Historical Commission meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Meetings are held at 7 PM in the Township Building, 20 Municipal Lane, Kemblesville, PA. The public is welcome to attend.
Archaeological Dig on Your Property? Please Notify The Township
During the week of July 27th, archaeologists hired by PennDOT were at work in London Britain and Franklin townships along 896, where road construction is planned. Many residents were notified by letter that PennDOT might be conducting work, and subsequently the archaeologists personally contacted the owners of the properties where they planned to dig test holes, though not every property owner was home when they visited. This work was undertaken because federal law requires that historic structures and archaeological remains that might be affected by federally funded roadwork be identified, and that consideration be given to avoiding or reducing the impact of the roadwork on them.
Because a resident had alerted Township officials to the planned work, a member of the Township Historical Commission was able to be there to document the archaeologists' work and finds. As it happens, they confirmed the existence of a Township blacksmith shop that had not been documented on historic maps of the Township dating from the 1800s.
The Historical Commission would like to be present at such work in the future. Although the archaeologists attempt to contact property owners about their plans, they do not normally contact Township officials. The Commission would appreciate it if property owners who have been notified about scheduled work would call and let the Township staff know, so that a Historical Commission member might come out, if possible, to observe and document the investigation and its finds, and then report back to the Commission, the Board of Supervisors, and the Township staff.
Chester County's Covered Bridges
The New London Area Historical Society, The PennMaryDel Questers, and The Franklin Township Historical Commission sponsored a talk by Ray McKay on "The Covered Bridges in Chester County" at the New London Academy on March 11th, 2014. A former Chester County school teacher, Mr. McKay has been researching Chester County's covered bridges since his retirement. He discussed covered bridges in general and our county's covered bridges more specifically, giving some special attention to those found locally.
Mr. McKay has on occasion given a tour of Chester County's surviving covered bridges, and driving directions for the tour are available as a PDF file if you wish to visit the bridges on your own.
Franklin Township's Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) and Historical Commission Receive "Grace Under Fire" Award
The Franklin Township Historical and Architectural Review Board and the Franklin Township Historical Commission are honored to be the recipients of the Chester County Historic Preservation Network's 2013 "Grace Under Fire" Award. The award, which is one of five being given out, is in recognition of their efforts with respect to the J. G. West Barn during
2012. Paul Lagasse, chair of the HARB, and Dolores Hughes, chair of the Historical Commission, will accept the award for the Township at the Volunteer Recognition Celebration on June 19, 2013, at Historic Sugartown in Willistown Township.
The J. G. West Barn was and still is a contributing resource in the Kemblesville Historic District. The only structure on Franklin Township property that's historic, it's also a contributing resource in the potential National Register nomination of the J. G. West House, now on a separate property. Dating to the mid-1810s, the Barn became the subject of some controversy as the Supervisors considered whether to undertake repairs or demolish it.
The HARB and HC members worked on three major presentations to the Supervisors during 2012. The first (in February) outlined the Barn's place in the Township and options for it; the second (in June) presented a review of the work needed on the barn and outlined a fundraising plan to underwrite that work; and the last (in September) reviewed the proposed demolition and recommended that the Supervisors reject demolition as inappropriate for a historic structure that could be stabilized and restored at little or no cost to the taxpayers. The award recognizes the HARB and HC for "their efforts, persistence and resilience in preserving historic resources" -- qualities that are in no way diminished by the Supervisors' narrow vote in favor of demolition.
The HARB and HC would like to acknowledge the support and assistance they received from Karen Marshall, Chester County's Heritage Preservation Coordinator; the late Jane Davidson, a pioneering and nationally recognized historic preservationist; the late Mary Dugan, a locally noted preservationist; Bob Wise and Seth Hinshaw of Wise Preservation Planning; Bruce Knapp, president of the Chester County Historic Preservation Network; and many others who generously assisted the HARB and HC with their work. It is an honor to receive this award and to be included in the company of the other awardees, but our efforts would not have been possible without the help of others.