This article can be found published on The Kennett Paper‘s website and the Daily Local News‘ website.
It’s like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Peg Jones is endeavoring to get approval from the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors for the repairs desperately needed for the Lamborn House.
For someone as passionate about history and the house as she is, it’s proving to be a trying time.
“It is truly a house of historic interest,” said Jones, a member of the New Garden Historical Commission Board, noting the steep pitch of the roof characteristic of Stenning houses.
The land, now part of New Garden Township Park, was purchased from William Penn, Jr. in 1716. The original log house was torn down by Thomas Lamborn, Jr., who built in 1817 the current house.
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It has seen and been through so much history, from the American Revolution to the Great Depression.
Unfortunately, the Lamborn house has fallen into disrepair and Jones is attempting to turn it all around and perform not a restoration, but a renovation.
“What we need to do is secure the house,” Jones said. “The house needs to be tight, even if the supervisors don’t want to spend any more money than that on it, but it needs to be tight, which means new windows.”
Air conditioners, which were put in the windows for groups who occasionally use the house, have continuously dripped onto the sills and window frames. The result is rot and water getting into the building.
Last year, a new roof was put on over the kitchen after a crack in the beam rendered the room dangerous. The chimney above it, however, was never repointed before the weather turned.
“It is unconscionable to have brand new roof timbers with how wet the summer has been,” Jones said. “All around the chimney, water can get it.”
The only other necessary repair is the cracks in the stucco along two sides of the kitchen, which is also allowing water to seep in.
Jones presented documents to the board of supervisors at the meeting on Sept. 23 outlining the major repair concerns and prices she received, but was met with only a lukewarm interest.
The budget she proposed had the chimney repairs at approximately $6,900 and the removal of the cracked stucco to be replaced by three coats for $7,300.
The board did not approve of the logistics and instead asked her to find more estimates from other places before moving on with the work.
“I have an e-mail saying that the carpenter is ready to go to work,” Jones said. “If he doesn’t start work within the next 10 days, we lose him.”
Jones’ ultimate plan for the house is to see it repaired – and maybe one day restored – but in the meantime, made livable. Her idea is to rent the house and use the money to repay the township for all the repair costs and then be applied to the ongoing maintenance.
“Houses deteriorate if they are not lived in,” she said. “If we could just get this house to the place where it’s livable, at least we would be in a holding pattern. It wouldn’t get any worse.
“The township owns the house and should be taking care of its property. If it does not, it establishes a precedent for allowing other historic houses to suffer demolition from neglect.”
New Garden Flying Field Programs Growing
The New Garden Flying Field did well this season between the 2013 air show and the Young Aviators Camp, both held over the summer.
Over 4,500 tickets were sold for the air show, now in its 42nd year. They were able to secure $6,400 in sponsorships and made $79,027 in revenue, leaving a profit of $18,563.84.
The aviation camp was also a hit, having kids participate in the week-long program from as far as Ohio, South Carolina and Texas and grew the attendance from 84 to 140 in just a year.
The New Garden Police Administration is moving to a temporary location for the next 18 months.
Smaller items which aren’t used often are currently being moved over. The plan is to have the administration office move, starting the first week of October, followed by the patrol.