Morning Headlines: Far Northeast Loses Historic Centuries-Old Home (VIDEO)

Why is it hard to preserve Northeast heirlooms?

A blow to historical preservationists in the Northeast: the Stokes House at 2976 Welsh Road was demolished on January 5th. A 12-home twin house development is set to replace it.

According to William Kenny at the Northeast Times, the Millbrook Society’s history of the property shows the Federal-style stone farmhouse dated back to the 1800s, while the property itself has deeds that go as far back as 1747. Prior to that, it had been a plantation estate belonging to Thomas Holme, William Penn’s surveyor, who bequeathed it to his freed slaves after his death in 1695.

Efforts to save the structure were hindered, Kenny writes, due to its long-time owners, the Stokes family, never trying to get it historically designated. Saving the home was made even more difficult for the fact that, as Northeast historian Fred Moore put it,  “no one famous lived there.” Kenney then reports that in 2010, after having given the home two significant renovations to speak of, Stokes Jr. “told the Holme Circle Civic Association that the home was again in disrepair and that restoration would not be cost-effective.”

A look at what the home’s interior was like prior to being demolished (as well as a thorough telling of its story) can be found in this Hidden City article by Michael Bixler. Also, these parting words from Moore in Kenny’s piece:

If we want to save our his­tory so that we can see it — not just hear about it or read about it or see videos of it — we have to save houses like this,” Moore said. “We want to be able to go there and touch the stones. We don’t want to ex­per­i­ence things through vir­tu­al real­ity.”

The home was rep­res­ent­at­ive of a time and place that might eas­ily be lost on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions without ex­amples to be seen.

“That was the value of it,” Moore said.

Toner Homes Inc. who bought the property for $540,000 from busi­ness part­ners John Par­sons and Charles Calvanese plan to build “a dozen twin houses on the site.”

A video of the demolition can be found here:

Builders demolish centuries-old farmhouse [Northeast Times]

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