Old houses tell wonderful stories, and the houses of Tredyffrin Township have many tales to tell. On Saturday, September 24, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 7th Annual Historic House Tour will open doors to Tredyffrin’s past. The tour will spotlight Tredyffrin’s neighborhoods by opening the doors to eight grand historic homes. Featured houses span 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and offer visitors an opportunity to experience Chester County history through original, restored and historically significant homes.
The Trust is delighted the Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge (MCHVF) www.mchvf.org will be the featured ticket pick-up point for this year’s House Tour. One of the sponsors for the tour, MCHVF is one of the only schools located in a U.S. National Park; it officially opened the doors to its new school, located with Valley Forge National Historic Park last year. The school spent $3.8 million to renovate the 3.5-acre property known as Ivy Hollow Farm, circa 1750. The Ivy Hollow farmhouse has been converted into a beautiful parent meeting room and a residential apartment for a staff member and the barn has been transformed in the school building. Both the farmhouse and the barn will be available for visitors during the House Tour.
The houses on the House Tour are as diverse as their owners. Visitors will enjoy the 19th century summer home in Malvern of the Gretz beer brewing family. During Prohibition the family turned to dairy-farming but their basement is rumored to have been the local speakeasy. The House Tour includes a grand 1892 Queen Anne home with porte-cochere called ‘La Carne’. This property illustrates adaptive reuse of a historic home; as it is now the law offices of a local firm. In Strafford, visitors will tour two houses, a 1908 stone home with Colonial and Federal Revival trends including the use of a full porch with columns and entablature plus massive paired gable-end chimneys and Foxmead, a 1911 colonial revival style stone house designed by the famous Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen.
Visitors will see two ‘rubble stone’ homes from the early 20th century in Berwyn. Walking distance of each other, the two showcase very different lifestyles of their owners. One house began its life as a twin. The owner purchased one twin in 1993 and when the other twin became available in 2008, purchased the other side. With great effort, the exteriors of the two sides blend to create the appearance of a large single-family home. Down the street, the rubble stone house, circa 1916 is now home to ‘empty-nesters’. Rather than downsizing to an apartment, condominium or a senior community, the owners show visitors how a historic home can be the perfect choice for retirement-living.
Another not to be missed stop on the 7th Annual Historic House Tour is Cold Spring Farm, an 18th century English-style farmhouse in Malvern. A neglected property for decades, the owners had a clear vision of its potential. Working with the expertise of the design team from Period Architecture of West Chester, no detail was overlooked in the renovation and expansion of this property.
The historic homes and gardens will be open from 12 Noon to 5 PM on Saturday, September 24, rain or shine. Knowledgeable guides staff each home on the tour and house tour admission includes individual house history with map and parking details. Tickets are $35 and advance purchase is necessary, as there will be no tickets sold at the door.
Tickets are available online at www.tredyffrinhistory.org using your credit card or download an order form and mail with your check to Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, PO Box 764, Devon, PA 193333-0764.
This year’s House Tour would not be possible without the generosity of our many sponsors. Sponsors are listed on the Trust website and will be listed on Community Matters in an upcoming post. Your purchase of a House Tour ticket will support historic preservation in our community!