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Monday, April 15, 2013

Living History

Chester County itself stands as a historical area fortunately located between the Philadelphia, Harrisburg and the Delaware State regions, all of which played a monumental role in shaping the foundations of Pennsylvania and our country as a whole. Along the south eastern border of Chester County is TLC's sister-preserve, Bucktoe Creek Preserve, which holds several historic sites that are part of the proposed Red Clay Creek Historic District, currently being prepared for nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. The West Branch of the Red Clay Creek Historic District follows the West Branch of the Red Clay Creek south from its source in East Marlborough Township to the Delaware State line.

Jane Dorchester, Architectural Historian, led a group of eight through the historic sites of Bucktoe Creek Preserve, which included the ruins of the Bucktoe Cemetery, J. Freeman ruins, Chandler Mill Bridge, Gregg House, and Deacon house ruins.

The Bucktoe Cemetery is located along Bucktoe Road and is open for public visitation during the day. The New Garden UAME, once located on site, moved to Linden Street in Kennett Square during the 1940s. The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, New Garden UAME Church, Bucktoe Creek Preserve, and Eugene Hough of Heritage Guild Works are working together in the ongoing process of restoring and discovering the Bucktoe Cemetery. Schools, students, and community members have volunteered their time throughout the pass three years helping with clean ups, ground penetrating radar techniques used to find unknown graves, and further restoration projects. The next volunteer date is Saturday April 20th from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Contact to RSVP!

Group at the Bucktoe Cemetery
The Rev. Wiggins House ruin is located across the stream and uphill (NE) of the cemetery. This is where members of the church would have resided. Looking at the structure, Jane has determined it was a two-story house that had an addition built, which can be seen in the picture below. Located to the SE of this structure lies the Freeman and Gregg House ruins, so there is evidence of a whole community on the hillside. 

Group admiring the Rev. Wiggins House Ruins
The Chandler Mill Bridge, placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 2010, is located at the SE end of the Bucktoe Creek Preserve and connects Bucktoe and Chandler Mill Road. For the past two years the bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic, but is heavily traveled by bikers, walkers and runners. Jane spoked about the historical significance of the 103-year old, one-lane bridge and the impact it once had, and will continue have if preserved, to the community of Southern Chester County. To learn more about the Chandler Mill Bridge, visit our website

On Sunday, members of the Mississippi River Water Walkers gathered on the Chandler Mill Bridge to conduct a ceremonial blessing of the waters of the West Branch of the Red Clay Creek. Visit their facebook page to learn more about their mission: CLICK HERE

Group Gathering on the Chandler Mill Bridge

Mississippi River Water Walkers Conducting Blessing

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