Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Chester County Open Land Conservancy

Community Matters Getting Off the Backburner

10th Annual Historic House Tour - Poster.pdf_page_1I have had a number of emails, phone calls and conversations with people – all asking me about Community Matters and expressing concerning that something may be wrong since there have been no recent blog posts. I appreciate the concern but I am OK, it’s just been a very busy couple of months — the House Tour Preview Party on Sunday, September 21 at Duportail House, the 10th Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday, September 27 and then the sixth annual Paoli Blues Fest last weekend. With all of the meetings and planning required for these community events, I had to relegate Community Matters to the backburner.

The 2014 House Tour was a wonderful success and broke last year’s attendance record with over 500 tickets sold. The tour featured five historic estate homes in Easttown and Tredyffrin Townships, the Great Valley Mill and St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley. The tour celebrated the work of renowned Chester County architect Brognard Okie. For the tenth straight year, Mother Nature cooperated and provided a perfect, sunny 80 degree day, make the house tour even more special!

Since the first Trust house tour a decade ago, the tour has featured three centuries of structures, including 64 historic private homes of which seven served as Revolutionary War headquarters; eight barns, four churches, three schools, including two ‘one-room’ schoolhouses; a springhouse, a museum, a mill and a special historic playhouse.

Between ticket purchases and tour sponsorships, the house tour raised $30,000 for the Jones Log Barn rebuilding project. When the final phase of the project is completed, the barn will join two National Historic Register properties – Duportail House and the Federa2014 posterl Barn – and serve as the ‘Living History Center at Duportail’ in Chesterbrook.

There are many people to thank for this annual historic house tour, including the wonderful homeowners who opened their homes, the enthusiastic volunteers, the individual and corporate sponsors, the local police departments, other nonprofits groups (Chester County Open Land Conservancy and Duportail House) and most of all, we thank the many residents who supported the tour. (For a full list of sponsors, click here).

The Paoli Blues Fest celebrated its sixth annual music festival and street fair last Saturday, October 4. The day started out overcast with an occasional spritz of rain but as if on cue at noon, as the musicians warmed up, the clouds parted, the sun began to shine, the temperature soared and memories were created. Touted as the largest annual blues festival in the tri-state region, the party in Paoli didn’t disappoint. From the brass sounds of Big Bang Theory to Blue Jay Slim & the Tone Blasters, Russ Lambert, Blues Bizness, Deb Callahan and then the finale band, Blue Plate Special, it was a day of great music, food, drink and a lot of fun. A real community event, thanks goes to the musicians, vendors, sponsors, volunteers and all the hundreds of people who attended!

With the Annual House Tour and the Paoli Blues Fest completed, I look forward to getting Community Matters off the backburner.

Think End of Winter, Think Spring . . . and Help Save the Trees!

Save the trees! The Chester County Open Land Conservancy volunteers continue to wage their battle against the invasive vines that are strangling the trees in the Nature Preserves.

Chester County Open Land Conservancy could use some volunteers. This is a great opportunity to get some fresh air, work with some of your neighbors and make a lasting impact on the Nature Preserves. Saturday, February 19, starting at 9 AM is the re-scheduled Cedar Hollow Preserve ‘Vine Day’. Although the volunteers generally work 3-4 hours, any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Cedar Hollow Preserve is 67 acres of meadows, woods, rock formations, large sycamore, ruins, Cedar Hollow run, and extensive trail system located in the western Great Valley area of Tredyffrin Twp.

Volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot at 9 AM. Any questions, contact Ray Clarke, 610-578-0358. All that’s needed are protective clothing, gloves and, if you have them, tools such as loppers, pruners and hand saws to supplement Open Land Conservancy’s supply.

Directions to Cedar Hollow Preserve from Paoli, take North Valley Road to Swedesford Road. Turn left on to Swedesford Road. Take Swedesford Road towards the Great Valley Corporate Center and turn right onto Church Road to the parking lot right, just past St. Peters Road.

Upcoming Open Land Conservancy Events:

Tracks & Trails
Date: Sunday, February 27, 1-3 PM
Location: Cedar Hollow (directions above)
Description: Learn about the behavior of our local wildlife. Explore the preserve – its trails, woods, fields, creeks and rock formations. All are welcome – especially kids! Wear warm clothes and boots for mud.
Questions: Call Jack Chidester, 610-644-5040 office; 610-405-2778 cell; 610-647-5380 conservancy or email:

Cool Valley Preserve Vine Day
Date: Saturday, March 5, 9 AM
Location: Cool Valley Preserve
Description: 33.2 acres of meadows, woods, extensive trail system through fields and along Valley Creek.
Questions: Ray Clarke, 610-578-0358

Snow didn’t keep volunteers from their work at George Lorimer Preserve on Vine Day in January! Below is a photo of Tim Lander preparing to tackle this tree’s strangling vines and the photo on the right is the ‘after’ photo of the satisfaction of a job well done!

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