I thought that meant fully ADA accessible. Only, as Malvern Patch is reporting it is NOT truly  ADA accessible after all.

SEPTA seems to have provided Patch with some amazing non-answers.  I find it absolutely astounding that train stations are being reconstructed at the tune of millions and millions in tax dollars, grants, you name it and they are supposed to be new, improved, shiny, and ADA accessible…only they aren’t?


Malvern Patch: Wheelchair Users Can’t Board Trains in Malvern, Despite Ramps/How can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train? They can’t, SEPTA said.

ByPete Kennedy Email the author 5:30 am

A Malvern Patch reader who watched the $9.2 million renovation of the Malvern SEPTA station has been wondering something.

Rob Anderson, a daily rail commuter for more than 12 years, writes:

[T]hey installed all the ADA required ramps, etc. and that is great.  But, how can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train?  Has SEPTA made any indication of how they are going to install ramps for riders to get on/off the train?

We reached out to SEPTA, and spokesperson Kristin Geiger explained that there’s currently no way for someone in a wheelchair to board the train in Malvern, despite the many new ramps. They can, however, request free transportation from Malvern to a nearby station with a high-level platform

You can read the full SEPTA response on Malvern Patch.

malvernSo how are the railroads accountable exactly?  Shouldn’t they be fined and forced to remediate? I pretty much just asked Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that question a few moments ago as he wrote a rather large article the other day about the Paoli Station makeover which is moving forward.  If all new and reinvented, rebuilt, repurposed train stations are supposed to be ADA accessible, why aren’t they? I mean ask anyone who opens a business that has public rest rooms for example.  They can’t just say “oops we’ll add handicap accessible bathrooms later” can they ? So why is it any different for public transit entities like AMTRAK and SEPTA?

According to AAPD Of the nearly 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 never leave home because of transportation difficulties

I can tell you off the top of my head in addition to Paoli, Bryn Mawr and Ardmore train stations are not ADA accessible.  So now Malvern is back on that list after a very expensive face lift that included all sorts of fancy ramps.  I was using Malvern station a great deal almost two years ago now when being treated for breast cancer. It was so difficult for me to navigate, and I kept thinking that at least at the end of the project people with temporary and permanent disabilities would be better served when the renovation was complete.

I am utterly amazed that Malvern Borough did not stay on top of this project to ensure ADA compliance, but should I be surprised?  Malvern Borough has some of the worst sidewalks I have ever seen in their downtown, so obviously ADA compliance is not a huge priority is it? Maybe it will be when someone trips on a sidewalk and sues the borough?

I figure I would bring this up now, given the money about to be spent in Paoli on a new train station. I am thrilled that this project is moving forward as in Ardmore there is nothing transit related happening with regard to THAT train station project and one can assume people will be riding Dranoff condos or apartments into Center City Philadelphia.  The Paoli project will remove that hideously dangerous and outmoded North Valley Road bridge, but Paoli Train Station has serious ADA issues now, so will the station be ADA compliant?

Part of why these train stations are getting makeovers isn’t just parking and aesthetics, the functionality is supposed to be bought current.  I guess I just don’t understand the thinking of SEPTA with regard to Malvern and wonder why they can’t just do something right the first time?

To quote the AAPD again:

Transportation and The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the landmark civil rights law that addresses the rights of people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail (subways, commuter trains, etc.). Under the ADA; all new vehicles used in public transit must be accessible; key existing rail stations and all new rail stations and facilities must be accessible; and transit operators must provide paratransit (on-demand, door-to-door) services for those who cannot use available mass transit.


Twenty years after passage of the ADA, transportation choices for people with disabilities are still limited. The ADA has led to major improvements in transit systems across the United States. However, there are persistent gaps in compliance that continue to create significant barriers for people with disabilities. In addition, because the ADA only addresses public transportation, few transportation options exist for people with disabilities where no public transportation is available. In some areas, such as in rural communities, insufficient funding has left people with disabilities with little or no transportation options. In urban areas, where individuals often rely on accessible taxis, a lack of requirements has meant very uneven progress.

wow malvern borough sure is confusing….


File under who’s on first and comings and goings – One chief leaving, old chief suing…good thing East Whiteland always has someone to spare for Malvern Borough….

Police Chief to Leave Malvern PD

Chief Mark Ercole will leave the Malvern Police Department in June, and it’s not clear who will take his place.

By Pete Kennedy Email the author 1:00 am

Malvern Police Chief Mark Ercole will return to the East Whiteland Police Department when the contract that brought him to the borough expires in June.

At a Borough Council meeting Tuesday night, Malvern Mayor Jerry McGlone said that Ercole had “respectfully requested that the borough not re-up the contract.” Ercole was an EWPD lieutenant when the borough and East Whiteland Township struck a one-year contract in 2012 for his services as police chief.

The borough is pursuing a similar contract with East Whiteland Township to bring another EWPD officer on as chief, but no plans have been finalized.



Main Line Suburban Life > News

Fired Malvern police chief files lawsuit against the borough; heads to hearing

Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013

By Richard Ilgenfritz

The former Malvern police chief who was fired from his position last year has filed a federal lawsuit against borough and both sides are due in court Wednesday for a hearing in front of federal District Judge Joel H. Slomsky.

In November, Michael McMahon filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia naming the borough of Malvern, the individual members of the borough council and the mayor as defendants.

Wednesday morning both sides were scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on the borough’s motion to dismiss on grounds that McMahon failed to state a claim in the lawsuit.

In the suit, McMahon, through his attorney, Brian M. Puricelli, claims that the borough officials violated McMahon’s civil rights under the first and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution as well as Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Pennsylvania Whistle Blower Statute, and the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation act.

“The Borough acted negligently, grossly negligently, recklessly, purposefully, intentionally, and/or with deliberate indifference, causing and proximately causing injuries and harm to McMahon,” the complaint reads in part. Among the claims McMahon is arguing is that he was wrongfully terminated and cites a conspiracy on the part of borough officials….McMahon, a retired Philadelphia police officer for 26 years, was hired by the borough of Malvern to be its police chief in 2001, according to the civil complaint filed by McMahon. Prior to going to Malvern, McMahon was also a police chief in Coatesville for three years. According to his complaint, McMahon was being paid $91,000 a year with an additional $1,000 a month for health insurance at the time he was fired.


Well look on the bright side, they have a farmers’ market come spring time and maybe some day developer Eli Kahn will run for mayor…..and if we’re really lucky they will fix all those broken and heaved up sidewalks in the business district too….

no apples growing there, that’s for sure

OMG so sick of Toll! They are creating Barbie’s Plastic Dream Villages all over Chester County! And you can’t get traffic lights or directional arrows on existing lights where you need them, but Bryn Mawr Rehab gets a traffic light???

Yes indeed, much to the dismay of many, Toll Brothers got conditional approval from those ratable loving supervisors in Willistown to build more Applebrook Meadows (where are the apple trees incidentally?)

Yes, yes indeed…because you know Chester County won’t survive if Toll doesn’t add 53 more plastic homes. And as noted before, this is nothing compared to all the other Barbie’s Dream Villages they are planning for other parts of Chester County….

Once open space and farmland is gone, it’s gone.  And I still do not understand how it is the economy supports ALL this development?  After all it is not like there is not an ample housing supply is there?

Applebrook Meadows Phase II Gets Conditional Approval

The second stage of the Toll Brothers project will add 53 new homes in Willistown Township.

By Pete Kennedy Malvern Patch

The Willistown Township Board of Supervisors gave conditional land use approval to Toll Brothers to build 53 new homes in the second phase of the Applebrook Meadows development….Applebrook Meadows, located near Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital off Line Road, will eventually include 138 units in three phases. In 2011, the township approved the first phase of the development, which included 54 homes….Shoemaker, responding to a question from a resident, explained that there will be a new traffic light on Paoli Pike at the driveway to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, which will be installed by PennDOT. Shoemaker also serves on the township Planning Commission


(Please note my photo is of plastic houses farther out in Chester County, not Applebrook.  I was merely trying to make a visual point of the McPlasticness of it all)


totally insane (truck sinks in garage deck at paoli hospital)

I get Patch updates and I have to pass this along – totally insane! Good job Patch!  And seriously, makes you wonder if that entire garage should be checked for safety.

Police & Fire

Fire Truck Sinks Through Hospital Garage Deck

A Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company engine has partially fallen through a Paoli Hospital parking garage deck.

By Bob Byrne  Email the author  4:40 pm

Fire and heavy equipment crews are racing to pull a West Chester Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company truck out of danger after it partially fell through the upper deck of a parking garage at Paoli Hospital Thursday afternoon.

A Main Line Health (the corporation that owns the hospital) spokesperson tells Patch the incident happened around 1:30 Thursday afternoon.  Crews with a big-rig crane were still working to free the truck at 4:45pm.

Malvern Fire Company Chief Neil Vaughn tells Malvern Patch that a crew from the Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company was at the hospital to transport a fire company member who is being treated for cancer.

TE Patch Reader Todd Rudo sent the attached news tip photos to Patch from his cell phone.

It appears that the right rear wheels of the fire truck fell through some kind of fault in the concrete roof.

fatal crash on route 29 in charlestown

As I learn my way around Chester County, one of the things I have been doing is travelling back roads…including ones which lead to Phoenixville.

So this morning when I saw the teaser of an accident on Route 29 on Malvern Patch, I thought “uhh ohh”.

And it wasn’t just uhh ohh, it’s a fatality.

There are so many cool roads in Chester County, but a lot are windy and narrow.  I have noticed when doing these Phoenixville jaunts that drivers become impatient when you actually try to do the speed limit.  And a lot of people have a hard time staying on their sides of windy roads at times.

Here’s what Malvern  Patch and state police are saying thus far and stay tuned to Malvern Patch for updates:

Police & Fire

SUV, PennDOT Truck Involved in Fatal Crash on Route 29

State Police have not released the name of the deceased driver, pending next-of-kin notification.

By Pete Kennedy   Email the author  11:04 am

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a fatal two-vehicle  accident that occurred on Route 29 just north of the turnpike in  Charlestown Township around 7 a.m. Wednesday.


The driver of a  black Ford Explorer was killed in the crash. Police are withholding the identity of the deceased, pending next-of-kin notification.


The  other vehicle involved in the crash was a PennDOT “crew cab,” a  heavy-duty pickup truck. The three passengers in the PennDOT truck have  been taken to Paoli Hospital with unspecified, non-life-threatening injuries.


The SUV was headed south and the PennDOT truck was headed north when the crash occurred, according to Cpl. Weid of the PSP.

totally nutty in malvern

The penny-wise and pound foolish award of the week goes to Malvern Borough Council.  It is being reported by Malvern Patch that they are thinking of ditching their police department.

With all the development they have approved for the future, they will need their police force more than ever.  You can’t outsource everything and police and fire are one of those things I feel you just shouldn’t.

It’s like they just don’t want to re-negotiate the contract that expired and would rather just throw these hard-working individuals away who have faithfully served their community as opposed to roling up their sleeves and getting back to work.

When you hear about local governments discussing addled ideas like this, well it makes you want to throw away the local borough council, doesn’t it?

I hope the people of Malvern rally to save those who protect and serve.

An April 17 public hearing has been set for residents to discuss the possibility of contracting police services out to another municipality.

By Pete Kennedy   March 7, 2012

The Malvern Police Department could be disbanded and replaced by contractual services of a police department from a nearby municipality. The Borough Council floated the idea at its work session Tuesday night and scheduled a public hearing on April 17 to gather residents’ input.

“Council has considered and wants to consider openly, publicly, the possibility of providing for our police services through an alternative means than our own police department,” council president Woody Van Sciver said.

The borough’s contract with its police officers expired in December, and negotiations have been ongoing to construct a new one.

“We’re questioning whether, as a small-town police force with five full-time officers, we can really provide the complement of police services that we really need,” he said

AQUA Coming To Willistown Starting March 5th

I *hate* utility company surprises and I know from experience they often neglect to inform people, so I thought I would pass this on from Malvern Patch:

Dear Customer,

As part of our continuing infrastructure improvement program, Aqua  Pennsylvania will install a new water main on the following streets in  Willistown Township, Chester County:

  • Greentree Lane between Third Avenue and Sandy Lane
  • Sandy Lane between Paoli Pike and Greentree Lane
  • Third Avenue between Sandy Lane and Greentree Lane

The $317,000 project is scheduled to begin the week of March 5, 2012  and will involve the isntallation of 2,381 feet of 8-inch ductile iron  main, replacing the existing 6-inch cast iron main. We expect the main  installation and individual service connections to be complete in June  of 2012. The final paving restoration will be completed in July of 2012.


The work hours for the project will be 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.  The roadway will be closed in the area of construction. Access will be  provided for essential services including emergency vehicles, school  buses, and mail and trash service. Residents will have access to their  properties.

We ask that you avoid traveling through the construction zone when possible. Temporary “No Parking” signs will be posted in the area of construction during working hours.

We will notify you 24-hours in advance of a scheduled shutdown. If an emergency shutdown should occur, we will restore service as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns during the project, please  contact our Superintendent of Construction, Michael Fili at  610.430.0747. Should you have an emergency, please contact our Customer  Service Department at 1.877.WTR.AQUA.


Thank you in advance for your cooperation throughout the project.


Mark Heavener Manager Great Valley Division

If they use Utility Line Services as the subs on the job, watch them.   The other subcontractor companies like Danella aren’t so bad, but I got  stories on stories about Utility Line Services.  If you have problems, feel free to leave a comment and location and your friendly neighborhood Chester County Blogger will pass your concerns on…..this is a long project and the thing that drives me the most bananas are the gopher-like tunnels of cold patch.  They are hell on car suspensions, and if they sink, hell on tires.

The typo in the AQUA announcement is not mine.  I left it in for amusment factor purposes….

a SWAT team in willistown this week?

It’s been a busy week so I am playing news catch up.  I am floored to hear there was some kook with a gun (not a skeet shooter, or someone at a gun club range, but a kook on a porch) who caused not only an elementary school to be locked down in Willistown, but also caused a SWAT team to descend upon a residential neighborhood?

Wow.  And the only place I have seen it reported is Malvern Patch. Kinda surprised by that.

Update: Lockdown Lifted at Gen. Wayne Elementary

An alleged shooter has been taken into custody and the school’s lockdown is lifted.

ByPete Kennedy Email the author  February 6, 2012

General Wayne Elementary School was placed on lockdown Monday afternoon after police reported gunshots on a nearby street. There are no reports that any students or staff members have been injured or are in immediate danger.

S.W.A.T. Team Apprehended Sycamore Circle Shooter

The Regional Emergency Response Team took into custody the man who allegedly fired a gun Monday afternoon, sending a nearby elementary school into a state of lockdown.

ByPete Kennedy  Email the author  February 7, 2012

Police have not released the name of a Willistown man who allegedly fired a gun on Sycamore Circle, causing nearby General Wayne Elementary School to lock down just before dismissal time, around 3:30 p.m., Monday afternoon.

According to a press release from the Willistown Police Department, officers responded to a report of a subject firing a gun from his rear porch, which they found to be enclosed. When attempts at phone contact were unsuccessful, the Regional Emergency Response Team—a S.W.A.T. team comprised of police officers from multiple municipalities—moved in.

in the news in chester county

Last night at dinner time came the gruesome and sad news of an apparent suicide by car burning in Chester County (specifically Charlestown Township/Malvern):

NBC10: Body Found Inside Burned Out Car: Emergency crews responding to a car fire report in Chester County discovered a body inside the burned out vehicle.

I find that horribly sad and tragic.  It happened at Haverford College in 2009 – not a student, but someone who came in from the outside and ended their life in a remote parking lot.

There are so many people who are so deeply troubled.

In other news, let’s talk radioactive trash:

Radioactive material came from West Chester trash

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2012

NORRISTOWN — The Department of Environmental Protection is asking anyone who knows the history of an antique medical kit found in a West Chester trash bin to contact the agency’s Bureau of Radiation Protection…..The material was found Jan. 19, when a load of construction debris set off radiation alarms at Waste Management Inc.’s Norristown transfer station. The company deployed a health physicist to recover the radioactive material, identified as approximately one curie of radium-226. Exposure to one curie of radium-226 is equivalent to having more than 100 CT scans at once, and it has the potential to create skin burns within a few hours of contact.
DEP health physicists worked with Waste Management to properly evaluate and store the radium, and traced its source to a roll-off container that had come from the Hershey’s Mill retirement community in West Chester. 

Nice.  A retirement community.

Punxscutawney Phil, meanwhile, is predicting six more weeks of winter.

Now, previously, I had posted about  local food banks, and in today’s Malvern Patch there is a story about the People’s Pantry, formerly known as the Deacon’s Pantry in Frazer.  They are raising funds for a new building and have been approved as a 501(c)(3), making deductions tax-deductible.  They serve close to 2500 people- at least 500 households.  They have a website. In other food bank news, West Chester Patch announced that Chester County Food Bank has been named 2012 Business of the Year by the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.  Read about it here.

We live in horrible economic times at present, and many are struggling.  If you can contribute to a local food bank, that is to paraphrase Martha Stewart, a good thing.

West Chester Patch has announced lane closures (for a change, right?) on Route 202:

Nighttime  lane closures are scheduled on northbound and southbound Route 202  between the Westtown Road and Route 100 interchanges in West Goshen  Township, Chester County on Monday through Friday (Feb. 6-10) from 8  p.m. to 5 a.m. …PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to 511pa.com

The condition of 202 and how long this has taken is a personal pet peeve of mine.  That road is dangerous and deplorable. And the projects are like bad Brooklyn Bridge jokes. Construction never stops, never really completes, and work doesn’t seem to last very long.  They also do a crappy job of clearing debris from accidents, etc. from the roadway.

My last thing for this particular post is an outbreak of Whooping Cough in West Chester:

Whooping Cough Outbreak Declared for West Chester School

NBC10: Cases of pertussis at a West Chester school have officials shutting off classes to those who have not been vaccinated against the disease

By  Teresa Masterson
|  Thursday, Feb 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:32 AM EST

There is an outbreak of Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, at the Hillsdale Elementary School in West Chester, officials say.

Only days after a case of whooping cough was confirmed at another Chester County school– Great Valley High School – the superintendent of West Chester Area School District announced Tuesday that its elementary school has an “outbreak” of the highly contagious disease….

Scanlon said that any student or employee who does not have all of the necessary vaccines will not be allowed into school.

According to the Chester County Health Department, pertussis is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It begins with cold symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse over one to two weeks.

Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (coughing fits) followed by a whooping noise.  However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop.  There is generally no fever, officials say.

People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching their breath….The disease can be very severe…For any parent who wants to have a child vaccinated, the Chester County Health Department offers free vaccinations for children under the age of 18 on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The vaccine is also available free of charge for adults