Carole Rubley

Ann Pugh Farm … an 18th century Tredyffrin Township historic treasure lost to demolition

Pugh Road House

Demolition of Ann Pugh farmhouse

For historic preservationists, the destruction of any historic property is difficult but is compounded when it occurs in your own backyard.  What makes Tredyffrin Township truly unique is its rich architectural heritage:  the old homes and buildings that tell the story of the community’s past, that continue to bring pleasure in the present, and will, if properly cared for, inform and inspire the future.

In 2003, Tredyffrin Township’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) undertook what would become an extensive award-winning architectural survey, identifying more than 350 historic resources in the township.  As a member of HARB, I was involved in the review and cataloging of the township’s historic buildings for this project.

According to this historic resource survey, the William Pugh Farm (also called Ann Pugh Farm and A. Glass Farm) received a historic survey Class II structure rating.  The primary architectural style was listed as Georgian and identified the structural system as stone with shake roof.  In the report on the Pugh farmhouse, the surveyor comments include, “recommendation for potential individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places”.

The township’s historic survey description of the property states that the original owner, William C. Pugh, made iron augers in his blacksmith shop at this farm in 1873 and is responsible for the road’s name.  A 1980 survey date suggests that the Pugh farmhouse lists a date of 1750 for the first section and 1830 for the later wing.  This date associates with the date stone of the springhouse of 1832 and that of the barn showing 1839 (see photos below).  According to the historic survey records, “the blacksmith shop was extant in 1980 close to the road, but appears to have been demolished.  Pugh’s property was sold by 1883 to A. Glass, who held 20 acres in 1887.  The complex is distinctive as a combined farmstead with a farmer blacksmith shop and barn.”

When completed, Tredyffrin Township’s award-winning historic resource survey received statewide attention with the 2007 Preservation Award from Preservation Pennsylvania.  At the December 2004 Board of Supervisors meeting, former State Representative Carole Rubley presented the Government Initiative Award on behalf of the Commonwealth to Jim Garrison, who was the Chairman of the Historical Architectural Review Board at that time.  In the minutes of that BOS meeting, Rubley stated that the survey “will be a planning tool for preservation practices in the Township. Mrs. Rubley congratulated the HARB for this great honor, and said it made her proud of the Township.”  A longtime supporter of historic preservation in Tredyffrin Township, I don’t know that the demolition of the 18th century Ann Pugh Farm would make her proud.

In 2009, the township staff, representatives of the Planning Commission and HARB and members of the community took on the arduous task of updating the Comprehensive Plan & Historic Preservation Plan. At that time, I was a member of HARB and served on the citizens committee that helped create the revised planning tool.

In the description of purpose for the Historic Preservation Plan, the document states, “…the Township recognizes the importance of its existing historic resources and the role they play in contributing to the Township’s character. The Historic Preservation Plan will assist the Township and its residents in appreciating the importance of preserving and protecting historic resources.”

Given the township’s stated support of historic preservation, then I must believe that something went terribly wrong regarding the Ann Pugh Farm, insofar as there were no red flags raised before granting the demolition permit on this property.  According to Bill Martin, the township manager, the permit was applied for and reviewed by township staff.  In an email he stated, “Unless the home is protected, the code department has no ability to deny or delay these applications.” 

The township has the  historic resource survey book that documents, by street address, the 350+ historic properties, with descriptions and photographs.  When the township staff receives a demolition permit request, it would only take a couple of minutes to check whether the property is included in the historic resource survey.  The property was only purchased last month, how is it possible that a demolition permit can go through the township in less than 30 days?  It’s too late to make a difference for the 18th century Pugh Road house but going forward, something needs to change.

Unless the process changes regarding notification of demolition applications, there’s nothing to keep this from happening over and over. Although I am no longer a member of the Historic Commission, I continue to serve as the president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and chair of the Annual Historic House Tour.   I was disheartened to read on that township website that starting in 2014,  the Historic Commission is no longer holding monthly meetings but has instead decreased its meeting schedule to quarterly. And unfortunately, the township no longer has a HARB which may have helped protect this historic property from demolition.

For historic preservation to matter, and for our local history to be meaningful, it needs to be supported.

In 2007, I had the pleasure of co-chairing the township’s Tredyffrin 300 celebration with my friend Judy DiFilippo.  The community came together that year to celebrate our three hundred years of history.  Our history was important when the township was founded in 1707, it was important when we celebrated the 300th year of its founding in 2007, and …  its history and its historic resources should be important to preserve in 2014.   

In the words of early preservationist William Morris, “These old buildings do not belong to us only, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us.”   

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Remembering the Ann Pugh Farm, circa 1792 with a few photos — a loss of an 18th century historic treasure

Pugh Road Farm House front

  Ann Pugh Farmhouse, circa 1792

Ann Pugh Farm Barn and Swimming Pool

Barn and swimming pool

Barn date stone

Barn date stone

Great room of guest barn

Great room of guest barn

Beautiful 18th c dining room

Beautiful 18th c dining room

Pugh farmhouse kitchen

Pugh farmhouse kitchen

Living room at Ann Pugh farmhouse

Living room at Ann Pugh farmhouse

Ann Pugh farmhouse bedroom

Ann Pugh farmhouse bedroom

 

 

 

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Kampf-Drucker 2012 Election Rematch for PA House of Representatives, District 157

Rumored for weeks, it is now official – Election Day 2012 will see a rematch between State Rep Warren Kampf (R) and former State Rep Paul Drucker (D) for the PA House of Representatives, District 157.

Drucker defeated opponent Guy Ciarrocchi (R) on November 4, 2008 to succeed retiring Republican Carole Rubley.  If you recall, the Drucker-Ciarrocchi race had the distinction of being the most expensive (and possibly the nastiest) race in the state in 2008.  A close race for the legislative district 157, Drucker defeated Ciarrocchi by a margin of 50.95% to 49.1%.

After serving 2 years as our State Representative, Drucker was defeated in 2010 in his re-election bid by Republican Warren Kampf.  Earlier this month, Kampf formally announced his decision to seek a second term to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The Chester County Democratic Party held their nominating convention tonight. Democratic Committeepersons and proxies cast their votes and by the end of the night, Drucker emerged from the convention endorsement process as the chosen endorsed PA House of Representative democratic candidate for District 157.

The Pennsylvania Primary Election date is April 24, 2012 and is likely an uncontested primary for both Kampf and Drucker.

Looking ahead to this rematch between Drucker and Kampf, can we hope that the candidates, and their campaign committees, will stick to the actual voting records and history on issues of their opponent?

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Tredyffrin Shows Support for Historic Preservation

Last night was the annual In the Mood fundraiser for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and I am pleased to reported that it was another successful Trust event.  The stone barn at King’s Grant Farm was transformed, 1950’s style for the evening.  Owned by Jeff and Cindy King, we thank them for their generosity and support.  In addition to the use of the barn for In the Mood, the Jeff and Cindy King Foundation has made a very generous donation to the Capital Campaign of the Jones Log Barn rebuilding project. 

It was wonderful to have many community members show their support for historic preservation —  the event attracted some of our former and current elected officials from the school board and board of supervisors.  Former State House Rep Carole Rubley, a member of the In the Mood committee, attended with her husband as did current State House Rep Paul Drucker and his wife.  Many local historic preservation supporters attended the Trust event as did guests from Exton, Bryn Mawr and Villanova. 

Setting aside politics for the evening, this was an opportunity for some real fun . . . whether answering trivia questions provided by DJ Dick Spindler,  dancing to 50’s music supplied by a wonderful vintage jukebox; demonstrating your expertise at the hula-hoop;  following co-chair Judy DiFilippo’s lead in the Bunny Hop or taking your turn to strut your stuff for  ‘The Stroll’ . . . In the Mood provided something for everyone.  Poodle skirts, pony tails, black leather jackets, letter sweaters and penny loafers were the dress for the evening!  One of the crowd favorites was Paoli resident Gio D’Amato and wife Fran, both dressed to perfection in vintage 50’s style! 

Judy and I thank the King’s for hosting the event, the Trust Board of Directors, our sponsors and contributors, the community members who attended and a special thank you to the volunteers of the In the Mood Committee — it was a magical night and thank you all!

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Just in . . . Carole Rubley Endorses Ken Buckwalter for PA State House 157 District

I received the following press release from Ken Buckwalter announcing that Carole Rubley is endorsing him for PA State House 157. 

Hon. Carole Rubley endorses Kendrick Buckwalter for 157th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

“I respect his work ethic, his strong commitment to the community.”

PHOENIXVILLE, PA.    Carole Rubley, the highly respected former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, today announced her endorsement of Kendrick Buckwalter to become the next member of the House of Representatives from the 157th District.

Rubley said, “I have known Ken for many years. I respect his work ethic, his strong commitment to the community, and his faithful observance to our Constitution. I strongly support his candidacy for State Representative. Ken is a man of principle and integrity who stands up for the Rule of Law. He can be counted on to work fulltime for the citizens of the 157th District.”

Buckwalter, a business owner and member of Phoenixville Borough Council, said, “I’m honored to have the support of Carole Rubley. She faithfully represented our district in Harrisburg. She is a respected member of our community and I appreciate her help and her support.”

Buckwalter is running in the May 18, 2010, Republican Primary for the position. He is a recommended candidate by the Republican Committee of Chester County.

“I’m looking forward to representing the district,” Buckwalter said. “As a Councilman for eight years I’ve compiled a record of protecting taxpayers. I look to cut government programs that waste tax dollars. As a business owner for 36 years, I know the value of a dollar. I’m a businessman, not a career politician.”

Buckwalter is also a defender of the Pennsylvania Constitution. As a councilman, he filed a lawsuit when he believed council was violating a provision of the Constitution. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. I believe in the founding principles of this country and I had a duty to challenge a violation of our laws. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously upheld my view.” Buckwalter has also served his community as a volunteer firefighter and being a foster parent.

He strongly supports creating jobs, government fiscal responsibility, economic growth, entrepreneurship and personal liberties. Buckwalter has compiled an outstanding mainstream conservative record as a councilman. “I believe in conservative values, fiscal sanity, transparency, honesty, law and order and family values,” Buckwalter said.

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State Rep. Paul Drucker's Bill to encourage 'green' building for schools passes House

News from Harrisburg . . . Our State Rep. Paul Drucker’s House Bill 689 to provide incentives for school districts to construct cleaner and more efficient schools has passed the House with a vote of 106-85.  My understanding is the roots of this legislative bill began in 2008 under former State Rep. Carole Rubley’s direction.  With some 2009/10 updating, Rep. Drucker was able to successfully move the bill through the House’s voting process.  The following is excerpted from Pennsylvania State House press release:

 Current law requires school boards to first receive voter approval before commencing any major construction plans over a certain dollar amount, including new buildings or significant renovations. That law, he said, inadvertently impedes the construction of environmentally friendly schools due to the high up-front cost, which may push the cost of green construction over the limit. House Bill 689 would exclude any costs incurred by a school district in the construction of a school building that meets the Green Building Standard from the calculation of construction costs when determining if voter approval is needed. At a minimum, Green Building Standard projects must include performance-based credits that will improve a building’s energy performance and promote the use of environmentally friendly building materials and technologies. Documentation to support the energy efficiency of the project is required. Green Building Standard projects must also employ third-party, post-construction review and have a performance record of certified green buildings in the United States.

The bill includes a requirement that Green Building Standard costs be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education at the same time that construction cost estimates are submitted for approval. Drucker said that inclusion of Green Building Standard costs with construction costs would allow districts to demonstrate any long-term savings produced by investment in green building technologies.

“Over time, green buildings save money by reducing energy costs and provide a healthier internal air quality for our children,” Drucker said. “My bill would allow school districts to realize these long-term benefits without being burdened by the up-front costs associated with green building.”

Rep. Drucker’s bill will now go to the Senate for consideration and here’s hoping for a successful outcome!

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