We need proactive conservation to save historic homes

As a longtime resident of Wyndmoor and Chestnut Hill, I have seen lots of changes, mostly positive, over many years. Our community has been spared, for the most part, the impact of cookie-cutter townhouses and rampant over-development. Unfortunately, there are still exceptions where the community has lost valuable open space and historic buildings.

I am also a board member of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve open space and preserve the architectural heritage and history of our shared Chestnut Hill/Wyndmoor community.

The Conservancy is equally focused on Chestnut Hill and Wyndmoor properties, although we often struggle unsuccessfully to deter “by right” development and/or demolition.

Last July, the conservancy raised warning flags about a demolition threat to Russell Medinger’s unique stone farmhouse on Evergreen and Montgomery Ave. Unfortunately, all we have now is a vacant lot covered with Lancaster County stone rubble.

Soon, everyone will witness the demolition of a large 19th century stone house at the corner of E. Gravers Ln. and Stenton Ave. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances that followed a serious fire, the house was abandoned and left to become a blight in the neighborhood. Some Conservancy board members arranged to meet with our Springfield Township commissioners and adjacent neighbors. A developer offered a plan, unsuccessfully, to try to save the house in lieu of demolition. Certain neighbors remain adamant in their desire to demolish this once grand house that has become a nuisance and an eyesore, so it will come down.

We need to work together with the Conservancy as a community to preserve our open space and protect the unique architecture which adds value and defines our Chestnut Hill and Wyndmoor neighborhoods. Think about that when you see another vacant lot and a pile of stone rubble.

Tim Greenwood

Troubled by Women’s March conflicts

Thank you for your article on the problems surrounding the Women’s March [“Women’s March at a crossroads,” Jan. 24] As one who has participated both times, I find what has occurred troubling in that it hampers a unified message, but also portends poorly for 2020 when we must come together to defeat Donald Trump.

Though I know it is true, it is unfathomable to me that several of the leaders of the national movement prescribe to the hateful diatribes of Louis Farrakhan and tolerate blatant anti-Semitism. I have witnessed women who firmly believe that the only people capable of leading this movement must be those who have been “marginalized.” So what is the result? A significantly smaller turnout and a talking point for the supporters of Trump.

My fear is the same dynamic will find its way into the 2020 elections – that these same leaders will espouse the same messages and take the Democratic Party to a place where its nominee will not be able to wage a competitive campaign across the country. Though these messages might have an echo chamber in a small room of activists, they will not play in most of Pennsylvania or the nation. The candidates for the nomination must have the willpower to ignore women such as Tamika Mallory, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and others who are marginalizing the vast majority of women, as well as the voters who have the ability to bring the Trump reign to an end.

Phyllis Preston-Thomas
West Mt. Airy

Appreciate piece on car break-ins

I so much appreciated the piece by Barb Sherf about car break-ins in the Wissahickon. I am often astonished when I read the crime reports about thefts from cars. Some people are evidently more trusting than I am!

So I appreciated the reminder to everyone to be more aware and self-protective. Even more, it was lovely to read about Barbara’s empathy and kindness in support of “Lisa.” Another good reminder of how we can be in the world. Thanks for publishing it!

Janet Mather
Chestnut Hill