a walk down memory lane

 In  2009 I documented through photographs the last few months of architect Addison Mizner’s famed La Ronda in Bryn Mawr.  The tale of La Ronda even made the Wall Street Journal back then.

Putting all the drama of the La Ronda and her demolition and the upheaval the demolition caused in Lower Merion Township and across the country aside, the saddest part of the tale of La Ronda is there was a man willing to have the mansion moved brick by brick, who was willing to buy it fairly. Only he was denied that by both the seller of the property and buyer of the property.  Those people sold La Ronda to be torn down and tore down La Ronda because they could and that is kind of sad especially since they were players in the socioeconomic levels where they could actually afford to be more preservation minded.

I am not getting into some protracted discussion about property rights, what this demolition has done is leave a lasting impression on me regarding historic preservation in Pennsylvania.

Historic preservation in Pennsylvania remain a lofty ideal, but is seldom a true reality. So when you hear on rare occasions that you might not like what a developer is doing, but they are saving and preserving a historic structure on a property they bought? Well that my friends is huge and doesn’t happen very often. See ( Linden Hall post July 24  and Farmhouse Post on July 27 and Adaptive Reuse from April 2013 )

Truthfully, all these years later and salvagers are still selling bits of La Ronda. And people still write about La Ronda and what happened (reference Proper Philadelphia in 2012 )

I watched and documented the last sad few months of La Ronda, and to me it is a glaring reminder of  what   lip service preservation is. In 2009, Lower Merion Township Commissioners (including the current Board President Liz Rogan) did much beating of the collective breast and waxed long and poetically on how they were going to do things differently and how they were going to preserve historic assets.

Flash forward to 2014 and well, much like other places, it’s all been talk. Or political gob smacking…. take your pick. Now the William Penn Inn is under a 90 day stay of execution err demolition, which means it will inevitably come down.  And that is the case even though people are saying it may have had something to do with the underground railroad (and see cool photos of the place here thanks to Main Line Media News.)

3971577793_125d8e9098_o

Also facing an uncertain future is the historic Odd Fellows Hall and property and United Methodist Church and property in Gladwyne.  People have said for decades that there are Revolutionary War soldiers buried there.  Famous Phillie Rich Asburn is buried there and heck some of my friends have all their family buried there.  So Odd Fellows is in limbo. What is historic will survive if  the developers who are the owners, Main Line Realty Partners, do the proper preservation.  They can do the right thing if they want to.  They have in the past and truthfully the partners in these projects have done beautiful work.  Last I heard that Odd Fellows plan was tabled, but these same developers have now purchased another church, First Baptist in Ardmore.  They also bought the United Methodist Church in Narberth Now the developers are calling themselves Main Line rebuild.

3941005703_d390c4249e_oBut like I said, adaptive reuse and historic preservation by developers are the exception rather than the rule.

I do not know a lot of the preservation groups throughout Chester County as I have not lived here that many years yet .  I love the  Chester County Historical Society and they have lots of neat stuff in their headquarters in downtown West Chester and they do fun things like walking tours.

Also worth noting is the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. Their 10th annual house tour is September 27th, 2014.

 

And if you like house tours you should also consider signing up for Chester County Day which benefits Chester County Hospital.  They have preview lectures starting in September which are open to the public.

Anyway, remember the La Rondas…once they are gone, they are gone.

Thanks for stopping by today!

helping preserve chester county history

DSC_0217I am pleased to report to my readers that I once again have taken the pre-event photos for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Historic House Tour.

The event is in it’s 9th year and there are some VERY cool houses on the tour this year. The houses date from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century.    Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online.  The tour is Saturday, September 28, 2013 Noon – 5 PM.

This tour is the week before Chester County Day, so you can do both!!!

This is a really sweet house tour and I for one got some garden ideas just doing the pre-event photos!

To learn more about the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, please visit their website.

 

 

what defines “marketing” a historic barn?

UPDATE:  A Realtor I know was finally able to come up with listing on the barn.  It is on TREND (# 6161851). However, it is listed under “land type” as “One Building Lot” and under “structures?”  the answer is “N”. So here y’all go (and as a non industry professional I still say this is all about as clear as mud, can’t you agree?):

Trend 6161851

ORIGINAL POST:

 

So not so long ago I wrote a post about the Rossi Barn on Waterloo Road that Bentley Homes asked to tear down, but agreed to “market” for sale?

Simple question: what defines market for sale?  An MLS listing?  A page on their website where everything else they have for sale is?  How does one obtain information?  Realtors have listings, developers have listings, so why is it Realtors I know can’t seem to find a listing let alone anyone else?

As a matter of fact someone I know sent me three interesting screen shots today.  They wanted to see the listing on the barn.  I don’t know why, it shouldn’t really matter since Bentley told those Easttown folks he would actively “market” the barn for sale a while longer, right?

Apparently Bentley’s website has that live chat/live assist capability.  This person, looking for info on the barn and what it was listed for couldn’t find anything on the barn – just what appears to be the original listing on this property with Prudential.

Obviously it makes for easy Tyvec Kingdom building if a developer could just tear down a barn like this, only the barn is 200 years old and isn’t in bad shape….so in theory someone could buy it and live in it .  But if people can’t easily find a listing, how can they buy the barn?   My sources tell me there is interest in this barn, so perhaps something good could happen if info was out there for the world to find?

Maybe it would behoove Mr. Bentley to put a listing page conveniently on his spiffy website?  Or should people just contact Easttown Township directly?

Here is what I was sent and please note the “Me” is not me literally, it is apparently how it comes up on the live assist/live chat function:

Bentley 1

Bentley 2

Bentley 3

Links to articles on the topic:

Easttown planning commission approves demolition of 19th century barn

Published: Thursday, January 03, 2013

By BRENT GLASGOW
bglasgow@journalregister.com

Plans to demolish centuries-old barn raises hackles in Chester County

January 28, 2013|By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer

the best kind of summer afternoon

The best kind of summer afternoon involves sunny skies, low humidity, me and my camera.  Today was one of those days and I loved every minute of it!

My friend Pattye Benson asked for my help with the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 8th Annual Historic House Tour that is slated for September 22nd.

So off I went to photograph to my heart’s content.  What a glorious afternoon and what a fun tour this will be!

Interested in the tour?

8th ANNUAL HISTORIC HOUSE TOUR
9/22/2012
12 Noon – 5 PM
Ticket Price $35
Prepaid Tickets only, no sales at the door

See Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust Website for more details and how/where to buy tickets!

This was much more fun than being packed in like sardines over at the Helicopter Museum to be sandwiched between foaming at the mouth tea partiers and equally foaming at the mouth Obama lovers to listen to V.P. candidate Paul Ryan blather.

Yeah vote in November, but before you have to think about that, buy tickets to the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 8th annual Historic House Tour.  It is all for a great cause and historic preservation!

Keep it local, folks.  Hearth and home and history will be here long after politicians have come and gone.