Charlestown Township
Historical & Architectural Review Board
Great Valley Middle School
Minutes of Tuesday, January 17, 2017

FROM: Fran Rodgers, Cochairman HARB
DATE: JANUARY 24, 2017

HARB/Historical Commission met on Tuesday, January 17th at the GVMS. Those members present are in bold type: Linda Appler; Tom Fillipo, Dale Frens, Sheila Klement, Ann Kline, Nancy Long, Rosemary Philips, John Pittock, Fran Rodgers, and Dan Wright. Because this was the initial meeting of the year, there was a reorganization and all agreed that Rosemary and Fran should continue as co-chairpersons.

Rosemary showed an impressive booklet which is the final draft of the exhibit design of the Township Mill. This is based on the enormous amount of prior work done and then complied professionally by Peter Dajevskis of Interpretive Solutions and in association with Beth Stricker It is a color coded presentation of the signage that will be erected around the Mill interior depicting the use and changes from the early 1700’s until the last ownership by the Baughmann’s in 1929. This package booklet will be presented at the next BOS meeting for approval on Monday, February 6th. Also, at that time, a package on a proposal for lights will be given. The original landscape plan did not include lights but it was determined that they should be a necessary part of the completed project and low level lighting on the Mill’s exterior grounds will also be done. This work is scheduled for the coming spring and summer and should be completed by September. As of now, it is contemplated that the Mill will be open for visits by appointment or prior arrangement. Having volunteers at the Mill at those times is also part of the future plan. It is hoped that the completed project will inspire interest and appreciation of all the work done on this spectacular township property. It was suggested that if any of us know of someone who should be included on the invitation list at the dedication, they should forward that name to Linda Csete.

A discussion followed about recent property transfers of historic homes. One such property was the former Allen home on White Horse Road. The owners and prospective buyers appeared at HARB in September asking for permission for demolition of the house. HARB recommended to the BOS that such demolition could take place with some restrictions. It was noted that settlement was made by the buyers, the Tangri’s, in December. Another historic property, part of the Volpi Tract which included the Cornog-Supplee House and about 5 acres, was bought by Eric Davison and is being developed into his landscape business. Mr. Boyle, owner of The Office restaurant had expressed interest in the site but his plans would have entailed a parking lot for up to 40 cars. This would have negative impact on a stream and would not have been permitted. Mr. Davison is required to preserve the house and the spring house on this property.

A third property, the Little School on Pikeland Road was discussed. Little School was the only two-story school in Charlestown before the consolidation of schools in the 1920’s. It was originally built for $800 on ¼ acre in 1839. It has been a private residence for a number of years and a previous owner had made some additions. There is a stand alone garage, a sunroom and a porch. The new owners, the Futterers, want to remove the entry vestibule and make a one story connection to the other rooms. Since this does not involve a demolition of a historic section, they do not need to appear before HARB.

Dale Frens gave each of us a report detailing an inspection of the Ice Dam Ruins that he, Rosemary, Dan Wright and Robert Beebe, a stone mason, had made in November of 2015. The Dam was built in 1900, used as a commercial ice pond, later for recreation until it was breached by a flood in 1942. It was acquired by the Township in 1983. The report states that the overall condition of the Dam is good, However there are some safety concerns for hikers and some issues to keep the Dam viable, Mr. Bebee wrote that “while existing ruins themselves appear to be structurally sound, there are hazards surrounding the structures that could be improved to insure a safer site”. Dale’s report concurs with this and has three recommendations about removal of trees, underbrush and other invasive vegetation. We felt that it would be good to recommend to the BOS that a project to stabilize and clean up the Ice Dam site would be good use of Open Space funds.

Dale brought up the subject of ordinances for structures on the Historic Resource Map and wondered if those owners outside the historic district can be obligated to follow the rules. It was pointed out that any proposed demolition of any part of one of those structures must come before HARB for a review.

At one time, our township was asked to take part in the county-wide project of an atlas of historic structures. We declined at the time because our historic resources map was done in a different manner and it would have involved time and expense. Rosemary said that there might be an incentive for us to do it now and she will check with the county office on the matter.

Since there was no old business, we adjourned and were reminded that our next scheduled meeting would be on March 21st.