Pattye Benson

Community Matters

house tour

14th Annual Historic House Tour – Saturday Sept. 29, 12 Noon – 5 PM

To those who have sent me emails, text or phone messages that may have gone unanswered, it has been a very busy several months. Between a family reunion, an out-of-town wedding, a first birthday party for granddaughter Audrey in Seattle and a trip to our Port Royal Island, SC house (for those that have asked, Hurricane Florence did miss our 100 yr old ‘little pink house’ in SC) in addition to the management of the Jones Log Barn rebuilding project in Chesterbrook, it’s been crazy!

Squeezed in between all of the activities has been the ‘care and feeding’ of my annual historic house tour. Hard to believe but the 14th Annual Historic House Tour is almost upon us — it’s next Saturday, Sept. 29, noon – 5 PM (tickets available at The preview party was held last Sunday at Duportail House and was a wonderful turnout of the historic homeowners, sponsors and community members. The countdown to the house tour is on — fingers-crossed, we will have perfect weather for the fourteenth year in a row! Weather gods, are you listening!?

There’s much going on in the township and the school district and I have a list of issues and topics to discuss as soon as the house tour is over.

Without a historic preservation ordinance in Tredyffrin Township to protect our beautiful historic properties, the annual historic house tour is all the more important! Local history and its preservation does matter! Please purchase a house tour and join us as we celebrate historic preservation — another important reason that makes this community special. In addition to Trust Board members and other adult volunteer docents, there will be nearly 20 Conestoga High School volunteers assisting at the house tour. In addition, there will be CHS students playing the piano at Tredyffrin Library for ticket pick-up!

Below is the 14th Annual Historic House Tour poster and the final list of our wonderful house tour sponsors — individuals and companies who make historic preservation a priority! As president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and chair of the 14th Annual Historic Preservation Trust, we thank them and the generous homeowners who make the annual historic house tour possible. All proceeds from the house tour go toward the completion of the Jones Log Barn as the Living History Center.

Thank you 14th Annual Historic House Tour sponsors!






“If walls could talk, what stories they could tell!” — Historic House Tour tickets available

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour (hard to believe that it’s been 11 years!) is coming up in a few weeks and final preparations are in full swing!

Tickets for the 2015 house tour on Saturday, September 19, noon – 5 PM and Jazz & Just Desserts, the house tour preview party, on Sunday, September. 13, 6-9 PM at Duportail House are available online at . The house tour is the largest annual fundraiser for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and all proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships support historic preservation and the completion of the Living History Center at Duportail.

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour features an interesting mix of eight private historic homes in Tredyffrin, Easttown and Willistown Townships plus the Diamond Rock Schoolhouse, an octagonal one-room school house in the Great Valley. Discover the beauty of historic preservation on the tour, everything from a mid-1800’s French Normandy hunting lodge on Valley Forge Mountain to Deepdale, the original 19th century stone farmhouse and the 1915 English Cotswold revival estate, ‘Deilwydd’. Enjoy stops at two different 150-year old carriage houses and marvel at how the owners skillfully adapted the buildings to 21st century family homes.

Also included on the tour is a sprawling 1900’s brick farmhouse in Malvern built by sisters, Ellen and Rebecca Winsor. Pro-suffrage activists from Haverford, the Winsor sisters were among 17 Pennsylvania women imprisoned for their “Silent Sentinel” picketing of the White House under President Woodrow Wilson.

We are still accepting sponsorships for the house tour, which helps to make the annual event possible. Ticket and sponsorship information is on the Trust website or you can email me at

It’s great to see many individuals and companies supporting historic preservation through the house tour, along with a number of elected officials and candidates. Its history and the preservation of our historic buildings helps to make this community special!

As the saying goes, “If walls could talk what stories they could tell.” Each featured property on the house tour has generations of original stories to tell! Hope to see you on the tour!

11th Annual Historic House Tour Poster


9th Annual Historic House Tour – Saturday, September 28 – Tickets Available!

House Tour logoThis time of the year has me focused on two special events – the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 9th Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday, September 28 (Noon – 5 PM) and the 5th Annual Paoli Blues Fest a week later on Saturday, October 5 (Noon – 6 PM). As Trust president and chair of the annual house tour and co-chair of the Paoli Blues Fest, I believe that the house tour and the blues festival and street fair represent ‘community’ at its best.

The 2013 house tour … Every year a new selection of amazing historic properties surprise and delight even the most devoted tour goers! The 9th Annual Historic House Tour features nine historic properties in Tredyffrin and Easttown townships, including private homes, a restored ‘party’ barn and a historic church. There’s nothing better than the beautiful historic places that memorialize that history in our community – history really does matter! Old houses tell wonderful stories and the properties on this year’s house tour will not disappoint. Visitors are invited inside for a glimpse of what it is like to live, work and worship in these unique historic structures that span three centuries, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. A special thank you to the homeowners of these wonderful historic properties for allowing the public a glimpse inside.

If you love history and architecture, you will not want to miss this year’s tour. Tickets are $35 and are now available online at using your credit card. Or click here for the 9th Annual House Tour Ticket Flyer for ording tickets using a personal credit card. Additional information on the tour available on the second page.

Beyond the homeowners, is the generous support of individuals, businesses and corporate sponsorships. Without their support the annual house tour would not be possible. If you are interested in supporting the house tour, click here for the,9th Annual Historic House Tour – Sponsor Information. The Trust is still accepting sponsorship for the 2013 tour. If you have questions about the house tour, sponsorships or would like to volunteer, please contact me at . Hope to see you on this year’s tour!

Lenape Farm, c.1750 photo by Carla Zambelli

Private home on 9th Annual Historic House Tour — Lenape Farm, c.1750 (photo courtesy of Carla Zambelli)






8th Annual Historic House Tour Saturday – Tickets Available!

In my world, there’s nothing better than the beautiful historic homes that memorialize the history of our community. With great pleasure, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust brings you the 8th Annual Historic House Tour this Saturday, September 22. On behalf of the Trust, I would like to personally thank this year’s special homeowners who have allowed us to showcase their wonderful homes . It is wonderful to live in a community that has people who cherish their historic homes and then allow others the opportunity to enjoy them!

Willowbrook Farm, c.1710, photo by Carla Zambelli

The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 8th Annual Historic House Tour is this Saturday, September 22, 2012 and tickets are still available!

Click here for 2012 Historic House Tour Press Release describing the tour and information about some of the houses on this year’s tour, including Willowbrook Farm, twice a Vassar Show House. Tickets can be purchased online at using your credit card. Click here for 8th Annual Historic House Tour flyer, which has additional details on the second page. If you have friends, neighbors, co-workers that might enjoy the tour, I hope that you will consider passing the information on to them.

Pick-up of guest badges, maps and brochures is anytime between 11 AM – 1 PM on Saturday, September 22 at the Duportail House, 297 Adams Drive, Chesterbrook (Wayne) 19087 (corner of Chesterbrook Blvd. and Adams Drive). The House Tour is 12 Noon – 5PM. Please note that the houses will not open until 12 PM.

Hope to see you on the House Tour and thank you for supporting historic preservation in our community!

Pattye Benson
Chair, 8th Annual Historic House Tour
President, Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust
Tel: 610-644-6759


As the president of the Board of Directors of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and chair of the 8th Annual Historic House Tour, I wish to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of the House Tour and their personal commitment to historic preservation in the community!

Host Sponsor

Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm

Supporting Sponsors


Penn Medicine

Period Architecture Ltd.

Contributing Sponsors

Arcadia Land Company

Golden Valley Farms

Michael & Michelle Kichline

Michael D’Onofrio Historical Restoration & Construction

Paul & Andrea Olson

Murph & Lois Wysocki

Patron Sponsors

18th Century Restorations, Inc.

Corinne Ackerman

Paul Drucker for PA State House


Mike & Shelley Heaberg

Tom Hogan & Victoria Silbey

State Representative Warren Kampf

Glenna LaSalle Keene

Dr. & Mrs. Gerald M. Long

Carolyn Mead

Pete & Bonnie Motel

Post Haste Handyman, division of

Pendulum Solutions Design Build

Brad Tiffany – Kistler Tiffany Benefits

Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission

Wade, Goldstein, Landau & Abruzzo, PC

Wise Preservation Planning

Carla Zambelli


7th Annual Historic House Tour – A Success!

Many of you have asked me about last weekend’s House Tour. Thank you; the tour was a great success thanks to the homeowners, sponsors, guests and volunteers. I am hopeful that the following Letter to the Editor will appear in this week’s edition of the Main Line Media News.

Thank You to Homeowners, Sponsors, Guests and Volunteers for another Successful Historic House Tour

The mission of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust is to help preserve and protect historic and cultural resources in Tredyffrin Township and to educate the public about the preservation and protection of historic and cultural settings. As President of the Trust and Chair of the Annual Historic House Tour, I would like to thank the special homeowners who opened their doors to Tredyffrin’s past for the 7th Annual Historic House Tour held this past Saturday, September 24.

What a truly delightful group of old house owners on this year’s tour – the effort and time spent on details by each homeowner was remarkable. Old house owners are very special people and this year’s House Tour participants were no exception. It is wonderful to live in a community that has people who cherish their historic properties and then allow others the opportunity to enjoy them!

As one of the Trust’s most anticipated annual events, the Board of Directors is extremely grateful to our historic homeowners who by sharing their extraordinary homes allow us to better understand the significant and unique history of our community. The annual house tour provides an opportunity for our historic community to showcase their neighborhood architectural heritage and demonstrate how historic homes can be a perfect fit for our modern lives. Opening their doors to 300 guests, the House Tour raised $15,000 to benefit the final phase of the rebuilding effort of the Jones Log Barn in Chesterbrook as a living history museum.

The Board wishes to thank the many corporate and individual sponsors who appreciate historic preservation and understand its importance in the community including Penn Medicine, Period Architecture, Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge, Golden Valley Farms, Jim and Janet Bruce, Michael Heaberg, Warren Claytor Architects, Murph Wysocki, Strategic Realty Investments, State Rep Warren Kampf, Tom Hogan and Victoria Silbey, Glenna LaSalle Keene, Michelle and Michael Kichline, Pete and Bonnie Motel, Victoria ‘Tory’ Snyder, Wise Preservation Planning, Paul Olson, MJ Monahan Builders, Kristen Mayock, Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission, Liz Mercogliano,, James and Nancy Sanborn, Cottage Industries, Main Line Life Media News, Main Line Neighbors, Around Main Line and TE Patch.

Thank you to the Trust Board members and the many community volunteers who offered their time and talents; to the special historic homeowners and to the corporate and individual sponsors who helped make this another successful Trust event. And a special thank you to the House Tour visitors who through their ticket purchase showed their support for historic preservation in the community.

Following the house tour, I received many emails and calls, but think the following excerpt from a guest’s email probably best sums up the house tour for her and other visitors —

“ . . . I was on your house tour yesterday with my family and I wanted to thank you so much for organizing this. It was one of the best house tours I have ever been on. Not only were the houses interesting and diverse but the volunteers were incredibly knowledgeable. They also seemed to really enjoy the history of each house. I will definitely sign up again next year.”

Pattye Benson
Chair, Annual Historic House Tour
President, Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust

A Speakeasy, 2 Goats & a Haunted House . . . Find them all on the Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday!

Just a few days remaining until Saturday and this year’s over-the-top Historic House Tour. But it’s not too late to purchase your tickets; go online at for credit card purchase and further information. Not only are the historic houses on this year’s tour amazing but their owners are even more remarkable! Supportive of historic preservation in our community, the homeowners are generously opening their doors to visitors on Saturday and on behalf of the Trust, we thank them!

I want to thank all the media outlets for their advertising of the House Tour. Kathleen Brady Shea, staff reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer included an article in yesterday’s paper with photos, following up with Facebook and tweets. Main Line Neighbors and AroundMainLine have advertised the tour with articles, notices and updates using their online presence and Facebook and Twitter. Bob Byrne at TE Patch has included articles on the House Tour in his daily online news information. Susan Greenspon, editor of the Main Line Media News has run articles both online and in print on the House Tour for the last couple of weeks in the Suburban and King of Prussia Courier. I thank each of these media outlets — they didn’t have to help advertise the House Tour but they did!

Alan Thomas wrote the following article for the Main Line Media News which appears today. Here’s hoping it inspires some more ticket sales!

Historic House Tour is Saturday

Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Main Line Media
By Alan Thomas

The question was “Why?”

“They’ve never repeated,” the voice on the phone said. “She’s asked me year after year after year.”

Michael and Corinne Ackerman’s home, Tivoli Farm, will be in the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 7th Annual Historic House Tour this Saturday, Sept. 24. And, according to Corinne, this is it. You may never have the opportunity to visit Tivoli Farm again.

“She” is Pattye Benson, owner and proprietor of the Great Valley House of Valley Forge, the circa 1720 bed and breakfast that is older than the house that George Washington stayed in at Valley Forge, and “She” is also president of the Historic Trust.

The Trust is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 2002 in response to the threat to demolish the historic 18th-century Jones Log Barn, a Colonial Welsh-American architectural treasure. The Trust’s mission is to preserve and protect historic and cultural resources in Tredyffrin Township for the benefit of present and future generations and to educate the public about the preservation and protection of historic and cultural settings.

The tour’s historic homes and gardens will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, rain or shine. Knowledgeable guides will be staffing each home on the tour and the tour admission includes an individual house history with a 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 using your credit card, or you may quickly download an order form and mail with your check to Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 764, Devon, PA 19333-0764. At this late date, however, going online is advised.

Much of the story of Tivoli Farms, involves the efforts of the Gretz family, a Philadelphia beer-baron family, that today still makes its name in the beer business, being the Anhueser Busch distributor for the four counties surrounding Philadelphia.

“There are three buildings on the property,” Corinne Ackerman said. “The carriage house,” visible from windows in the main house, is special. “I love looking out at that.”

There are also “the high ceilings, the pocket doors and the pine floors.” Ackerman also described some of her home’s historic flaws. “It’s got some bumps in the walls, uneven ceilings, those sorts of things.” she admits she could never do a perfect house tour with “curtains and furnishings.”

Like so many of the other tour houses, Tivoli Farm has stories, like the tale of its “speakeasy” history, long before its eventual acquisition by the Ackermans.

During Prohibition the Gretz famly turned to managing the dairy farm at Tivoli. However, an outside entrance to the basement, on the east side of the house is said to have been the entrance to a speakeasy.

The Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge will be the ticket pick-up point for this year’s 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 its doors last year after spending $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 meeting room and a residential apartment for a staff member. The barn was transformed into the school building. Both the farmhouse and the barn will be available for visitors during the house tour.

According to Benson, this year’s sponsors have already “contributed about three-fourths of the total for last year’s house tour.” The 28 sponsors, Benson said, include State Representative Warren Kampf and also Penn Medicine. She added quickly that the local political scene has actually produced “representatives from both sides of the aisle,” along with several architectural and business firms and others.

Last year, Benson said, there were 350 tickets sold. This year, she’s shooting for 500.

“Over five hours [of the tour], it’s doable,” she added.

That number just might set the record for visitors to a farm that at one time was also a speakeasy.


Thank You House Tour Homeowners, Volunteers, Sponsors & Visitors!

The 7th Annual Historic House Tour is next Saturday, September 24. As President of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and Chair of the annual historic House tour, I would like to personally thank this year’s special homeowners who have allowed us to showcase their beautiful homes. It is wonderful to live in a community that has people who cherish their historic homes and then allow others the opportunity to enjoy them.

I thank the many House Tour visitors who will visit these beautiful homes on House Tour day. Please know that your ticket purchase furthers the effort of historic preservation in our community. Tickets may be purchased at the Trust website, or click here for ticket order form.

I thank the individuals, organizations and the companies for their generous financial support of the Trust and historic preservation through their sponsorship of the House Tour. The economic climate of today’s world has forced many of us to re-think our priorities, particularly as it relates to charitable giving. In that regard, it is important to give a special thank you to those who do place an importance on our local history and preserving our historic resources.

On behalf of the Trust, I thank the following House Tour sponsors for their generosity. If you are interested in joining the list of House Tour sponsors, click here for information.

Supporting Sponsors
Michael & Michelle Kichline
Main Line Neighbors
Penn Medicine

Contributing Sponsors
Golden Valley Farms
Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge
Paul Olson
Period Architecture, Ltd.

Patron Sponsors
Jim & Janet Bruce
Cottage Industries
Michael Heaberg
Tom Hogan & Victoria Silbey
State Rep Warren Kampf
Glenna LaSalle Keene
Kristen Mayock
Liz Mercogliano
MJ Monahan Builders, Inc.
Pete & Bonnie Motel
James & Nancy Sanborn
Victoria ‘Tory’ Snyder
Strategic Realty Investments, LLC
Susan Levin Design
Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission
Warren Claytor Architects, Inc
Wise Preservation Planning
Murph Wysocki

I thank the Trust board members and the many volunteers who help make the annual House Tour a success – please know that your time and talents are greatly appreciated!

Historic homeowners, Trust board members, volunteers, sponsors and visitors . . . I thank you all!

7th Annual Historic House Tour — Foxmead of Strafford

Foxmead, circa 1911 was designed by the prolific Philadelphia architect, Charles Barton Keen, in the colonial revival style that was popular at the time. This Strafford historic home is one of eight featured stops on the 7th Annual Historic House Tour, Saturday, September 24, 12 Noon – 5 PM.

Tickets are $35 and are available at the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation website, The Trust is a registered nonprofit 501C3 and your contributions are tax-deductible as the law permits.

Old houses have stories to tell and the houses of Tredyffrin do not disappoint!

Foxmead, circa 1911

7th Annual Historic House Tour Saturday, September 24 . . . Tickets Now Available!

Old houses tell wonderful stories, and the houses of Tredyffrin Township have many tales to tell!

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, 12 noon – 5PM, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 7th Annual Historic House Tour will open doors to our community’s past. This year’s tour will opening the doors to eight unique historic homes in Tredyffrin Township in Strafford, Berwyn, Valley Forge and Malvern. 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.

We are delighted to announce that this year the Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge will serve as the pick-up point for House Tour tickets. The school is at Ivy Hollow Farm on Thomas Road inside the Valley Forge National Historic Park. The MCHVF classrooms are in Ivy Hollows’ barn and the administration and offices are in the original 1750 farmhouse; both buildings will be open for tours. Believing in historic preservation, the school opened last year at their new location after the school raised the necessary funds for the multi-million dollar renovation to the barn and farmhouse. In addition to participating on the House Tour, the school is also supporting the Trust’s historic preservation efforts through a House Tour sponsorship.

The 2010 Historic House Tour enjoyed an 83 percent increase in ticket sales from the prior year, so the ‘bar’ is set high for this year’s House Tour! All monies raised from the Trust’s annual fundraiser go toward the rebuilding efforts of the Jones Log Barn at Duportail in Chesterbrook. When rebuilt, the barn will serve as a living history museum for the entire community. Tickets for the House Tour are $35/person — The Trust is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization, so all contributions are tax-deductible as the law permits.

With the help of the community, I am looking forward to another successful House Tour. How can you help? Several ways . . .

Sponsorship: The 7th Annual Historic House Tour is a great way to gain targeted visibility for you and/or your business. I am pleased to say, that a number of citizens and local businesses have already agreed to help in this way. This is a great way to show your support of historic preservation in our community; and to show others of that support – sponsors will be listed on the Trust website, publicity press releases, tour brochures and on Community Matters. Invitations will also be extended for a private cocktail party hosted by the Trust’s Board of Directors on Friday, September 16 at a former House Tour participant’s home. For further details on sponsorships, click here.

Volunteering: We have a dedicated core group of people who help with the House Tour each year but as the tour increases in attendance, there is a greater need for volunteers. There are a number of opportunities to help with the House Tour prior to September 24, envelope stuffing, posters and signage, but most importantly ‘extra hands’ are needed on the day of the tour. Help is required from 10 AM – 12 Noon on the tour day to help with check-in, parking, etc. If you would enjoy serving as a volunteer docent in one of the historic houses, we are in need extra volunteers. If you have a willingness to help, we can find something for you to . . . just give me a call at 610.644.6759 or email me at

Advertise: Another important way for you to help is by spreading the word about the House Tour. Mention the tour to your friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. Forward this post, add a Facebook note (if you search on Facebook under ‘7th Annual Historic House Tour’) I created a page. Are you a social media wiz, consider tweeting about the event. Can you help us make this a wonderful community event?

Purchase Tickets: Lastly, please buy House Tour tickets — you won’t be disappointed. Over the years, over 50 homeowners in Tredyffrin have opened the doors to their beautiful historic homes and this year’s group is just as special. I’ll mention some of the specific details on the houses in the days leading up to the tour. To order tickets online using PayPal, visit the Trust website, To download a House Tour ticket form to pay by check, click here.

Thank you to those who will show their support of historic preservation by serving as a sponsor, a volunteer or by purchasing tickets. And a very special thank you to this year’s homeowners who have graciously agreed to open their homes for the public.

Pattye Benson
Chair, 7th Annual Historic House Tour
President, Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust

6th Annual Historic House Tour — 85% Jump in Ticket Sales from 2009!

Looking outside today, what a difference a day makes! Yesterday was one of those magical days that will be remembered long after the final guest departed. This year’s old house owners on the Trust’s annual historic house tour were amazing – the effort and time spent on details by each of the homeowners was truly remarkable. With blue skies, summer-like temperatures and help from many volunteers, the house tour surpassed my wildest expectations.

Using Community Matters, email blasts, the support from the local press – Main Line Media News, and, Conestoga Woodlea Civic Association, Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth, this year’s tour literally ‘jumped’ in attendees and in dollars raised. There was a 85% increase in attendees from last year – 278 people paid for tickets! If I add the volunteers and homeowners, close to 350 people were on the tour.

Proceeds from ticket sales, contributions and sponsorships totaled $11,000 from yesterday’s house tour and benefit the Jones Log Barn rebuilding project.

Community Matters © 2024 Frontier Theme