Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: July 1998 Volume 36 Number 3, Pages 100–102

Notes and Comments

Page 100


Groundbreaking at Easttown Hilltop Complex

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday morning, May 14, 1998, at Hilltop in Devon, the future home of a new park and municipal building for Easttown Township. The ceremony was attended by current and former Easttown officials, Chester County commissioners, who provided a $250,000 grant for the park, and local citizens. Dr. W. H. Sterg O'Dell and his wife Frances donated the 20+ acre property to Easttown Township in 1996. O'Dell, a retired university professor who still lives next door on a sub-divided portion of the estate, was on hand to turn the first spade of earth.

Hilltop is the township's first park. It will cover about 20 acres of the tract. Its $660,000 cost includes practice and regulation soccer fields, paved walking path, tot lot, picnic pavilion, parking area, new fencing and additional landscaping. Portions of the park will be ready by the fall, and it will be fully available for use by the spring of 1999.

On an additional three acres, not considered part of the park, the town­ship will convert a white stone barn into approximately 10,000 square feet of space for police and administrative departments. The cost, including parking areas, new utility lines, driveways and landscaping, will be $1,800,000. Completion is anticipated in early 1999. As yet no decision has been made as to use of the main house, "Hilltop", the former O'Dell mansion, located off Beaumont and Newtown Roads.

Page 101


Local Family Receives Awards

John (Jack) Ansley Jr. was named Citizen of the Year by the Berwyn-Devon Business and Professional Association for his efforts in organizing the very successful first-time walking tour of Berwyn last year. The Village Walk drew almost 300 participants on a summer evening in August.

Ansley received his award at the Association's annual dinner held on June 3, 1998 at the Waynesborough Country Club. Jack and his father operate a photographic studio on Lancaster Avenue in Devon.

It was a big year for Jack Ansley and his family, as only two months earlier daughter Elizabeth Ansley was selected as the recipient of the Berwyn Fire Company's "Firefighter of the Year" award.


Landmark Paoli Service Station Closes

The DiAntonio Brothers Auto Service Center and former Gulf gas station at Chestnut Road and Lancaster Avenue in Paoli closed on June 26, 1998 as part of the Paoli Shopping Center expansion. It had operated at the location for 64 years. Only two decades ago, there were over a dozen gas and service stations in Paoli. With DiAntonio's gone, only three are left; two that offer gas and service, and one "gas and go" station.


Freedoms Foundation Founder Dies

Kenneth Dale Wells, one of the founders of the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, died on May 10, 1998 in Florida at age 89. He was instru­mental in developing the foundation in 1949 along with soon-to-be Presi­dent Dwight Eisenhower, investment banker E. F. Hutton, and advertising executive Donald Belding. The founders espoused the free enterprise system and a patriotic way of life. They felt these values had become muted after the war, and set out to build a place where they could be found again. Wells was the foundation president from 1951 to 1970.


Easttown Township Farm to be Developed

Toll Brothers, a national developer, has commenced building Berwyn Estates, a single-family housing development, on the site of Hillside Farm along Route 252 in Easttown at the Newtown Township line. Hillside Farm was owned by architect R. Brognard Okie, an early member of the History Club, and later by his son Charles. A part will remain in the Okie family.

Page 102


Berwyn Drugstore Closes

Connor's Pharmacy, at the southeast corner of Lancaster and Main Avenues in Berwyn, closed on March 21,1998 after 43 years of operation. It was one of the last independent drugstores on the Main Line. Proprietor William F. Connor attributed the closing to the state of the health care industry today. Insurance company reimbursements on prescriptions have dropped to the point where it is no longer profitable for the neigh­borhood pharmacy to be in business.

A 1951 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Connor opened his own drugstore in 1954 (his father had also operated drugstores). Two months after getting married, he took over the former Albert E. Day pharmacy in Berwyn. The store was subsequently enlarged and has been an important part of the downtown scene.


Conestoga High Principal to Retire

With the conclusion of the school year, Dr. Kaye Pollock has announced her retirement as Principal of Conestoga High School, effective August 25, 1998. She has been principal there for five years.

Pollock earned undergraduate and master's degrees at Pennsylvania State University, where she studied adolescent psychology. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Originally from Ohio, Pollock entered the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District in 1970, and held a variety of posts before becoming principal, including Director of Guidance, Assistant Principal, and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent.

Susan Yates, Assistant Principal in 1997-98, has been selected to advance to the Principal's post. She spent 23 years at North Hunterdon High School in New Jersey before joining Conestoga last year.


"Berwvn Walk" Slide Show - Take II

The History Club Berwyn Walk slide show took to the road again on April 30, 1998, stopping at the Easttown Library where Barbara Fry reviewed the history of the village for an enthusidatic audience, using slide photo­graphs taken by Skip Eichner, and the guide script prepared for last summer's actual tour. It was another successful evening.


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