Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: January 1997 Volume 35 Number 1, Pages 35–38

Notes and Comments

Page 35


Memorial Flag Pole Dedicated

Radnor Historical Society remembered its long-time associate, the late Bob Goshorn, with a special ceremony on October 19, 1996 at the headquarters in Wayne, The society dedicated a new memorial flag pole on the Finley House lawn, marked by a bronze plaque at its base which reads, "Robert M. Goshorn, 1919-1995, board member, good friend." RHS president Bennett Hill Jr. presided at the ceremony, L. G. "Skip" Eichner was present to represent the History Club at the dedication event.


Easttown Township Accepts Gift of O'Dell Estate

Easttown township supervisors on November 25, 1996 voted to accept with gratitude the generous gift of approximately 25 acres of land, a 12-bedroom mansion named Hilltop House, and a barn. The property, bordered by Beaumont, Newtown, and Waterloo roads, was officially deeded to the township on December 30 by Dr. and Mrs. W. H. Sterg O'Dell.

The original building most likely dates from the 18th century when it may have served as a tenant farmhouse. A renovation and expansion, erected between 1895 and 1905, gave the house its present form. Although not verifiable, it is likely that Richardson Brognard Okie can be credited with design of the house.

Plans call for Easttown to move its administrative offices and police department into the mansion and barn sometime before the lease on its current space in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District building expires in 2002. Hilltop House is scheduled to be the Vassar Show House next spring.

Page 36


Devon Building Supply Co. Closes

One of the best-known and oldest lumber yards on the Main Line, Devon Buiiding Supply Co., Old Lancaster Road and Route 30 in Devon, has closed its doors permanently. A public auction, held November 8, 1996, to liquidate the remaining inventory of building supplies, materials, hardware and equipment, was prompted by the death of owner Martin Spinelli on July 20.

A lumber yard was first established on the Lancaster Turnpike, in what was then Spread Eagle, by Clayton A. Lobb of Berwyn about 1877. Lobb had for a time run the lumber yard in Berwyn for his sister Mary, widow of Henry Fritz, who had died in a tragic accident in 1870. Lobb's sons, William C., Walter L., and Norman H. Lobb, later joined him in the business. After his death in 1917, their families continued to operate the location into the World War II years.

Martin Spinelli, long-time Devon resident and master builder, bought the property in 1944 from the Lobb interests and founded Devon Building Supply Co. His business expanded with the suburbs during the 1950s and 1960s, and many Main Line homes were built with lumber and other building materials obtained through Devon Building Supply. Spinelli's death brought about the family decision to close the business and seek to lease the property for other uses.


Devon Man in Close Race for Attorney General

Devon resident Joseph Kohn made a strong run on the Democrat ticket for the state office of attorney general in the November 5, 1996 general election. He was defeated in a close race by Republican Mike Fisher. The final tally was 2,081,421 for Fisher and 2,013,667 for Kohn. Early returns had indicated a Kohn victory, but after the final vote from western precincts was tabulated, Fisher emerged the victor.

Kohn, age 39, was born and raised in Devon. He is a graduate of Conestoga High School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova Law School, and is employed in the law firm of Kohn, Nast & Graf in Philadelphia.

The father of three elementary school-aged children began his political career in 1981 when he successfully ran for the office of tax collector in Easttown on a platform to effectively abolish it as a waste of taxpayers' money. In 1992, he lost the attorney general race to Ernie Preate Jr. by two percent of the vote. Despite his strong run in the recent election, he says he does not want to be a career politician and will not be running again.

Page 37


Berwyn Golfer Wins Major Golf Title

Berwyn's Jay Sigel won the season-ending Senior Tour Champion­ship golf tournament at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, SC, on November 10, 1996. A highlight of Sigel's winning effort was a one-hop "hole-in-one" on the fifth hole of the third round of play. It was his second career Senior victory.The first came in the 1994 GTE West Classic at Ojai, CA, the year he turned pro. In addition to the Senior Championship, he recorded two seconds, two fourths and 11 top-10 finishes on the tour this year.

Jay Sigel

Sigel was the country's best amateur player in the early 1980's when he won the U. S. Amateur in 1982 and 1983, and three Mid-Atlantic Amateur titles. He was also the 1979 British Amateur champion.


King of Prussia Inn to be Moved

The old inn, now marooned on an island between east and west-bound lanes of traffic on US Route 202, will be the future home of the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce, and a museum for the King of Prussia Historical Society. At a press conference on November 1, 1996, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced the new owner (sale price $1) will be the Chamber, and that it will remain in the area which took its name from the Inn.

The sale and move of the Inns closed for 42 years, is crucial to the project to widen Route 202 on which construction is to start in 1998. The 2-1/2 story build­ing, which dates to the early 1700s, is expected to be moved to a 1.5-acre site on South Gulph Road in Upper Merion Township. Plans are being made to open it again on July 4, 1998. A fund-raising effort by the Chamber and Society to raise approximateiy $1.3 million needed to offset expenses is scheduled to commence in the month of March.


60th Anniversary

The Tredyffrin Easttown History Club passed a quiet milestone this past fall. Sixty years ago, meetings held by S. Paul Teamer, Mrs. John Croasdale, Mrs. Charles Bradley (later Mrs. Leroy Fisher) and others led to the formation of the Club.Its name, 'Tredyffrin Easttown History Club," was officially adopted at a meeting on December 1, 1936. So, Happy Anniversary TEHC, and may you enjoy many more!

Page 38


Annual Banquet

At the annual Club banquet on October 23, 1996, members heard a slide illustrated presentation titled "Flowers on the Frontier: John Bartram and the Gardens of Colonial Pennsylvania" by Joel T. Fry, curator at Historic Bartram's Garden, the pre-Revolutionary home of John Bartram, located at 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard in Philadelphia.

John Bartram, and his son William, were Quaker farmers, botanists and plant explorers. Bartram bought his 102-acre farm on the Schuylkill in 1728, enlarged the existing stone house and started to develop his garden. He educated himself, learning Latin in order to study botanical books. His knowledge of botany, and his travels to collect seeds and roots, brought him fame, both in the colonies and abroad. His descendants lived in his house, and ran the garden until 1850 when it was purchased by Andrew Eastwick.


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