Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: April 2003 Volume 40 Number 2, Pages 73–76


Page 73

A Reader Writes

We have received an interesting note from Chester County Historical Society photo archivist Pamela Powell, who read with interest the story about the Burroughs Research Center in Paoli that appeared in the January issue of the Quarterly:

I wish to thank you for the issue on Burroughs Corp. The author conveyed the energy of the fledging Burroughs. My dad worked on the government contracts – so I never knew just what those products were they developed! It is sad to think that the original office in Paoli is now gone. But times change, so does the business world.

Devon Resident Fills Supreme Court Vacancy

William H. Lamb, Devon resident and senior partner at the West Chester law firm of Lamb, Windle & McErlane, was sworn in as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice on February 7, 2003. He was gubernatorial appointee. The term expires January 5, 2004, and Lamb has agreed not to seek election to the office.

He becomes only the third Chester County resident to sit on the State Supreme Court and the first since Thomas S. Bell in 1847. Lamb earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University in 1962 and his law degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1965.

Page 74

2003 Calendar

An 8-1/2 by 11 inch-size 2003 calendar displaying photographs of local historic structures has been offered for sale by the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization, established in 2001 to promote the preservation and conservation of historic, cultural, and environmental resources of Tredyffrin township. The Trust's first mission was to save the circa 1730s Richard-Jones log barn located off Old State road, one of the few remaining examples of an English Lake District Barn, which was then scheduled for demolition.

Tredyffrin township's Board of Supervisors provided an emergency loan of $25,000 to finance the project to dismantle and store the barn. Sales of the calendar, along with other fundraising, will be used to repay this loan. It is hoped that the barn can be re-erected as part of the current Wilson Park construction project. The calendar, which also contains two pages of "important Tredyffrin Township information," can be obtained for $12 at the township offices on DuPortail Road.

Battle of Brandywine

A new book about the Battle of Brandywine, by Coatesville native Bruce Mowday, has arrived in local bookstores. With the provocative title September 11, 1777: Washington's Defeat at Brandywine Dooms Philadelphia, it tells the story of the Revolutionary War battle fought one week before the same invading troops of British Gen. William Howe encamped for three days along Swedesford Road in Tredyffrin Township.

A recent item of related interest was the November 27, 2002 announcement that a conservation easement permanently preserving 110 acres of the Brandywine battlefield from development had been finalized, with the Commissioners of Chester County making a key financial commitment to the preservation project.

Library Opening

The all new Easttown Library & Information Center, located at 720 First Avenue, Berwyn, opened at 9:30 a.m. on February 21,

Page 75

2003 with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by about 75 persons, including library staff, Friends of the Library, Easttown officials, and eager patrons. Hal Hurff, President of the Library Trustees, greeted the group and introduced William F. Connor, III, Chairman of the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors, and Cecy Keller, Director of the Chester County Library System, whose short remarks expressed gratitude for completion of the beautiful new community asset.

Six persons closely involved in the project then wielded scissors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In addition to Connor and Keller, Gene Williams, Township Manager; Maureen Mulhall, President of the Friends of the Library; Stacey McConnell, President of the Library Foundation; and Peggy Mahan, Library director, snipped the ribbon which was held by Ann Plambeck, the Library's assistant director and head of reference, and Gretchen Davis, head of Library circulation. The doors of the new facility were thrown open and the waiting crowd entered to view the spacious new layout and enjoy samples of punch and cookies.

The new facility replaces an older, smaller building on the same site which had been used since 1982. It was torn down last year to make way for the new 16,000 square-foot Library & Information Center which cost about $4.2 million. For the approximately 13-month construction period, the Library used temporary quarters in the Bronze Building on Old Lancaster Road in the east end of Berwyn.

Blackburn Farm to be Developed

A tract of about 37 acres on the northeast corner of Leopard and Sugartown Roads in Easttown (at one time known as Priest's corner, named for Samuel Priest a nearby landowner) is now under development. On early maps, ownership in 1860 can be traced to Peter Supplee. During the latter period of Supplee's tenure, the farm included 95 acres and extended south of Sugartown Road.

In 1912, the property, then owned by Col. Cyrus S. Radford, was named "Mansford." This was the era of settlement in the country by those seeking a summer place, not necessarily a working farm. In fact, the Pennsylvania Railroad was then promoting country living along its lines.

Page 76

The name "Blackburn Farm" first appeared on a 1933 map, when it was owned by Burd T. Collins. As late as 1950 the farm still consisted of 95 acres. Collins died some time before 1963 when his estate owned only the 37 acres now to be developed. Subsequently title descended to Victoria Pacaud (Mrs. C. Edward), the mother of Henry L. Collins III, a coaching enthusiast and assistant vice president of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, who revived the Carriage Marathon in 1966 after it had been discontinued following World War II.

Easttown Township approved a 29-acre, 22-lot subdivision of the Pacaud property. The plan allows for the farmhouse along with about eight acres of the original 37-acre tract to be separated from the development. The Pacaud family will continue to live in the farmhouse.

Blackburn Farm was used for 31 years as the assembly site for the annual Devon Horse Show carriage marathon. Begun at the farm each May, the event's pageantry and showmanship attracted many spectators. After preliminary judging there, the horses and carriages went their way four-and-one-half-miles through Easttown streets to the show grounds for final judging, much to the delight of residents waiting and watching along the route.

Site for New Township Park Acquired by Tredyffrin

The Tredyffrin board of supervisors has acquired the seven-acre former "fireworks tract," lying between East Conestoga and Old Lancaster Roads in Devon, for development as a township park. In consideration of a reduced price by the sellers, Westover Builders, the recreation area will be named Westover Park.

Beginning shortly after World War I the land was used by the Vardaro family for a fireworks manufacturing business. On April 3, 1930, three devastating explosions leveled the plant. Ten persons were killed and scores of others injured. The blast tore down overhead wires and interrupted service on the adjacent tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad and caused other significant property damage in the neighborhood. The site remained empty and unused since that time.


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