Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Chester Creek Trail, Middletown, PA (6/24/2020)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Today's outing was to hike the Chester Creek Trail, the completed middle section (2.8 miles) of the future Chester Creek Rail Trail that will run from Wawa to Upland, PA. The trail follows the Civil War-era Chester Creek Branch line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Bike Repair Station
Sturdy fencing leads to the Knowlton Road underpass
Erosion reveals a tree's taproot
The trail follows a power line
Dedication area with donor brick brickway
The area also includes a "Little Library"
A few painted rocks are displayed along the trail
At this time of year, only glimpses of Chester Creek to be seen
Heracleum maximum/Cow Parsnip
An uprooted tree
Intersection with the Starch Mill Trail
Apparently sewer lines were updated in the Chester Creek floodplain
Another rocky cliff section with
missing sections à la Jenga
Memorial for Michael G Fusco, founder of the
Friends of the Chester Creek Rail Trail Project
Michael G Fisco Memorial Bridge, one of two
rehabilitated train trestles crossing Chester Creek
Now we can see Chester Creek through the chain link fence
Pet Waste Station
Because of a bend in the creek, you cross it twice in succession
Here the Chester Creek is the most visible!
(Note the nesting box on the left)
Waste yard
Lenni Substation was part of the old Pennsylvania Railroad
electrification system, and has been updated for the SEPTA
Media/Elwyn Line extension to Wawa
Some industry along this section includes Schubert Plastics,
with the hazard diamond indicating poison
Highway Crossing coming up!
Now we join the SEPTA Media/Elwyn Line extension
Retaining wall mural Patterns (Chester Creek Trail)
(2020, by Jay Walker) was apparently dedicated just this morning!
The mural is 450' long
For now, the north end of the trail ends at Lenni Road
On our way back we noticed this Honor Roll
in front of the Lenni Athletic Club
Young anglers at Chester Creek
The south end of the trail ends at Chester Creek Road
These folks made it end to end on what is
currently completed of the Chester Creek Trail
We took a detour on Pennell Road to the parking lot behind
Kings Mills to get a better view of the "waterfall"
(rebuilt 1915 by then owner Samuel D Riddle)
Kings Mills view of waterfall
A pavilion at Kings Mills,
Delaware County's Premier Banquet Facility 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Newtown, PA II (6/15/2020)

Monday, June 15, 2020
Completing the Historic Newtown Heritage Walk.
Apologies for not following the correct number order, but parking is not readily available at Stop #1!
100 E Washington Street, St Luke's Episcopal Church (1832, and
a 1904 brick bell tower replaced the 1835 frame tower)
Stop #28: Name the three men who founded St Luke's Episcopal Church in 18321. Dr Phineas Jenks. 2. James Worth. 3. William Paff.
14 Liberty Street (1901), Newtown Fire Association; Newtown's first
fire brigade formed in 1824 and the Fire Association was organized in 1889;
in 1999 a three-bay addition replaced a 1959 two-bay addition
1892 Ladder Truck
Stop #27: What is the nickname of the 1796 hand-pumper owned by the Newtown Fire Association?  Old Washy.
35 Liberty Street, Wesley Hall (1846 for the Newtown
Methodist Church); when the congregation moved to a
larger church in 1896, Wesley Hall was sold to the
Newtown School District, but was bought back in 1956
Stop #26: What building has been used as a  church and a public school?  Wesley Hall.
35 Liberty Street, Newtown United
Methodist Church (1895-1896) (not on tour)
136 N Congress Street, St Mark AME Zion Church
(founded c 1820, church built 1897)
Stop #25: From what event did Light House Hill get its name?  The 1840 fire/burning of the John Wesley African American Methodist Episcopal Church.
23 N State Street, Newtown Borough Hall (1857-1858) is said to be
the oldest building in Pennsylvania still in use for
its original purpose as borough chambers
Stop #24: When was Newtown Borough chartered by the Pennsylvania Legislature?  4/16/1838.
30 N State Street (location of wayside marker),
Newtown Common & Creek is one block west on Greene Street,
and is what is left of the original 30-acre Common
William Penn planned a town he temporarily labeled as "New Town" with the Common located along a creek. The land parcels fanned out from the Common so that early landowners had access to it as a pasture for their livestock and access to the creek as a water supply. The elongated pie-shaped parcels also gave landowners a "townstead" and a farmstead in one lot.
Stop #23: The Newtown Creek is a tributary of what other creek?  Neshaminy Creek.
25 N State Street, Glazier Jewish Center (well! I thought
I could get the history of this building - not!) (not on tour)
120 N State Street, Newtown Theatre (1831, making it the oldest
"movie" theater in the country, although it was built as a social hall)
Stop #22: When were movies first shown in the Newtown Theatre?  1906.
156 N State Street (1860 for James & William Randall)
as the "North State Street" stop
Stop #21: What company made carriages on North State Street?  JV & C Randall's.
218 N State Street, Macedonia Baptist Church
(1953, replacing a 1914 frame church)
Stop #20: What two churches once shared the same building?  1. Macedonia Baptist. 2. St Mark AME Zion. They shared the building now used by the St Mark AME Zion Church.
N Sycamore Street south of Jefferson Avenue, the wayside marker
for William Penn's New Town; as noted before William Penn planned
a "New Town" in this location, and his surveyor, Thomas Holme,
produced a map of Pennsylvania with "New Town" plotted on it
Stop #14: Who named Newtown in the 1680s?  William Penn/Thomas Holme.
203 N Sycamore Street (1836), formerly The Saloon, has been a private
residence, jail, hospital, and place of worship; during the Civil War there
was a confrontation between Southern sympathizers who patronized the
then hotel and Union troops home on furlough looking for refreshment
Stop #15: What current restaurant was once used as a high school?  Guru's, formerly The Saloon, where high school classes were held 1916-1918 after a fire burned down the Chancellor Street School.
221 N Sycamore Street, Brooks House on one of the lots created
when the Newtown Common was divided and sold (since no one
owned the land of the Common, no one took care of it)
Stop #16: When was the Newtown Common first broken into lots and sold?  1796.
223 N Sycamore Street, Boyd-Yardley House (oldest section 1808)
Stop #17: What Presbyterian minister was the first owner of a property on Sycamore Street?  James Boyd.
"Harry: A Kind Soul and Friend to All" is
apparently the grandfather of Catherine Chamberlain
who owns Eden Organics Salon & Spa
at 227 N Sycamore Street
Wayside marker #19a is at 298 N Sycamore Street at Durham Road, but we shall wait  for stop #19b.
N Sycamore Street at Silo Drive, site of Goodnoe Farm & Dairy Bar
(1920 dairy farm established, 1955 restaurant established, closed 2006)
Stop #18: What was the name of the restaurant on Sycamore Street famous for its ice cream?  Goodnoe Farm Dairy Bar Restaurant.
76 N Sycamore Road, Old Presbyterian Church (1769) was built when
James Boyd, who lived just up the street, was minister (1769-1814)
Stop #13: What building was used to house Hessian soldiers during the Revolutionary War?  Old Presbyterian Church.
2 Swamp Road, Buckman Farm Springhouse and Buckman House
(c 1860-1870 in Victorian Second Empire style); the farm represents the
last surviving agriculturally-related structures located next to the Common
Stop #12: What farm on Sycamore Street was once known as the Potato Farm?  Buckman Farm.
2 S Sycamore Street, site of Washington's Headquarters, where as a guest of
Mrs Hannah Harris, George Washington used the house as his headquarters
from December 24th to 30th, 1776 during the Battle of Trenton
Stop #11: During the Revolutionary War, whose headquarters were located at the corner of Sycamore Street and Swamp Road?  General George Washington.
4 S Sycamore Street, the current Goodnoe Farm & Dairy Bar (not on tour)
S Sycamore Street between Swamp Road and
Cambridge Lane, site of Twining Farm on a tract
of valuable land between Neshaminy Creek and
Newtown Creek, which was purchased by Stephen Twining
Stop #9: Who was a leader in the Quaker community and one of the largest landowners in Newtown in 1702?  Stephen Twining. Another family member, David Twining and his wife, raised Edward Hicks, the painter, after Hicks's mother died.
138 S Sycamore Street, Olde Church of St Andrew (1880) was
built by Catholic families of laborers who arrived in Newtown
with the opening of the railroad in 1878
Stop #8: The stone (ashlar) used to build the Olde Church of St Andrew came from what quarry?  Lewis Buckman Quarry.
13 W Centre Avenue, McMasters House (c 1833, purchased in 1863
by Robert McMasters, a blacksmith)
Stop #10: What house shares its foundation with the footing of a bridge?  McMasters House.
Centre Avenue Bridge (1796) and the rear of the McMasters House;
the bridge is the oldest remaining bridge in Bucks County
and the fourth oldest in Pennsylvania
Newtown Creek from the Washington Avenue Bridge
1 E Washington Avenue, Brick Hotel (1763) also housed captive
Hessian officers and George Washington's staff in 1776
Stop #29: What hotel was first built by Amos Strickland in 1763?  Brick Hotel, using bricks fired in his own kiln on the outskirts of town.
2-4 S State Street, Paxson-Croasdale Building (1853) was the center of
Newtown's commercial activities and was the Newtown stop of the
Newtown Electric Street Railway Company (1897-1923) with service to
Doylestown, Langhorne, Bristol and Trenton with connections to Philadelphia
Stop #30: The third floor of what building was used to make military topcoats during the Civil War?  Paxson-Croasdale Building.
5 S State Street, Temperance House (c 1722) was part tavern and
part schoolhouse, and became an inn after the Revolutionary War
Stop #31: What hotel was first built by Andrew McMinn about 1772?  Temperance House, a name it was given in 1848.
We returned to the car and made one more stop.
Stop #19b: 2987 S Eagle Road, Durham Road Toll House (in operation
1870-1920 at its original location at Durham Road and
N Sycamore Road; it was moved to this location in 1955)
Stop #19: How much did you have to pay to ride a horse on the Newtown and Wrightstown Turnpike?  Two cents. The toll was one cent for a pedestrian, two cents for horse or ox, and later five cents for an automobile.
End of the Newtown Heritage Walk.