I just received notice that Poplar House, at 600 Maplewood Ave. in Radnor Township was demolished. Dating to 1902, the house contained 10 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, 11,433 sq. ft and sat on 36 acres. The house was demolished to make way for a new housing development.
Although Radnor Township has a HARB (Historic and Architectural Review Board) in place to advise the Township on matters related to three historic neighborhoods, they do not have the authority to stop the demolition of any historic resources in Radnor. (Radnor does not have a Historical Commission). Lower Merion and Haverford Townships have Historical Commissions and regulations to prevent the loss of their most valuable and significant buildings.
Tredyffrin Township has a HARB (I’m one of the members) and we have been working for over a year toward the creation of a Historical Commission. Going back and forth between the HARB and the Planning Commission, we finally all reached an agreement back in August and the plan moved to the township solicitor for review. At the October Board of Supervisors meeting it was announced that the proposed Historical Commission would be presented at a public hearing on December 6. Then at the supervisors meeting following the November election, the Historical Commission was abruptly removed from public hearing status; we were told because the legal work had not been completed. No new date was given to the HARB members and it could be months (if at all) before there is a new public meeting scheduled.
It is so discouraging to read these stories of beautiful and notable buildings destroyed in the name of progress. One does not have to live in a historic property to understand and appreciate their value. Hopefully, our supervisors will support the establishment of the Historic Commission so that Tredyffrin’s historic properties don’t suffer the same fate as historic properties in Radnor Township.
First there was La Rhonda in Lower Merion and now Radnor Township has allowed Poplar house to be destroyed. What’s next? Here are some photos of Poplar House: