Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Just in Time for the Holiday Season . . . Great Valley Association Helps Save 18th Century Malvern Home

I am delighted to share this special story, just in time for the holidays.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful, historic home in the Great Valley. This 18th century home on Yellow Springs Road in Malvern has been home to many families since it was constructed in 1789. For over 2 centuries, this house has weathered major snowstorms, flooding and droughts; and its many owners have endured economic hardships, illness and disease through the years. The current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Feninger, however feared that their old house story was not going to have a happy ever after ending. You see, this historic house lay right in the path of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s planned expansion project! But the Feninger’s need not have worried; because for centuries neighbors in the Great Valley community have always helped each other in time of need. With the support and mission of the Great Valley Association to protect and preserve; and a willingness to listen from the PA Turnpike Commission, the treasured historic home has been saved. This wonderful old house will continue to provide special memories for its owners for many years to come. And that my friends is a happy-ending!

Below is Jill Feninger’s letter of appreciation which appears in today’s Main Line Suburban newspaper:

Thanks, GVA, for saving our home!

To the Editor:

Here’s a happy-ending story for the holiday season.

It began about a year ago. Neighbors, including myself, were invited to attend an open house hosted by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC). The PTC wanted to introduce local residents to a plan for widening the turnpike in our neighborhood. As I studied the plan I noticed that my home was covered with cross-hatches, indicating it would be claimed as a “total condemnation” in order to create a water basin to handle runoff from the turnpike. My heart sank. Our home for the past 21 years, a home built in 1789, was being taken. Completely. (Incidentally: my 83-year-old husband – a five-year pancreatic-cancer survivor – suffers from end-stage kidney disease and survives through hemodialysis. After making electrical and plumbing modifications to our guest room, we perform this daily procedure in our home.)

I felt totally at sea. But I needn’t have worried: also attending this PTC open house were members of the Great Valley Association, whose mission is “to preserve the character and quality of life for the residents in the Great Valley.” And for these past 10 months, this worthy organization has spent countless hours informing themselves, researching options, communicating with elected officials, writing letters, attending meetings, coordinating efforts.

Now here’s the happy-ending part: just before Thanksgiving we received a letter from the PTC; it seems they’ve revised their plans and our home will no longer be needed. We can stay in our home! I appreciate the open-mindedness of the PTC to consider other options. But I reserve most of my thanks to the members of the Great Valley Association Board. Without their support and determination I am certain we’d be spending this holiday season packing.

Jill Feninger, Malvern

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