West Chester Preservation Awards 2016
The West Chester Downtown Foundation would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who participated in the 2016 West Chester Preservation Awards Program! The response to the call for nominations was impressive, and included submissions in each --
Bricks & Mortar, Preservation Service, and West Chester Preservation Legacy Award cetegory. The October 20th Preservation Awards Ceremony was very well-attended and would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors, the committee, and, of course, the enthusiasm of the West Chester community.
Mark your calendar for the 7th Annual West Chester Preservation Awards Ceremony & Reception, to take place on the evening of Thurs., October 19, 2017 at the Chester County Historical Society. In the meantime, think about a project, program, or an individual that you might want to nominate for consideration. Details on this year's nominations period and process will be available shortly.
The purpose of the West Chester Preservation Awards Program is to raise awareness and appreciation of West Chester's historic character and to encourage the preservation of the Borough's historic integrity.
2016 West Chester Preservation Awards
Bricks & Mortar Preservation Awards:
The Sharpless Works - 30 East Evans Street
Adaptive Reuse of the the Sharpless Separator Works Building
Owner: Reinhold Residential
Originally constructed in 1889 by local machinest, Philip M. Sharpless, the Sharpless Works was built to manufacture his popular cream separators. Sited on a five acre property in West Chester's northeast quadrant, the company was extremely successful in marketing its cream separators to farmers throughout America and overseas. Sharpless Works was eventually sold during the Depression in 1933. In 1984 the historic Sharpless Works complex was renovated and adaptively reused as a 155-unit apartment complex. This innovative development was one of West Chester's first examples of repurposing a former industrial complex for modern residential use. The project's design set a high standard for future preservation efforts. The project was originally developed by Landmarks for Living, and the artichitect was John Milner Associates, Inc. of West Chester. Reinhold Residential Properties subsequently purchased the complex, and has continued to maintain the Sharpless Works to a very high level of care. The Sharpless Works was inarguably a critical catalyst for the reinvention of West Chester as a fun, interesting and historic place to live. It continues to serve a critical role in the community as a showcase for what is possible through exceptional historic preservation efforts.
Broadlawns - North Church Street
Addition and Renovations to the Stephen Darlington Residence
Owners: Bill and Dorene Winters
Broadlawns was originally constructed in 1881 as the "cottage" for Stephen P. Darlington, partner in the Hoopes Brothers and Darlington Wheel Works. It was designed by renowned West Chester architect, T. Roney Williamson in the charming and exuberant Queen Ann Style. The Darlington residence was the first of several prominent buildings designed by Williamson in West Chester, including the West Chester Public Library, First West Chester Fire Company on Church Street, and the Courthouse Annex, among others. The current owners, Bill and Dorene Winters, have owned the property for the past eighteen years. During that time they have undertaken a series of restoration and renovation projects to bring the home back to its original glory, and adapt it for their modern needs. Sensitive paint restoration, woodworking and site improvements have brought a new appreciation for the original design. The most recent major project was the design of an addition to provide a new rear entrance vestibule and private sitting room. The exterior of the addition was designed as a cohesive extension of the "cottage". Through careful design and attention to detail, the rear addition has been successfully integrated into the context of the existing home, site, and neighborhood. Through their continued stewardship of the Broadlawns property and construction of the recent rear addition, Bill and Dorene Winters have made a significant contribution to the preservation of West Chester.
Rosenberg Residence - 603 North Walnut Street
Restoration & Preservation of Berthe Moffett House
Owners: Susanne Rosenberg and Husband, David
This home was built circa 1922 by a French woman, Berthe Moffett, to resemble her ancestral home in France. The French Norman style structure features local fieldstone exterior walls and a distinctively steep wood shake roof. The interior was fitted with components brought by ship from France and Britain. Ms. Moffett's daughter, Renee, eventually married and made this her home, until her death in 1946. When the current owners purchased the home about 10 years ago, the home was in need of serious repair. Beginning in 2010, the owners undertook an extensive renovation of the structure, including structural repairs to provide a strong foundation for the project. The contractor, Ted Trethewey, undertook all construction with the end goal of retaining the historic character and architectural features of the house intact, both inside and out. From a preservation standpoint, the most unique aspect of this renovation is the nearly seamless integration of state-of-the-art energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems in the existing home. A 3-unit geothermal heating and cooling system was installed to replace the oil furnace, twenty-plus radiators, and window air conditioners. The new mechanical system required a new whole-house ductwork to be installed throughout the building. The ductwork was carefully integrated and concealed in the existing structure. This is a very challenging proposition for the older masonry structure. To help offset the power requirements of the geothermal HVAC system, a 10.4 Kw solar panel system was installed in the upper rear yard. New lighting, electrical distribution, and digital communications systems were installed throughout the home. New plumbing piping was installed in the house and connected to the Borough systems. All mechanical and electrical work was carefully concealed from view. The owners have demonstrated how historic preservation and comfortable modern living can successfully coexist.
Loew Residence - 424 North Matlack Street
Restoration and Preservation of the David Washingtown Townsend House
Owner: Mrs. Patricia Loew
Located on the west side of Marshall Square Park, the house was originally built in 1859 by David Washington Townsend. Built in the Italianate style by contractor John Wood, from the beginning, it was described by the locals as a mansion. A later addition was constructed by William Welch in 1880. In the twentieth century, the building was utilized as a nursing home, with modern additions eventually constructed around the original building. In the early twenty-first century, the nursing home was discontinued and the additions were removed. The original house was sold as a residence, and new, substantial, homes were built on either side. Recently, Mrs. Loew purchased the property as her home and began an extensive renovation. Working with architect, Art Bernardon, Mrs. Loew transformed the home's interior to meet her modern living requirements, while maintaining the traditional exterior appearance. Later additions were removed and the building's structure was evaluated. Significant structural damage was discovered, which required the reconstruction of much of the building's floor structure. The original floor plan and significant architectural features, such as chimneys, fireplace surrounds and mantles were retained. The original central roof belvedere was reconstructed to retain this important Italianate-style feature. New additions were designed and constructed to be sensitive to the original building. The interior was restored using the original material as patterns. This building's exterior facade details and finishes have been carefully restored, and the grounds skillfully landscaped to reflect the quality of the original home. The efforts of Mrs. Loew, with her design and construction team, have returned this residence to its original prominence as an anchor to historic Marshall Square Park.
Synchrony Headquarters - 22 North Church Street
Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of the James Bros. Plumbing & Steam Fitting Co. Building
Owner: Rod Hughes
The three story brick structure is located in the heart of the downtown. Over the years, the building has served various manufacturing, retail and office uses. In 1820, the site was occupied by a stone farmhouse owned by Joseph Clark. The current building's earliest recorded use was for stove manufacturing sales in 1847. In 1866 it was listed as a grocery and provisions store. By 1880 the James Bros. Plumbing & Steam Fitting company occupied the building. In 1893, James Bros. installed a gear-driven hoist system that remains in place and became an important feature in the Synchrony renovations. Between 1926 and 1957 the building was home to the J.J. Newberry Co. Five and Dime Store. After that, the building was used as an office space by a succession of occupants. Synchrony purchased the building and immediately undertook renovations to create a modern headquarters that took full advantage of the buildings historic features. Historic brick walls were exposed, where possible. Existing drop ceilings were removed to expose the floor structure. Original wood flooring was uncovered and restored, where possible. The restoration of the loft to serve as a conference area was critical to the project's success. To insure a comfortable environment in the loft and retain the appearance of the original vaulted ceiling, a new insulated roof system was installed on top of the original roof. Finally, Synchrony went to great effort to restore the existing hoist shaft, including the large drive gears located in the loft space. The restored gears became a feature of the conference room. A full height glass panel was inserted in the exterior wall of the three story hoist way, so that it could be viewed by passersby from the adjacent alley. The Synchrony Headquarters Building is an excellent example of how West Chester's historic properties can adapt and find new life through sensitive preservation efforts.
Preservation Service Awards
Jim Jones - Author of Railroads of West Chester
Railroads of West Chester is a thorough and well researched history of the development and demise of West Chester's railroad system. Mr. Jones traces the railroad's history from the initial 1830 efforts by a group of West Chester's leading citizens to develop a railroad to link West Chester with Philadelphia. The initial railroad was horse drawn and connected to Malvern in 1832. Subsequently, the railroad was expanded and competing railroad companies were formed. By providing transportation links to the outside world, the railroad's development led to expanded manufacturing and commercial activity in West Chester. It also brought West Chester into close contact with the cultural developments in America's urban centers. At one time, West Chester was served by two completely separate railroads linking the Borough to Philadelphia. Eventually, both railroads were owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The book also documents the events leading to the loss of railroad service to West Chester. Mr. Jones' writing is concise, but contains many historical references and details. The book is carefully researched with detailed citations documenting referenced articles, sources, and consulted archives. Jim's extensive research and accessible writing style allow the reader to understand the railroads' issues, events, and impacts on West Chester, over time. One of Mr. Jones' most important contributions is his documentation of the physical elements of the railroads and facilities associated with them. He provides numerous maps, along with modern photos illustrating remaining railroad structures, features, and track alignments. Utilizing the maps and documents presented in the book, the route of the original north-eastern railroad can be toured by car between West Chester and Malvern. The book also contains information on the activities of the current West Chester Railroad Company, which runs excursion trains to the historic railroad station at Glen Mills. This is an important and informative book, documenting a critical piece of West Chester's history.
Special Recognition Award
Preservation of the Barclay Grounds by the Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance
The Barclay Grounds property was previously known as the Joshua Hartshorne Estate and is the only one of West Chester's 19th Century estates remaining intact. The entire block is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which sites that the "park-like grounds" are home to one of the finest collections of specimen trees in West Chester. Early in 2013, a proposal was made by a new property owner to create four residential building lots. Residents of the Borough of West Chester and the surrounding region formed the Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance (BGPA) to raise public awareness of the potential loss of this important site in the community, and to raise funds for the property purchase. A petition was launched, which generated over 2,100 signatures calling on West Chester Borough Council to save the Barclay Grounds. As a result of this broad public support, the Borough Council voted on December 30, 2013 to purchase the Barclay Grounds to make it a public park dependent on receiving the funds to cover the purchase price. The final closing of the purchase of the Barclay Grounds was completed in December 2016, and the property was dedicated as Barclay Park on April 22, 2016. The Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance (BGPA) deserves great credit for their successful efforts to mobilize the public in support of this important historic preservation initiative. This was a textbook example of the power of public organization. Faced with a very tight schedule for action, the group quickly formed and immediately began its awareness and fundraising activities. The BGPA worked with municipal, county state, and Federal government representatives, government agencies, and various private organizations, including the Brandywine Conservancy and the National Lands Trust. The BGPA's successful effort to preserve the Barclay Grounds is an extremely important example of the general public's potential power to preserve our valuable historic resources. Most importantly, the BGPA preserved this important open space for West Chester's future residents.
Preservation Legacy Award
This year's Legacy Award recipient is William Leo "Bill" McLaughlin, Jr. of West Chester. Bill contributed to historic preservation in West Chester in various ways. Through his educational background and diverse activities, Bill was a valuable resource for the preservation community. Bill graduated as an undergraduate from Villanova University, completed graduate studies in geography at Pennsylvania State University, and studied law at Franklin Pierce Law Center, which is now part of the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Starting in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Bill worked for the Bureau of Historic Preservation, a division of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). In the early 1980s, he oversaw a state-wide historic resource survey, which is locally known as the "windshield survey." This valuable effort provided the initial identification of numerous Pennsylvania historic resources that were deserving of further study and documentation. In 2000, Bill became a member of the West Chester Historic & Architectural Review Boad (HARB), serving as the vice-chairman since 2014. Bill's service to the HARB was consistent and invaluable. He was well known for his outspoken advocacy of the preservation of West Chester's historic fabric, whether it was the preservation of an individual streetscape, or the traditional heights of the buildings in the town center. In his role as a HARB member, Bill sat on the 2001 subcommittee that produced the Historical and Architectural Survey of the Proposed Justice Center Area, which was instrumental in convincing the County to move their proposed Justice Center out of the First Block and relocate it to the west end of Market Street. In 2015, Bill and his wife, June, were honored with a Bricks and Mortar Preservation Award for their careful reconstruction of the front porch of "Grape House", their South Matlack Street home. Bill's excitement at receiving their award at last year's ceremony was truly memorable. The finished porch reconstruction serves as an excellent example for other West Chester residents to follow as they strive to restore their homes. Additionally, in 2005, Bill joined the "stable" of West Chester tour guides who participated in the annual West Chester Town Tour, which is the kick-off tour every year for Chester County's annual Town Tours and Village Walks summer program. Bill remained an active guide each year and always brought his historical insights and wry sense of humor to the tours. William McLaughlin is honored with the 2016 Preservation Legacy Award, first and foremost, because he was a tireless, and, at times, fearless, advocate for the preservation of West Chester's historic fabric. Second, for his service to HARB and insistence that projects before the HARB should be judged by their appropriateness to the historical and/or architectural significance of both the resources and West Chester's historic character. Third, for his personal efforts to illustrate good preservation practices through the thoughtful restoration work undertaken at his home. And, lastly, while guiding tours around West Chester, he helped to educate the public both about the rich history and architectural heritage of the Borough, and about the need to preserve the physical evidence of that history and heritage.
The Board of the West Chester Downtown Foundation, and the West Chester Preservation Awards Committee gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the sponsors of the 2016 West Chester Preservation Awards Program:
-ALLEN & SARAH BURKE
TIMLYN VAUGHAN PHOTOGRAPHY
-DEB WARD SPARRE RE/MAX Town & Country
-A. ROY SMITH
-Arthur Hall Insurance
-Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning
-Limoncello Ristorante & Caterers
-Sunset Hill Jewelers & Fine Arts Gallery
-Brewer Heating & Air Conditioning
-Jane Chalfant / Kiki Boutique
-Lawrence M. O'Donnell
-David B. Reinfeld
-Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc.
-Frens & Frens, LLC Restoration Architects
-Rothwell Document Solutions
-Dr. & Mrs. John E. Spellman
-Brandywine Studio LLC
-McFadden Hotel Group
-Paper Moon Custom Stationery
-Side Bar & Restaurant
-Ray Ott & Associates
-Mike & Heather Reiffer
-Philip Yocum, Architect
-Friend of the WCDF
-Jane E. Dorchester Architectural Historian
-West Chester Business Improvement District