Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: January 1998 Volume 36 Number 1, Pages 29–32

Notes and Comments

Page 29


Berwyn Bridge Reconstruction Underway

On November 19, 1997 the village of Berwyn witnessed an impressive convocation of SEPTA and government officials at 11a.m. on the outbound parking lot of the railroad station. The occasion was a ground breaking ceremony at the site of the new Cassatt avenue bridge.

The present vehicular bridge which carried Cassatt avenue over the railroad tracks at the Berwyn station has been closed since 1981. It is about 100 years old and is in a deteriorated condition. The new steel bridge, when completed, will be used as a walkway by railroad commuter and other foot traffic only.

John K. Leary jr, General Manager of SEPTA, in remarks to those assembled, emphasized the regional rail system's commitment to serving its many daily riders. "I'm pleased to join you," he said, "to formally kick-off this $4.1 million project that will result in a new pedestrian bridge serving the renovated Berwyn station."

"Since joining SEPTA nearly nine months ago," he continued, "I have been impressed with the breadth of this region and its transportation system. SEPTA is one of the country's most impressive transit systems. But it is also an older system, and while we are looking into building new lines and are creating targeted routes to meet changing demographics, we are also taking steps to preserve the old and bring it into like-new condition. Berwyn Station serves our busiest regional rail route - the R5 Paoli-Downingtown. And more than 300 customers use the station each day. It is in everyone's interest to preserve what is here and to make use of the station a more convenient and pleasurable experience.

Page 30

"We will replace this nearly century old structure with a 115-foot long pedestrian bridge. And while we're here we will build a new outbound platform, and install improved lighting, new stairs, and ramps for customers with special needs. And in keeping with the historic nature of the situation, we will rehabilitate the existing brick platform on the station side.

"Another part of this project of which we can be proud is that it represents a cooperative effort... between SEPTA, the Federal Transit Administration, PennDOT, AMTRAK, Chester county, and Easttown and Tredyffrin townships. It is through such cooperative undertakings that the needs of the local community and SEPTA will be advanced ....

"Our combined efforts are beginning to show results. Ridership is up ­the trends looked strong last month with, for example, a more than five percent increase on the regional rail system.

"I'll conclude by thanking all of you for your perseverance and dedication to making this project happen. We look forward," Leary added, "to working with you over the next 15 months. Please come back in the spring of 1999 for the ribbon cutting and official opening."


Annual Club Banquet

Dr. Ralph Heister Jr., a good friend of our Tredyffrin Easttown community, shared with us his thoughts on "Valley Creek -- Past, Present and Future" at the annual History Club banquet on October 22, 1997. For almost thirty years he taught biology and related sciences at Conestoga High School, and instilled in his students, our children, a sensitivity to environmental concerns. After retirement from teaching in 1993 he launched a whole new career as Executive Director of Green Valleys Association, a Chester county watershed conservation group.

The pollution which plagued Valley Creek in the 1970s and 1980s has abated, according to Heister. In 1993 the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board designated the creek a waterway of "exceptional value," its most protected classification, but new problems loom. Because so much of Tredyffrin and East Whiteland townships has been paved over, storm water run off that formerly would have been absorbed into the soil plunges into the creek, eroding the banks and cutting wider channels. The mud and sediment damages environmental life. Pourous pavement and larger catch basins will help reverse this cycle, Heister said.

Page 31


T/E Administratrators Tour China's Schools

Schools Superintendent Theodore Foot, Conestoga High Principal Kaye Pollock and Robin McConnell, the district's supervisor of mathematics, science and technology, together with school board member Patricia Wood, traveled in late October to see the educational institutions of China and to explain the educational processes of America to their hosts. The delegation visited the Fudan Attached High School and Fudan University in Shanghai and a K-9 school in a neighboring town. Their goal was to develop an exchange of staff and students and ideas between Conestoga High School and Fudan Attached High, open e-mail communication between young people - especially in mathematics and science - and make possible joint learning media projects.

The travelers carried with them a letter from local resident Julie Nixon Eisenhower, whose children have attended Conestoga High School:

To Fudan University Attached High School:

It is a pleasure to send greetings on behalf of the Nixon and Eisenhower families to the administration, teachers and students at Fudan. I know that Dr. Foot, Dr. Pollock, and Mr. Robin McConnell are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to visit your school and exchange information and ideas. In return, all of us at Conestoga High School look forward to the Fudan delegation's visit with us in Berwyn in the near future.

My father was committed to a meaningful relationship between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America. He devoted the last years of his life to furthering understanding and communication between the high school his beloved grandchildren attend and Shanghai's great Fudan Attached High School.

As a small token of friendship, I am sending with the Conestoga delegation a photograph honoring my father's 75th birthday. He signed the card for me so that I could give it on some special occasion. The visit to Fudan is such a moment.

Two of the children in the photograph, Jennie and Alex Eisenhower, are Conestoga High School students. Melanie Eisenhower will attend Conestoga next year. Cousin Christopher Cox is at Princeton University.

With sincere greetings of friendship.

/s/Julie Eisenhower

October 15, 1997

Page 32


Paoli Battlefield Site Listed On National Register

The Paoli Battlefield and the Paoli Parade Grounds in Malvern Borough have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Official notification of the listing was received by Malvern Borough Manager, Patrick McGuigan, on October 23, 1997. McGuigan is also head of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Committee. The listing draws together the two separately-owned properties as one historic site.

The 22-acre parade grounds has been owned by the Paoli Memorial Association for many years. In its southeast corner are the graves of 53 American soldiers who died in the Battle of Paoli, sometimes called the "Paoli Massacre", on the night of September 20, 1777. The nine foot marble monument erected there in 1817 to mark the site is one of the oldest Revolutionary War monuments in existence. Later, in 1877, a second monument of Quincy granite, "twenty-two feet and a half" tall, was dedicated on the date of battle centennial, as the original stone had become weathered and unsightly.

The adjacent Paoli battlefield property is under agreement of sale from Malvern Preparatory School to the Paoi Battlefield Preservation Committee. It is a 40-acre tract located at the northern end of the school's campus just east of the parade grounds. The battlefield on which the engagement was fought remains farmland and woods and is to be sold by the school to augument its small endowment.

A campaign to obtain necessary funding for the $2.5 million purchase price of the battlefield property is being conducted by the Paoli Battle­field Preservation Committee. The funds must be raised by April 18, 1999. There is an option to extend the closing date to October 18, but at a higher price.


Errata, Volume XXXV - 1997

We have heard from a number of readers that the date given on page 127 of Issue No. 4 (October) for the fire which destroyed Saint Monica Church is incorrect. The fire occurred on May 22, 1991. We regret having published this erroneous information.


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