HARB/ Historical Commission met on Tuesday, September 17th. Those members present were Melissa Dieranian, Dale Frens, Nancy Long, Rosemary Philips, John Pittock, Fran Rodgers, Cindy Thompson and Dan Wright. Tom Fillippo, Sheila Klement and Mike Richter were absent.
The initial meeting was a site visit to the historical property at Swiss Pines. This property is owned by the Bartschi Foundation and is in conservation with French and Pickering Land Trust. Kim and Bill Coyle are presently trustees for the property. At the site, Rosemaiy gave a brief background summary of the history of Swiss Pines. Baitschi acquired the property and many more acres and it was made part of Charlestown Village. He envisioned that the whole area could become a landmark historical area and somewhat similar to a mini Williamsburg area. The Japanese Gardens were developed and became well known and highly regarded for many years. Historical Committee members observed that on the 1820 Llewellyn mansion, the area above the back patio had come down and also some work had been done on the front part of the roof. Discussion of the condition and further recommendations of the site would be at the follow-up meeting at the Township Mill location.
In the follow-up meeting, the agenda started with announcements. Great Valley School District presently has only online classes and even if the District opens schools in the near future, no outside groups will be permitted to use the school buildings for meetings and our meetings would need to be scheduled elsewhere. John Pittock did mention that one location might be at the Wisner/Rapp House.
Work at Brightside Farm was brought up. Work on the rented house has not been done but the BOS seemed to accept our recommendations about the roof and cornice repair. Dale Frens had suggested at our July meeting that other structures on Brightside, such as the chicken coops and pig sty should be checked. There will be a visit to Brightside Farm on October 20th. This will not be a regular meeting.
In the discussion about Swiss Pines the interest of HARB/ Historical Commission was cited because this site is part of Charlestown Village and important to the Township as such. The Llewellyn Mansion and other main infrastructures seem to be solid and could be restored. However, very much work and great expense would be required. The BOS has expressed interest in discussing the future of Swiss Pines with the Coyles and the Bartschi Foundation. Rosemary asked Dale, Nancy and Dan to work together to formulate a plan and some recommendations.
Members were given a copy of the 2020 proposed and actual budgets for 2020 and some preceding years for HARB and asked if they had any suggestions for additional expenses. Rosemary and Fran will meet with Linda Csete to develop a budget for 2021. Questions were asked about expenses at the Township Cemetery. Work there was on hold during the past year but should proceed in 2021.
Members will be notified of the date and location of our next meeting.