Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust Elects Four New Board Members

TREDYFFRIN, PA—The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust elected four new Board members at its January meeting held on Wednesday, January 8, at the Tredyffrin Township Building. The newly elected Board members include two who are returning to the Board and two new to the Trust.

 The returning Board members are Robert J. Wise, Jr., who was the founding President of the Trust and served on its Building and Capital Campaign Committees, and Pearl Nudy, who served on the Board from 2008 to 2011 and was previously the Trust’s Recording Secretary, New Board members are Elizabeth “Libby” Brinton, a long-time Tredyffrin resident who has been active with the Trust’s annual historic house tours, and James P. McKinley, an active Tredyffrin resident who relocated here in 1996.

 “The Trust is extremely pleased with the additions to its Board,” commented Pattye Benson, Trust President and Chair of its Historic House Tour.  “We welcome the return of Bob and Pearl, who both previously made significant contributions to the Trust, and the addition of Libby and Jim, who reflect the growing interest within the community of the Trust’s efforts and activities.”

 The Trust also recognized the contributions of two departing Board members: Glenna Keene and Gretchen Kiernan, who were designated Director Emeritus for their long-time support and continued interest in and support of historic preservation.

 About the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust

Founded in 2001, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization established in response to the threat to demolish the historic 18th Century Jones Log Barn. 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 cultural settings. The Trust meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Tredyffrin Township Building.  Information on the Trust and its activities are available at its website: www.tredyffrinhistory.org.

Contact: Pattye Benson (610) 644-6759, e-mail: info@tredyffrinhistory.org

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Posted in Board Activity

Phase II Campaign Committee Led by 1976 Conestoga High Graduates

The Living History Center at Duportail — Phase II Campaign Committee Led by 1976 Conestoga High Graduates

 

Trust Board VP Murph Wysocki, Ron Rubley, State Rep Carole Rubley and Tredyffrin Supervisor Michelle Kichline ~ photo by Maurice Weintaub

Trust Board VP Murph Wysocki, Ron Rubley, State Rep Carole Rubley and Tredyffrin Supervisor Michelle Kichline
~ photo by Maurice Weintaub

Capital Campaign Co-Chair Kevin Mahoney  ~ photo by Maurice Weintraub

Capital Campaign Co-Chair Kevin Mahoney
~ photo by Maurice Weintraub

With all of the data collected from the interviews conducted last year, the Trust asked former School Board member, Kevin Mahoney, and founder and owner of Nudy’s Café, Ray Nudy, to co-chair the Phase II Capital Campaign. Both said, “Yes!”

It turns out that Kevin and Ray were classmates at Conestoga High School during the mid-1970’s and even played football together. David Mackey, a new member on the Trust’s Board of Directors, also joined the Campaign Committee. He graduated in 1976 with Ray Nudy. Mahoney graduated a year later.  They all recall the celebration of our Nation’s bicentennial – the caravan of Conestoga wagons riding along Lancaster Avenue in Paoli and the transfer of Valley Forge from a State Park to a National Historical Park on July 4, 1976.

 Three individuals who grew up here have come together to lead Phase II of the Capital Campaign. Their core committee includes Judy DiFilippo, Trust member and former Township Supervisor; John Sacharok, former Trust member and owner of West Chester’s Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters; and, Bob Wise, owner of Wise Preservation Planning and founding President of the Trust.

General Anthony Wayne

General Anthony Wayne welcomes guests.
~photo by Maurice Weintraub

On August 15, 2013, invited guests and friends gathered at Duportail House to learn about the Living History Center at Duportail. They represented past supporters, House Tour homeowners, area corporations, small local businesses, and community leaders.  General Anthony Wayne, portrayed by Charles Fifer, greeted guests as they arrived.

Attendees gathered on the lawn after enjoying some conversation and the light fare donated by Campaign co-Chair Ray Nudy. Co-Chair, Kevin Mahoney welcomed everyone and spoke about the importance of the project. He said it was our opportunity to create a place where our children and grandchildren could come to learn about the history that surrounds this community and to hear about the stories of the people who made it happen.

 To support Kevin’s message, Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Kate Hammond spoke about the importance of preserving these local resources. She pointed-out it was General Louis Duportail who  convinced Washington to establish the encampment at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778.  She mentioned the importance of those who came from foreign countries with skills that aided our cause.  Duportail was an engineer, trained in the strategies of war.

 Adding to the story of Duportail was Curtis A. Heckleman, a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  He confirmed  Duportail is

General Wayne with Capital Campaign members Judy DiFilippo and Bob Wise and Campaign consultant Tim Smedick. ~ Photo by Maurice Weintraub

General Wayne with Capital Campaign members Judy DiFilippo and Bob Wise and Campaign consultant Tim Smedick.
~ Photo by Maurice Weintraub

credited as being a founder of the Corps of Engineers. Duportail’s motto for the Corps was Essayons, (“Let Us Try”).  Essayons remains the Corps’ creed today.

 General Wayne led everyone to the site of the Jones Log Barn foundation where Bob Wise spoke about what needs to be done to complete the project – bringing the logs back together to complete the structure.  Upon completion, The Living History Center at Duportail will become a central gathering place for local history.

Mr. Mahoney announced  the Campaign had already raised more than $100,000 of its $300,000 goal and asked the community to help in not only reaching the Campaign’s goal, but exceeding it!  Nudy’s Café will be donating a portion of its sales sometime this Fall, dates to be announced.  Please call Judy DiFilippo at 610-688-7723 or contact any of the other Campaign Committee members if you want to become a part of this effort.  As Duportail said, “Essayons.”  As Mr. Heckelman said, “Let us try!”

Posted in Capital Campaign

Meeting New Board Members

On a lovely Sunday afternoon in early June, members of the Boards of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and of Duportail House, Inc. held a joint reception at Duportail House for all members to meet each other.  It was also an occasion to announce the kick-off of the Capital Campaign, Phase II, for The Living History Center at Duportail.

Once gathered, Trust President Pattye Benson welcomed everyone.  She thanked all of those who have been involved in preserving the Duportail House and the adjacent Federal Barn and reminded all that both are on the National Register of Historic Places.   Ms. Benson thanked the Duportail House Board for supporting the Jones Log Barn project and for giving it a new home.  She acknowledged and thanked Luigi DiFilippo, President of Duportail House, for his many, many efforts to preserve these two historic structures over the years.  She noted the many improvements to the grounds of the property that have been made as well.

Trust Board member and Capital Campaign Committee member, Judy DiFilippo, gave a brief history of the Trust’s efforts over the past 10 years, and announced the pending kick-off of the Capital Campaign, Phase II.  Its goal is to raise $300,000.00 to complete the final restoration and reconstruction of the Jones Log Barn.  Completed as Phase I of the project, the logs will rest upon the foundation adjacent to the Federal Barn.  The Trust and the Capital Campaign Committee recently completed new Campaign materials.  The brochure features an image of the 3 historic buildings together – Duportail House, the Federal Barn, and the Jones Log Barn – as The Living History Center at Duportail.

Duportail Board member, Pamela Lukacs led some of the guests through a tour of the recently stabilized Federal Barn while others continued to enjoy the ambiance of the historic home.  Also in attendance from the Duportail Board were Luigi DiFilippo, Tim Lander, and Jim Matthews.

Trust Board members Murph Wysocki, Kathleen Keohane, Jean Dixon, Bonnie Haughey, Brad Tiffany, Maurice Weintraub, and David Mackey were joined by longtime supporters and former Board members Glenna Keene, Gretchen Kiernan, and Bob Wise.  Tim Smedick, Capital Campaign Fundraising Counsel, came to meet the newer Board members.  Spouses and friends enjoyed the afternoon as well.

Though not present, Judy recognized the two co-Chairs of the Capital Campaign – Kevin Mahoney and Ray Nudy, who will be actively working with Tim Smedick, David Mackey, John Sacharok, and Bob Wise on the fundraising efforts which will commence this summer.

The next step of the Capital Campaign will be to get the Capital Campaign Committee together and then plan an event to inform our constituents about the project and recruit additional volunteer solicitors.

With the support of all those in attendance, it was agreed that the Living History Center at Duportail will soon become a reality.

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Posted in Capital Campaign

“Mt. Zion AME Church – An Evening of History and Plans for the Future” — Spring Lecture, May 8, 2013 Video

The Trust is grateful to Gene Donahue, Tredyffrin Township studio/station manager for Tredyffrin Township Television for attending and videotaping our Spring Lecture, “Mt. Zion AME Church – An Evening of History and Plans for the Future”.  

The Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Devon is the oldest continuous African-American congregation of any denomination on the entire Main Line.  Guest lecturers from Wise Preservation Planning, Bob Wise and Seth Hinshaw, presented an evening of Mt. Zion AME Church history.  The cornerstone dates to 1861, with Mt. Zion roots dating to the Free African Society, a group of slaves and former slaves in the Philadelphia area.  The stone with stucco over the walls structure was begun in 1861 in the “raised” Chapel Plan. There are 20 members of the Civil War Colored Veterans buried in the adjacent cemetery. Wise and Hinshaw shared the application process to place Mt. Zion on the National Register of Historic Places. The application statement reads in part, “Locally significant for its association with the African-American community’s battle against school segregation in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships, Chester County.”

 The presentation includes introductions by Rev. April M. Martin and Polly Hagan of THPT, a performance by Minister of Music John Pollard, and it relies heavily on the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society’s Roger Thorne’s investigation and chronicle of “The School Fight of 1932-1934.”

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To watch the video of the Spring Lecture, “Mt Zion AME Church – An Evening of History and Plans for the Future”, click on the following link:

Spring Lecture May 8, 2013: Bob Wise & Seth Hinshaw present the history of Mt. Zion AME Church

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Posted in Lecture

Mt. Zion AME Church (c. 1861) – An Evening of History and Plans for the Future

Mt. Zion AME Church (c.1861) May 9, 2013 lecture

Trust Spring Lecture Series – Mt. Zion AME Church

Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Devon, the oldest continuous African-American congregation of any denomination on the entire Main Line, was included in the Spring 2013 Lecture Series on May 9th.

Bob Wise and Seth Hinshaw of Wise Preservation Planning LLC presented an evening of Mt. Zion AME Church history. The cornerstone dates to 1861, with Mt. Zion roots dating to the Free African Society, a group of slaves and former slaves in the Philadelphia area.  There are 20 members of the Civil War Colored Veterans buried in the adjacent cemetery.

The lecture in Mt. Zion’s historic 1861 chapel provided the perfect place for the lecture.  Bob and Seth provided a wonderful history lesson of the church and its importance in history.  Twenty years before the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education forced the policy of separate but unequal onto the national agenda, the families of 200+ African American children in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships boycotted their own segregated schools.  The families whose children were ordered into dilapidated school buildings for black students, fought the “school fight” and Mt. Zion AME Church was the central meeting place as they planned their battle – and won.

 

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Posted in Lecture