Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.
How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.
Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.
This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.
The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.
Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!
The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.
But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?
I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.
I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?
Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at email@example.com
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
NO. This is WRONG. Hassling a small business over their policies is wrong. It’s not OUR business it’s THEIR business and when we enter THEIR business we are a GUEST.
If we don’t like their policies, and that includes businesses which never required masks or encouraged people to take them off, we don’t patronize them we quietly go elsewhere but we don’t try to ruin them because they feel masks are still prudent.
People like to talk a good game about supporting small town America and her businesses, so trying to DESTROY a business over their mask policy which is within their rights is wrong.
I am not a rock climber, so I don’t patronize Downingtown Rock Gym personally, but I respect their right to try to do what is best for their business, their employees, and their patrons. If you are a climber and a rational human being, I encourage you to support their business.
Our forefathers granted us freedoms and fought and bled and died for them so we had the freedom of choice among other things. And freedom of choice does not mean destroying a business because you disagree with their masking policy, it means just going someplace else.
And I have been told this person has family members with businesses in Downingtown and is that correct? How would this person feel if people started posting about those businesses in this manner? It would be wrong too, so not encouraging that AT ALL, but asking HOW it would make them feel?
COVID19 has been long enough and terrible enough for all of us, no matter what you feel about masking and shots, and some of the people who have felt this the hardest are small business owners.
We need to respect small business owners and what they choose to do with masks versus no masks until COVID19 is but a nasty memory.
Business shaming over mask requirements is wrong. Plain and simple.
Big, deep breath. That moment when you see a historic asset go up for sale with mistakes in the listing, surprisingly undervalued, and you feel like it has the same weight as listing a fast food restaurant and pad…only it wouldn’t be only $450,000. Is this being marketed as a RESTORE or a TEAR DOWN? Hard to tell.
Let’s start with WEST WHITELAND AND EXTON aren’t MALVERN.
This realtor is an unknown, doesn’t seem to to have the chops for this property. I am sure he will be offended by this, but that is my opinion, and allowed.
This is a historic asset. Whom would he know at Church Farm? Maybe it would be that person who was the former finance director at Easttown Township and now Director of Finance and Operations, perhaps? And did they get to know each other at Caln Township? (Also see this link and isn’t that interesting?)
This listing says “Malvern”. To me that screams Realtor FAUX marketing…you know like saying Downingtown listings are “Chester Springs”? This property is in EXTON.
The listing describes this house as a “COLONIAL”. It is not. And ALL you would have to do is look up the Pennsylvania Historic Resource Form which is publicly available in the Internet with a super quick search and embedded here. The style of this FARMHOUSE, which is neither COLONIAL nor a FRONT HALL COLONIAL it is FEDERAL or FEDERAL TRANSITONAL. Also referred to as RURAL FEDERAL STYLE.
I adore Church Farm School, but I am concerned at WHO the Realtor is for the property and the fire sale price for a historic asset on 2 acres. I mean $450,000 is like tear down pricing isn’t it? Is this really being marketed as such? And let’s talk it’s February, this is a house in need of serious work, and the snow and ice aren’t really 100% removed to make it safe to go see? That would now be a potential liability on this wonderful school, since it flipped back fairly recently from West Whiteland, wouldn’t it? (I mean even ChescoViews still has West Whiteland as owner as of today, right?)
And let’s talk West Whiteland for a moment. This farmhouse sits on a property that was supposed to be a park years ago, correct? Yet only recently began that transformation truly, correct? Now former Manager of West Whiteland Mimi Gleason was manager from 2014 until recently correct? West Whiteland got this property when? 2006? It was totally before her tenure, Michael Cotter preceded her, and then Michael Cotter next went where? West Chester Borough or something until he resigned in 2017? Who was the West Whiteland Township Manager prior to Cotter? It was a woman maybe named Christine Smeltzer (she shows up in Foote Mineral stuff)? Before that Steve Ross maybe?
So this house was in West Whiteland’s custody FOR YEARS, so why did it literally sit and rot? Why did it take so long for the park to actually happen? Why did this property essentially go from Church Farm to West Whiteland and now ALL THESE YEARS LATER goes back to Church Farm? Just so weird, huh? I mean why didn’t West Whiteland use the farmhouse for something? Even having to do with the park? Why now send it back to Church Farm?
Property was originally acquired around 1918 by Church Farm School. Originally they used it as the farm manger’s residents. So when did West Whiteland take custody of this property? 1990s maybe? I found reference to the Church Farm Property in a little book about Exton called “Little Bobby Reese Growing Up in Exton” – I found a copy of that book and will be writing about it soon.
And in this “History of West Whiteland”, you find reference to the Benjamin Pennypacker House:
So the description describes an eat in kitchen. OK it would have to be fit for habitation to have that, right? Is it? Look at the listing photos – doesn’t it scream demolition by neglect as a structure? Why didn’t West Whiteland maintain it better while they had custody?
Sign me very concerned about the future of this property. I wish it had a Realtor who did these kinds of listings more regularly, and umm, given the condition of the house and the weather, why not list it in the SPRING? Church Farm is a school, so they aren’t real estate magnates. But this property should have more experienced Realtors and at least an attempt a listing more appropriate to preserving this house and property. And who decided this was the listing price?
Chester County is losing too many historic assets and open space. Please let anyone you know looking for a historic property. If this gets torn down, it will literally be criminal to historic preservation.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if this is sold, but I am questioning if it is being sold as land and a tear down, or as a rough gem to restore? I am also questioning why West Whiteland seemed to practice demolition by neglect while they had this property?
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Farms being targeted as bad things in Chester County? But is it crazy? No —- this is not about Wildflower Farm which is under siege in Willistown Township by NOFIMBY “neighbors” on Castlebar Lane. This post is about Kolb’s in East Coventry. This farm seems to be under siege by their municipality, so it makes you wonder what the municipality really wants, doesn’t it?
📌📌‼️Allow Kolb’s Farm Store to Continue Hosting Ag-Supported Events at the Farm!
Since November of 1975, Kolb’s Farm Store has been a fixture in the East Coventry and greater Chester County area providing farm fresh milk and other essentials to the community. In July 2021, the Farm & Store was sold to Bob & Casi Long (along with their 18 month old son). When Bob & Casi, a young couple in their mid 20s, took over the farm it was clear that they needed to increase revenue to support the rapidly rising cost of feed for their cattle as well as the overhead costs to run the farm & store. Casi came up with creative, Ag-Supported, events to be held at the farm. The gatherings would bring together local vendors, other small businesses from our area, community members and the farm. People would learn more about the farm, pet the cows in the barn and enjoy good food. While these things are all absolutely wonderful and supportive for the surrounding community, these Ag-Supported events expanded the Long’s market reach and drove traffic (thus sales) into the Farm Store. Last week, Casi was served papers from East Coventry Township, including screenshots from Facebook posts, detailing her Ag-Supported events on the farm. After a meeting with the township, it was determined that the Long Family would need extensive legal counsel as well as several thousand dollars to apply for the zoning variances and fees associated with this.
This is where you come in. Supporting the Long Family through a donation to their GoFundMe not only supports keeping a local dairy farm in East Coventry Township, it means open space remains open. It means your food sources remain local. It means supporting the backbone of America: Small Business & Farmers. We will continue to update on this page as things progress with East Coventry Township. Please also follow the Facebook page (Kolb’s Farm Store) for meeting dates with East Coventry Township officials. The time to show support is now.
Thank you, Long Family, for continuing to fight the good fight to grow your farm and continue to feed the greater Chester County area.📌📌‼️
So this again is a farm which transitioned to younger owners who kept the name and now a Chester County municipality seems like they want to shut it down? So Kolb’s has been part of the fabric around there for decades, right? I know nothing much about this municipality but don’t they have a supervisor named Ray Kolb? Relative of original owners or just same name?
📌📌SPRING CITY, Pa. — The Kolb family had been farming in East Coventry Township, Chester County, for generations. Roy and Alice Kolb moved into the farmhouse on Kolb Road around 1960. They began milking cows and raising a family. In 1975, they opened up a small milk store at their farm to help bring in more revenue to support their seven kids.
Paul Kolb, who does the milk processing now, remembers his dad Roy asking him and his twin brother what they wanted to do after high school. Did they want to stay on the farm?
“Because if we wanted to stay on the farm, he had to try and come up with some other income to support us. So that’s what happened. And that’s how the store got opened,” Paul Kolb said…..The farm and store were run by various members of the family over the years, most recently by Leroy and Sally Kolb. Sally ran the store and Leroy ran the farm, but in March of 2020, Leroy died unexpectedly.
The family had been trying to figure out how to transition the operation to the next generation. But the next generation of Kolbs weren’t that interested in taking it over.
The family knew it was time to sell the farm….A farm this size in northern Chester County would fetch a hefty chunk of change, if split up and developed, but the Kolbs had different priorities.
“Obviously, developing (the land) was an option, but we decided that we would rather sell it as a working farm,” said Paul. “That was our first priority. We knew the neighbors would appreciate it tremendously. And so that was the reason that we sold it as a farm.”
But finding the right people was sort of a long shot.
“And fortunately, we were able to find somebody who was interested in keeping farming,” Kolb said….Bobby and Casi Long were married in 2019. They met as teenagers at the 2014 Kimberton Fair in Phoenixville where they were both showing cows.
As the couple planned their future together, they knew they wanted to farm….The couple financed the sale through Mid Penn Bank.
“The Kolbs and the bank and us — we all got to have a conversation and all of our goals aligned. And so that’s kind of how that whole partnership kind of blossomed,” Casi said.
By June of 2021, the Longs were working with the Kolbs to transition ownership. There was a lot to learn and having members of the Kolb family on hand to show them the ropes was an absolute blessing.
On July 1, 2021, Kolb’s Farm Store officially opened under the ownership of Casi and Bobby Long.📌📌
So why does this township want to shut these people down? Does this seem as crazy to you as it does to me? Here is how you contact East Coventry: firstname.lastname@example.org – : 610-495-5443 – 855 Ellis Woods Rd., Pottstown, PA 19465.
We need to SAVE our farms. I hope people make it rain e-mails, post cards, letters, phone calls. #HANDSOFFKOLBS #NoFarmsNoFood
On my blog’s Facebook page are posts I have shared with links to small businesses supporting Kolb’s and the Long family. There is also the Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/833d8a8a
And if I actually knew the Long family and hadn’t just had the awesome milk from Kolb’s I would tell them or any concerned resident to submit a Right To Know Request to East Coventry Township to ask them if there are complaints in any form (oral, written, email, text message, electronic, etc) going back to 2020 against the farm, against them personally, the Kolb family from whom they purchased the property. And that would only be the first one.
And today I realized the irony in Chester County putting out the call for people to help with the semiquincentennial of the United States of America (America250PA) as it will be celebrated in Chester County. Oh the goddamn irony because how many farms will be under siege by July 4, 2026? And Chester County was founded in a big part on the backs of farmers, so WTF Chester County? How about helping actually protect, promote, and preserve farms in Chester County? Like Kolb’s. Like WildFlower Farm. And others like Happy Days Farm that was bought by Vanguard and sold, but at some point will it still be developed?
Ten million plastic townhouse developments, trails to nowhere, nasty NOFIMBY neighbors, a development happy county planner, and duplicitous municipalities aren’t the tradition of Chester County, nor should they be her future. Farms are the lifeblood and heart of this county and we need to preserve them in perpetuity.
Farming is a brutally hard business. Municipalities and neighbors of farms should be lifting up their farms, not slamming them down. Please Chester County residents, and Chester County Commissioners stand up and SUPPORT our farms and farmers. And that also means helping our farmers promote and grow their business to ensure farm sustainability. That means allowing events and farm tours and ways to educate people about farms, farming, It means encouraging people to be Localvores. It means municipalities in PA respecting the ACRE Law too.
Shame on you East Coventry. You suck, actually. Farms matter. Farmers are real people, our friends and neighbors. Shame on you East Coventry.
You know it was a great evening when you come home and you can still hear the music and people’s laughter and delight in your head! That was exactly the Life’s Patina experience for Holiday 2021 last evening! Last night was the preview cocktail party and shopping event for the Holiday Barn Sale which opens to the public on Friday, November 12, and runs through the weekend.
Some of my friends and I always attend the previews for Meg Veno’s sales at Life’s Patina. But a lot of time we choose the evening cocktail preview, and last night that’s what we did. And it was magical.
Yesterday was one of those days where I received a couple of broken Christmas teacups in the mail, so Christmas magic was exactly what I needed! When we walked into the barn, we were transported to a glittering, warm and elegant setting. Beautiful ornaments and inspiring tableaux or vignettes throughout the two floors and rooms in this magnificent barn.
I definitely was not fun for my friends to hang out with because I was literally distracted by wonderful things every time I turned my head! Among my favorites were the little felted Christmas mice. And the Mercury glass ornament wreath I bought. I also bought a felted garland – I just love those. They are simple and pretty and very old-fashioned Christmas to me.
Every year I think Life’s Patina can’t top the year before. And every year the magic just gets better!
I should also mention the food and cocktails were amazing, but for me it was just being there and soaking in the atmosphere. And the music was to die for. So perfect.
I encourage all of you not to miss Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale this year. It makes you believe in the magic of the season, and we all need a little holiday magic in our lives.
Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale opens tomorrow, Friday, November 12th. The hours are 10 AM to 5 PM. Wear appropriate shoes as you are parking in a field, and walking around in an actual old barn.
The Life’s Patina Holiday Barn Sale is also on Saturday, November 13th from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, November 14th from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Life’s Patina is located on Willowbrook Farm, located at 1750 N. Valley Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that this year is also Life’s Patina 10th anniversary celebration! And a portion of the sale proceeds will go to T&E Cares.
Thanks for stopping by and as always, I am not being compensated for this post in any way, shape, or form. I am merely a happy supporter and customer!
So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)
When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?
Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.
At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?
Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?
Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:
I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?
📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig
Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.
This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.
In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.
Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.
The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌
Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .
I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?
I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.
And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.
And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???
Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.
Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.
Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.
Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:
Eeast Goshen Township Building East Goshen Township 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380-6199 Phone: (610) 692-7171 Fax: (610) 692-8950 Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.
3:30 PM UPDATE: From the chair of the East Whiteland Supervisors Scott Lambert (who like many others is having a hard time posting to Facebook today):
📌The original requirement of the builder was to renovate portions of the wall that had fallen in disrepair and remove a few trees that could endanger the wall in the future. However,with the wall now leaning badly and in danger of collapse, the builder agreed to rework the wall and replace broken sections to return it to original condition. As with the initial work review the descendants of people buried in the cemetery were consulted as was our engineer and historical commission representation. An agreement with the contractor concerning the scope of the work was also executed.📌
There is a historic cemetery on Flat Road. It seems to be in peril. East Whiteland Township approved a development plan there and wasn’t one of the things supposed to be that this cemetery (which I believe is Amish) would be protected?
I don’t have the answers. And someone said well maybe they’re doing work on it. And this doesn’t look like work to me this looks like a wall collapse. A lot of these walls do collapse and I saw one not that long ago at a church in Upper Uwchlan and then they rebuilt the wall. When they rebuilt the wall then you could see they were telling people to stay away from it and using caution tape until it was set.
The other thing to consider is a development is being built next door and vibrations from heavy equipment can affect old structures and that includes walls and headstones etc. doesn’t it?
I don’t have the answers, but I do know that East Whiteland needs to go look at this. This is literally a historic site, and it matters. #thisplacematters
Walls fall down. But this is a historic site. So again, something needs to be done sooner rather than later. This is a sacred place. And our historic sites should be as respected as much by municipalities as the developments they constantly approve.
Stay cool it’s so darn hot out there.
PS: I am adding more photos here at the bottom that were just sent to me by concerned residents!
Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (East Whiteland) is a sacred and historic place. It’s no secret I have written about this place for years.
The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816. So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia. Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.
Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.
Without active preservation there will come a time that all which will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also what will survive will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.
Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened. Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place.
So this Juneteenth, I was thinking of Ebenezer again and here are a few new photos scattered throughout this post. I remember the black civil war soldiers here and elsewhere throughout Chester County. I share again the oral history of one resident (CLICK HERE). I think of all of the people who have shared what they have discovered about Ebenezer over the years.
Juneteenth (on June 19) is know as Emancipation Day and also as Freedom Day, Jubilation Day, and Liberation Day. I never learned about this important day in any history class I took in school. Which is something I think needs to be rectified because it’s part of our history of this country.
Although Juneteenth is celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, it was still legal and practiced in two states – Delaware and Kentucky – until December 6, 1865, when ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished non-penal slavery nationwide.
On Fold3, there exist some records of Hiram, including voluntary army enlistment. These photos aren’t the best but here they are:
Someone has been cutting the grass again at Ebenezer. I don’t know if it is the developer who will be building houses all around it or someone else. It’s not the AME church. They need to become involved as we believe that this is STILL their land, but will they?
I am but a middle-aged white woman. I am not black and won’t pretend I understand the black experience. I try to learn and respect it. But given the state of racism in this country and the need for all Americans to learn more of this country’s history good and bad, to me, this also means we need to SAVE sites like Ebenezer and preserve their history.
So I am calling on officials state, local, county, federal, and from the AME church to save Ebenezer. The church is too far gone to save BUT capping and preservation of the church ruin is possible. We need a study including with that sonar stuff like they use for Duffy’s Cut to map out where all of the graves are and what stones may lie beneath the dirt.
Officials also need to remember and properly notate the Bacton Hill area because it was a well settled free black community once upon a time. This needs to be done because otherwise this will all sink as a footnote to history that will be forgotten.
My husband spent hours trying to figure out a way to get to my elderly parents and bring to us to get them out of the city. To no avail.
He couldn’t get to them. He literally went all the way down to Columbus Boulevard and over to South Philadelphia and back up! I am beside myself.
I just got off the phone with my mother and she tells me that the building Cole Haan is in was burnt out on Walnut, TD Bank and PNC Bank were destroyed all those other stores were loaded and broken into. She’s not sure about all that happened to places DiBruno Brothers on Walnut Street (they did get looted) but everything around it was pretty much destroyed.
This crap literally came to the front door to where my parents and another friend call home and that is so unacceptable and also while all this looting was going on last night? Apparently although they didn’t see a lot of police activity, but they saw a lot of news cameras and people with phones recording it.
A partial list of other things I found of what has been looted and/or destroyed includes: Boyd’s , Brooks Brothers, AT&T, Apple, 7-11, Target, Macy’s, GAP, Lacoste, Old Navy, JCrew, Marathon Grill, Reading Terminal Market, UNIQLO, DiBruno’s.
There are many, many more. There is looting and rioting in the Northeast. Port Richmond is in particular crisis as I type this.
My parents are elderly. They live in YOUR city. I don’t feel they or my other friends in Philadelphia are safe. I never thought I would say that. And if you can’t get control of the city, we can’t get to them. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THESE WERE YOUR PARENTS?
I believe there should be justice for George Floyd. I had no problems with peaceful protests. But where is the justice for the innocent residents of Philadelphia and elsewhere who are the victims of the terrifying rioting and looting? Truly no one is safe right now. Doesn’t that worry you?