Today we went old school and headed to D&K for breakfast. It was as good as it always is, and we wandered on our way through the Borough Of West Chester.
I have always liked West Chester. What I don’t like however is all the infill development. Why? Because what is going up now is not in the least complementary of the borough, which has little brick houses of more of a colonial style through to grand Victorian mansard roofs and gardens with wrought iron gates.
See above. Another Kahnification of West Chester (blue and new going up to the right of Kildare’s). That used to be the Mosteller Department Store which truthfully from it’s early history morphed into something quite unattractive. But what is replacing it is also unappealing to me because it just doesn’t jive with the area. I am not saying people have to build imitation Williamsburg, but if they are going modern, why does it have to be ummm…jarring and unattractive and out of size and scale with the surroundings?
I really started to explore West Chester in the 1980s when one of my best friends came out to West Chester to go to college. I used to visit her and explore. In those days I did not have a car so often I took a train to Paoli and a cab into West Chester if I could not get a ride. (I will note where you wait for cabs on the westbound side of Paoli station is still creepy.)
West Chester is one of those towns where I always find something to look at. Now these are newer townhouses in the next photo, and I actually don’t mind the design even if I don’t quite get the height and bunker like quality of the wall in front:
GPS took us down a street that really wasn’t a street to me, but the rear of a development. Here I saw once again what I dislike about most townhouse developments:
This is an actual street and look how narrow. And Look at SUVs and trucks NOT being able to fit in their own driveway. To me this looks like a street in Sea Isle or Ocean City, NJ.
One of the things I also have always liked about West Chester are the alleys and side streets. Always something cool to see there as well. A lot of old stable structures still exist, among other things.
West Chester is just fun to wander.
It’s also fun to check out old postcards to see what has changed and to see what still exists. Take for example (and thanks for rambling with me):
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, have a passing thought, go back to sleep? Well, my weird passing thought in the wee small hours overnight was I had not been to Baldwin’s Book Barn on Lenape Road in literally about 20 years!
I am and always have been a bibliophile. A bookworm. A book hoarder. I love my books. They have moved with me thoughout my life. Even books from my childhood. Books from my parents. Cookbooks. History books. Gardening books. Fiction by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Daphne DuMaurier to Elizabeth Goudge to Marguerite de Angeli to Dickens to Robert Frost and the list goes on. I married another bibliophile. We love out books and they are all over the house in various bookshelves.
Growing up I loved the book store at Bryn Mawr College known as The Owl. The college disbanded the beloved Owl years ago to make way for progress. There is still The Title Page in Bryn Mawr (which was started originally by ladies who were at The Owl), and that is amazing, but for those of us in Chetser County, and book nuts in general, there is nothing like Baldwin’s Book Barn. Nothing.
And yes, when I popped awake in the middle of the night last night, my mind was on a big stone barn full of books…Baldwin’s Book Barn. What’s not to love? A giant Chester County stone barn built in 1822 filled to the rafters with books? Used books, out of print books, rare books, fun books, paperback books, bags of specially priced books….it’s book Nirvana…and it’s Chester County tradition.
William and Lilla Baldwin established their used book and collectible business in 1934 in nearby Wilmington, DE. In 1946 they moved to “The Barn”. The old milking house was converted into a residence for the Baldwin Family and the stone barn became the bookshop and for some years, a country store museum. We are located deep in the heart of the enchanting and historical Brandywine Valley. Baldwin’s Book Barn is one of America’s truly distinctive bookstores. Step inside and you are transported to another time and place. Today, our store is stuffed to the rafters with a treasure trove of 300,000 used and rare books, manuscripts, maps as well as fine paintings, prints, estate antiques, and other valued collectibles.
Store Hours: 10AM – 6PM Every Day Except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day Baldwin’s Book Barn 865 Lenape Road, West Chester, PA 19382 Phone: 610-696-0816 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
So when I woke up woke up this morning and my husband asked what else I would like to do today, I said “let’s go to Baldwin’s Book Barn.” So to the Book Barn we went. And it was like visiting a fondly remembered old friend.
Ahhh the smell of books greets you still even with the door just cracked!!! And the door still creaked the same was going in. Still the same smell of woodstove fires. And still the same floor to ceiling books! I will note they still have a terrific Wyeth section and Chester County section.
We went from bottom to top, top to bottom. I bought a couple of cookbooks. It is nice that some things remain the same in this life.
I will note as an aside as I overheard this, that they could use firewood for their woodstove cut to 14″ or 15″ lengths if you can GIVE them any. There are enough woodstove folks in Chester County and so many people with firewood, how about paying it forward a little?
Here are some photos I took. I will note with amusement that I never knew Paris Hilton wrote a book. I had a lovely time and won’t wait 20 years to go back. Go buy a book!
I now understand why reporters say sometimes what they see in a court room haunts them. I will be haunted a long time by the crime scene photos which were shown of the slain Bernese Mountain Dog puppies Argus & Fiona.
The scene photos (I am not a police officer so I don’t know what to call them), were not intentionally gruesome, they were what they were. (We saw a photo of the shotgun too. It was not one that repeats, either, which means the buck shot had to deliberately reloaded, correct?) There seemed to be some sort of quiet sidebar conversation as in jury and audience could not hear) before the audience, judge, and jury saw the photos. I am thinking it had to do with the photos – but I don’t know for sure.
The photos – Argus lay there on the ground like he was shot in mid-flight. He seemed to be facing away from us. Then there was the photo of the female puppy Fiona. This photo made me cry (several things made me tear up this afternoon- so much was so hard to hear) it was so heart and gut wrenchingly awful. Fiona was curled in a semi fetal position staring at the camera with lifeless eyes. That is the photo I will see in my head for a long time it is so awful.
But back to the beginning. Three papers were there: Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Local and Brandywine News Media. There were Argus and Fiona friends and family and supporters on one side and Gabe Pilotti had a mish mosh of people on his side. I never saw the man in person before today so I have no way of knowing who was family and who might have been church folk. I will note that whomever they are had minor children with them, who were in the room when the photos of the shot up dogs were displayed. Not to judge, but would you have wanted your children to see that? The smiling Pilotti from the mug shot was not present today.
Ramsey, Pilotti’s attorney referred to a “media campaign” over this issue. He seemed to make a lot of referrals to the Justice for Argus and Fiona Facebook Page and obliquely this blog (or in my opinion that is what it was) like we were all bad people for talking about this. Judge Nagle seemed to shut this commentary down on several occasions as being somewhat irrelevant to the case at hand.
Pilotti’s attorney was somewhat brutal with the Bocks. But that is a defense attorney doing their job I suppose. I do think the defense attorney was unnecessarily hard on Mary Bock in particular – asked her something like did she have remorse over the whole incident. My personal opinion was that asking something like that was gratuitously nasty. She was practically in tears having to relive parts of that awful day as it was.
Pilotti’s attorney seemed to make a big deal out of these neighbors of Pilotti’s that the Bocks used to be friendly with – people named Dallas and Kelley Definbaugh. I wonder, are those the people holding Pilotti’s gun? Anyway, it is not like it is some dirty secret. The couples used to be friendly, more from the wives knowing each other and kids being in same sections of classes at school. But that changed. The kids moved on into different groups and classes at school and the wives don’t hang out any more. So what? Do you keep in close contact with people with whom you no longer share any meaningful commonality? I don’t.
I wouldn’t know the Definbaugh people if I fell on them, and am just getting to know the Bocks, so I can only go with my gut. I like the Bocks. They are honorable people who experienced something so horrible. And when you see the photos of those dead puppies from that day and hear about how they were moved in a front end loader or a tractor or something to the township building the day they were shot, well let me tell you, you get a much more clear picture of how these people have suffered.
Remember this news report?
I also did not get why Pilotti’s attorney kept bringing up a letter that Mary Bock wrote to her neighbors after her dogs were shot. I mean get real, there are tons of kids out there and tons of people with dogs. If she wanted to tell her neighbors is that so wrong?
And Pilotti’s attorney wants to make a big deal out of this blog? I did not drive his client to shoot those dogs. And I am not condoning violence against his client, only like hundreds of others out there hoping for justice and a strengthening of Pennsylvania dog laws.
Today we heard from Officer Russell from West Vincent Police Department. He was the first on the scene and apparently present later when Pilotti was interviewed by police. He seems like a totally honorable and stand up guy. He also seems to be some sort of authority on fire arms and he spoke with some intelligence about the gun used – a 20 gauge single shot non repeating shot-gun with 9 pellet buck shot if I have it correctly.
Officer Russell recounted that fateful February day calmly with some degree of detail. He remarked that at the time (as in day of shooting) he found Pilotti’s answers “vague”. (his verbiage) . He reported that on the day of the shooting in front of the Police Chief he asked Pilotti for a written statement to assist in the investigation. He stated that Pilotti in his opinion seemed hesitant to do so, but eventually went back to his garage and sat down and compiled a “list”. Officer Russell also described seeing the dogs. He reported that Argus took a fairly direct hit to the head and the dog’s head was “kind of blown apart.” He described Fiona’s position (that I saw in the photos) and the blood coming out of her mouth and I believe he said on her paws. I will admit the photo of her so disturbed me that I could not get past the quasi fetal position and lifeless eyes staring at the camera.
District Attorney Tom Hogan appeared in court to watch for a while at approximately 3:45 p.m. That made people sit up and take notice – he is a busy guy so you know he can’t audit every court proceeding. I was thankful for his presence.
I stayed until just before the defense was going to cross-examine Officer Russell. People in the court room said that got out of hand. I remember before I left Officer Russell stating that they wanted to talk to Pilotti again because “something did not seem right.”
Pilotti’s attorney at one point referred to when Pilotti had shot dogs before, but West Vincent locals told me that those dogs were shot on a neighbors property because the neighbor’s animals were being mauled and is that not the truth? So that was something different from when Argus and Fiona were shot, huh?
And I have to ask (bearing in mind my limited knowledge of buck shot) but if Argus and Fiona were actually pursuing sheep why is it the audience and jury didn’t hear about injured sheep? Or see photos of bloodied sheep or dead sheep? I ask because as buck shot was explained today to everyone in that courtroom it sort of spreads or sprays out, right?
Watching the face of the jury all afternoon was quite interesting. That is all I will say on that.
Court continues tomorrow at the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown West Chester, PA. I strongly urge dog lovers to attend if possible. The Bock family and the memory of these puppies deserve our support in a peaceful way as an extended community. It is a public proceeding and the courtroom is open, not closed. You can go to all or part of tomorrow. Parking is not expensive in the new garage, either. You just park, go through the court screening and ask to be directed to Judge Nagle’s court (7th floor room 8 off the top of my head)
Today was deeply disturbing and very emotional. But I am glad I went. It makes me even more resolute than ever that dog laws need to change.
In a case that outraged animal-rights activists and generated national attention, a trial began Monday for a Chester County man charged with killing his neighbor’s dogs because he believed they posed a threat to his sheep.
Gabriel Pilotti, 73, of Chester Springs, was charged with cruelty to animals for shooting the two Bernese mountain dogs — 2-year-old Angus and 1-year-old Fiona — after they had escaped the fenced yard of their owners, Mary and William Bock….In his opening statement, Kevin Pierce, assistant district attorney said Pilotti willfully and maliciously killed the two dogs in cold blood and then left a voice message for a neighbor bragging about the incident……Argus was shot in the head as he trotted up toward Pilotti and that Fiona was shot as she ran away. Pilotti did not try to yell at the dogs or chase them away with a broom, he said.
“He choose to go to the most extreme measure first,” said Pierce.
Also noteworthy? The Chester County SPCA which is currently under fire in Chester County and beyond did NOT bother to show up today. I found that extraordinarily cowardly. They should have put the other stuff aside and shown up for the dogs. Good thing no one was depending on them for anything.
WEST CHESTER – Gabriel Pilotti, the 73-year-old West Vincent resident on trial for shooting two dogs that wandered onto his property, was portrayed in two different lights Monday as his case opened in the Chester County Justice Center.
To the prosecutor, Pilotti was a trigger happy man who shot first and asked no questions – taking the matter of dogs in his pasture to the “most extreme measure” by killing the two dogs without provocation.
“This is a simple case of a cold blooded killing of two family pets,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pierce told the nine women and three men on the jury in Senior Judge Ronald Nagle’s courtroom. He said the defendant “mowed down” one of the dogs as he “moseyed” toward him, and then reloaded his shotgun and shot and killed the second, younger dog as it ran from the yard.
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 radioactive material may have been contained in the kit for more than 80 years,” Bureau Director David Allard said. “The metal box likely came from a basement, an attic or a collector’s stash. Anyone who tampered with it or stored it for a long time may have been exposed to high levels of radiation.”
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.
The radium-226 was contained in four capsules inside a small lead safe marked “Radium Chemical Co., Inc.” The safe and some antique surgical equipment were stored inside a larger, locking metal box, which had been pried open.
DO NOT OPEN THIS BOX! (Credit: William Bender The Daily Delco Philly.com)
Ok, so look, this is the stuff that freaks people out with good reason – it’s very, very dangerous to handle this stuff, be exposed, knowingly or unwittingly expose others. Take me for example: I am a breast cancer survivor of eight months yesterday. However, it has not yet been enough time since I finished my treatment that I am even allowed to be near anything that smacks of radiation, or even get my teeth x-rayed.
So naturally, given my personal experience I think of all those people living in Hershey’s Mill, some of whom are say, bound to be people being treated for something where exposure to radiation could be potentially very harmful to them?
No one knows where this stuff came from, and my guess is some resident in Hershey’s Mill forgot they had something like that and chucked it. Of course, can it be considered that someone thought no one would check all the trash cans and receptacles inside the City-State compound that is Hershey’s Mill and dumped it there?
It’s not every day we get a press release like this:
The state Department of Environmental Protection is seeking information about an antique medical kit found last month at Waste Management Inc.’s Norristown transfer station. Why? Because it contained enough radium to melt your face off. OK, not that much, but a lot…..”One curie” doesn’t sound like much to me. Oh wait, according to the DEP, direct exposure to the radium could lead to skin burns within hours and would be like “having more than 100 CT scans at once.”
In other words, it’s almost as good as the acid being sold at Drexel these days.