These are not my words to follow. They are the words of a friend. These are words he is saying publicly, so I am sharing them. Easttown is on the verge of once again destroying Berwyn.
Pass it on.
These are not my words to follow. They are the words of a friend. These are words he is saying publicly, so I am sharing them. Easttown is on the verge of once again destroying Berwyn.
Pass it on.
The Frazer Diner on Route 30 in Frazer has closed. I am honestly concerned about this site, which has been written about a slew of times and is actually in a book about diners.
I love old school diners. Sorry not sorry, it’s scrapple and eggs for me, or a diner burger and a fountain coke. Remember the diner days of years gone by where you would see the lemon meringue pies with their high hats of meringue in the cases with other desserts? I remember that from the original Minella’s in Wayne and this cool old diner in North Jersey
Anyway, the Frazer Diner is a truly cool example of an amazingly intact diner. And now they have closed. Research indicates the Cavalati family still owns it, the owners live in Mechanicsburg, PA. So they are far removed from this now, will they sell? Find a new tenant?
Why am I concerned? We hear the continued whispers of developers sniffing around East Whiteland and the Route 30/Lancaster Ave corridor. West Whiteland is a hotbed of bad development and neighboring Easttown is not much better along Lancaster Avenue is it? Just look at that new construction gargantuan and hideous apartments or whatever dwarfing the Berwyn Pub.
Originally manufactured in 1935(though some sites reference 1929), it was purchased by Frances and Sylvester Cavalati in 1957 and moved to its present location at 189 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, Pennsylvania in East Whiteland Township. In 1972, while retaining ownership, they leased it to others to operate and the name was changed to the Frazer Diner.
Around 1983, the diner was leased to Tam Nguyen and his wife Hao (law school graduate and nurse, respectively) who had fled communism in Vietnam and moved to the Main Line in 1980. They operated it as the Linh Diner, specializing in Vietnamese-Chinese food, and it became a regular lunch stop for nearby high-tech companies in the Great Valley. After five years building a successful business, they were running out of space and looking to move to a new location that was to be built as part of a new shopping center nearby. Before that happened, the Cavalati’s served the Nguyens an eviction notice, and noted there was a buyer who wanted to move the diner to Hollywood.
The Nguyens did eventually open the Linh Restaurant nearby, but the diner was not moved to California, and eventually re-opened, once again as the Frazer Diner.~ Wikipedia
Diners have a place in our hearts and communities. It doesn’t have to be haute cuisine. It’s a community gathering place historically, and some diners were just breakfast and lunch, some did 3 meals, some were open 24 hours.
I find today especially out here in Chester County, we lack a distinct variety from the most humble through to fine dining. We are a lot of formula food, fast food, sushi, brew pubs, quasi steak houses. The only good BBQ is Farm Boy, and they are a gem (hope they re-open soon!)
There always were historically good diners in Chester County. And one by one they are biting the dust. DK still holds court in West Chester. The West Chester Diner used to be pretty good, but the last couple of years it has sadly gone downhill. But West Chester Diner was always too big. Frazer like DK had that little joint feel, which I think is part of the whole diner experience.
The funny thing about the Frazer Diner is how often it has been written up in diner articles. I am putting into this post what I have discovered. I am putting this out there in the hopes someone saves it, or in the hopes that anyone is interested at all.
We need fewer crappy apartment and townhouse developments. How about adaptive reuse of literally a historic diner? Thanks for stopping by.
So I haven’t written about the Lloyd Farmhouse in Caln forever. As you recall, it was also a big story in The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2019.
The Lloyd farmhouse is older than the nation. Caln Township residents are fighting for its survival.
A developer has obtained a demolition permit for the Lloyd family’s 1757 farmhouse.
by Vinny Vella
Updated March 7, 2019
So it is now five days before Christmas in 2022. Nothing has happened except once again, Lloyd farmhouse is not secure. How I learned about this today was from someone whose dog got loose and they went in a panic across the field stopping the dog just before the entrance of the house.
This is not someone who’s been involved with this issue. They sent me photos and videos taken from outside the house asking me if this is the same house I used to write about. And I said yes it was.
So what I want to know, is why Caln Township is looking the other way? This house is for all intents and purposes, a construction site, correct? So legally, isn’t it supposed to be secured?
The inside apparently is more trashed than ever. I’m wondering if the owner of the property is just waiting for me to post something like this or for someone /anyone to post something like this, so they have an excuse to take it down because there’s nothing stopping them from getting a demolition permit?
Except Caln Township, hello? Why is everything look the other way in your neck of the woods? Of course, however, this does give me the opportunity to point out once again how this is a historic resource that is rotting to the point it’s criminal.
Now nothing has been built on the site and it’s been a few years, so is nothing going to get built? I’m guessing given the economy in the way rates have been the answer is nothing is happening right now. And since nothing is happening right now then perhaps the property owner should be securing the property or the township should be doing it for him and sending him a bill?
I also seem to recall that there were supervisors elected that were supposed to help with issues like this? Are they still there? What happens when kids decide to explore over here because you know they will and obviously have been, and what not f something bad happens?
Merry Christmas, Caln residents. This is another fine example of your government at work. And yes, Caln Township I can indeed have this opinion. Just like I can have the opinion that this is still one of the finest examples in Chester County of demolition by neglect. Such a time honored tradition.
Last word? This beautiful farmhouse, which is a prime example of the Chester County style of farmhouses, also predates the American Revolution, and nobody gives a shit. Yeah, you can still see even in this state of disarray her good bones.
The secret is out. Once again the billboard baron is on the march. A reminder of what they did in East Whiteland Township, Chester County:
Oh and these are the trees they weren’t allowed to take in East Whiteland because residents went to PennDOT:
What has recently been heard regarding East Whiteland is that Catalyst withdrew their application from Penndot not so long ago and something like the billboard site is being sold to yet another billboard company?
And here are more views of current uses of the West Conshohocken sign not really so far away from where they want them in Lower Merion:
Yeah so read what came out from one Lower Merion Township Commissioner, Josh Grimes. And people say the commissioner in Bryn Mawr, Scott Zelov is all for moving the billboards so it now becomes the problem of another area of the township? Pretty obnoxious if true, right? Especially given all of the support other commissioners have gladly provided to him all these years over billboards in Bryn Mawr? Really hope this isn’t true don’t you? I also wonder who he’s using for a lawyer this time? Because unless I am mistaken I believe the lawyer he used and East Whiteland is actually Radnor Commissioner Jack Larkin and I wonder how he would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and they wanted to put billboards in Radnor?
And what’s with the carrot and rabbit psychology by billboard company? Kind of like what they did in East Whiteland, right? Perhaps it’s being done this way in Lower Merion because the objective all along was to get the giant TV billboards on the Schuylkill Expressway? Maybe the billboards should go up at “Maple Hill”? That’s in Gladwyne, right?
So my opinion which I’m entitled to have as I hope lower Merion fights these billboards because just because the man can buy a house in Lower Merion it doesn’t mean Lower Merion should have to be the location for his billboards unless they’re going on his own front lawn, Anyway, here is what Lower Merion residents are now facing:
Lower Merion School District is front page news over Oakwell, next door to Stoneleigh in Villanova.
Why? Eminent domain….again
We shouldn’t be surprised because Lower Merion School District probably wields eminent domain or the threat of eminent domain more than any institution I’ve ever heard of. I could be wrong, I am sure there are some that do it more but in my worldview they are one of the worst offenders.
Lower Merion School District in my humble opinion has always abused eminent domain powers. It’s like they think they are LMSD and everybody should just bow down. ￼
In their vision quest with blinders they’ve gone after Stoneleigh, Ashbridge Park, etc. I think if they had bought this property with the intention of using the house as the administration building for the school district or something like that I wouldn’t care. But to so wantonly wish to destroy so much green space, so many trees, so much beauty for turf fields for middle schoolers is really kind of tone deaf in today’s world and it’s just wrong, pick a reason.
The house itself is super cool and historic. Things on the grounds are historic. There’s a teahouse with a beautiful giant old terra-cotta warrior who is just spectacular. It’s an amazing property, and once again it’s something that will be destroyed because of this school district if they aren’t stopped.
It doesn’t matter who the superintendent of the school district is, they just think if it’s something they want they can take it. Again, this is my opinion and I’m allowed to have it. I spent 30+ years living in Lower Merion Township.
Something else I find interesting is literally across the road is Delaware County and Radnor Township. How do they feel about this? How do their residents feel?
The whole Oakwell issue has been a slow burn that seems to have ignited. I don’t have a crystal ball on how it will play out, but I don’t think middle schoolers need turf fields and artificial turf as much as they need nature. Kids need to be able to be kids. A lot of kids today don’t want to be on organized sports teams. There are also field alternatives where they can share fields. But the problem with the school district is they don’t do anything nicely, sharing among them.
So once again we’re staring in the face of Lower Merion School District’s misplaced sense of entitlement.
The Philadelphia Inquirer did an amazing job on this article and I think everyone should read it.
Lower Merion schools’ condemnation of storied Main Line estate for ball fields encounters growing resistance
by Frank Kummer and Oona Goodin-Smith
Updated Nov. 3, 2022
John Bennett kindled the hearth on a recent day in what was once his 20,000-square-foot brick Tudor Revival manor replete with heavy wooden doors, wainscoted library, and Mercer floor tile.
The 72-year-old physician-turned-medical-device-entrepreneur recalled how he lost the home and its 10 acres off County Line Road in Villanova through eminent domain in 2018 to make way for middle-school athletic fields. The property, known as Oakwell, contains nearly 700 trees, some of which are thought to date back centuries.
“Everything happened so quickly that there was no way to save it,” Bennett said as he recounted stories about the house, including having a ghost exorcised.
The Lower Merion School District — one of the wealthiest in Pennsylvania — paid Bennett $9.9 million for the house and grounds in the condemnation with plans to clear-cut hundreds of the trees for athletic fields for newly opened Black Rock Middle School. Updated plans show it would keep the Oakwell mansion and a pool house, but a teahouse watched over by a terra cotta warrior, stone fencing, and a brick-walled garden complex all dating back at least 120 years would be razed. The $90 million middle school opened this year. The district plans to start breaking ground for the fields in June…..
What is eminent domain?
The taking of Oakwell marks one of several district attempts to build athletic fields for the new school. The board faced an outcry in 2018 when it tried to condemn part of the Stoneleigh estate next door, which is preserved under a conservation easement. Efforts to use the nearby Ashbridge Memorial Park were halted by a long-standing deed restriction. An attempt to use another nearby property also fizzled, while other lots were deemed unsuitable…..
Eminent domain — or the ability of the government to pay landowners to seize their private property for public use — is a power “inherent to the government,” said Matthew Hovey, a municipal attorney with the High Swartz law firm that represents clients in the area.
Typically, Hovey said, the power is used as a last resort as it can prove “politically unpopular” and may lead to costly and lengthy legal challenges.~ Philadelphia Inquirer
With election season here, it means two more lawn signs in Westtown Township, Chester County. It means a vote “YES” to save Crebilly sign. Sadly it also means a vote “NO” to save Crebilly sign.
I have been keeping my mouth shut but I think now is the time to say something. There isn’t much time to make the right decision here.
The folks who want a “YES” vote have it right. This is a unique opportunity it’s not just a couple of acres, it’s a lot of acres. It’s a lot of open space. Its a lot of open space that nods to agricultural tradition and the equine culture that literally made Chester County. It’s also a lot of open space with serious historic importance.
Voting “YES” to save Crebilly won’t come around again. In the short term, does it mean you get to pay a little more as a resident in taxes? Yes it does. But tax increases for land purchases such as this have a sunset date, don’t they? They don’t last forever, do they?
Land is not free. Could the Robinson family just donate the whole kit and kaboodle like the Haas family did with Stoneleigh? Maybe they could, but I don’t think they ever would. I think this is the best deal that residents are going to get who want this land parcel saved in perpetuity.
People have worked for years to get everything to this point. A critical point in the history of Westtown Township. And that’s where the naysayers come in. The naysayers claim to be fiscal conservatives, but I think they just want a free lunch. I think they’re being selfish. Yes it’s a hard time to ask people to dig deeper and pay a little bit more each year and taxes. But it’s not forever.
If the naysayers get their way and push through the “NO” vote and Crebilly is NOT saved, in my humble opinion they should be shunned, yes a good old-fashioned Amish shunning.
It’s pretty simple and no one should have to spell it out for you. If Westtown does not get a “YES” vote, the development Russian Roulette will start again and this time? The neighbors of Crebilly, the concerned residents of Westtown, and essentially anyone in the area will be screwed in perpetuity. The open space will be gone, the roads will be more clogged, the infrastructure will be stressed unbelievably, and let’s talk about the West Chester Area School District because what do you think it means to get a huge development on Crebilly to that district?
So that’s the choice that is before you residence of Westtown Township. Do you vote “YES” and have something in perpetuity that you, your neighbors, your friends, your children and your children’s children can love and enjoy and be proud of OR do you end up looking like an over developed section of Delaware County or Bensalem or King of Prussia that everyone hates?
Vote “YES” residents of Westtown. Tune out the selfish naysayers who don’t, can’t, or won’t understand. If they don’t like it, they can move, right? It’s a desirable municipality to live in, after all.
Vote “YES” to #SAVECREBILLY . It’s the ultimate act of community.
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.
Stop and smell the flowers. And buy some flowers from Wildflower Farm on Castlebar Lane in Malvern, Willistown Township, Chester County.
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.
See this piece in Vista: Neighbors Continue to Sow Seeds of Discontent in Malvern Couple’s Wildflower Farm
Here is what the Heenans would like all of us to know:
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?
Curious and curiouser.