Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top 10 Upcoming September Events

Save The Valley is hosting the 2nd Annual Open Music Fest Space sponsored by Twin Lakes Brewing Company at Bellevue State Park 12 p.m. - 10 p.m. inside the huge Figure 8 Barn. Tickets are limited.  The concert is September 21.

September 2 Made in Delco: lunchtime factory tours  noon to 1:30 p.m. Universal Services Associates, Colwyn, PA.

On September 2nd at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern, join a free, live, online, panel discussion hosted by Sierra Club on the value of wilderness and the need to engage new constituencies in conservation. Participants include Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune; composer, writer, and musician DJ Spooky; Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro; and moderator Jason Mark, editor of Earth Island Journal. Join via Google Plus or YouTube.

September 3 at Delco Night 7 p.m. at PPL Park To purchase individual tickets, please visit: www.philadelphiaunion.com/promo and type DELCO2014 in the code box for discounted tickets. For group tickets call 1(877)218-6466.

September 4 Dilworth Park next to City Hall in Philadelphia Opens

September 5, 2014 5:30 p.m. Cooking With Judi at Linvilla Orchards. The fall is upon us, cooler weather and comfort foods come into play. Apples are abundant; the fields are full of fresh produce. Judi will tempt your taste buds with some seasonal favorites. Call 610-876-7116 to register. No Charge. 

September 5, 6, and 7 Greater Philadelphia Fall Home Show at the Valley Forge Casino Resort 1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia.

September 5 - 7 Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament Atlantic City, New Jersey.

September  5 - 7 Broomall Fire Company Carnival.  The carnival will be located across the street from the fire company at 10 N. Malin Road in Broomall. Fri. 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sun 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. More information and ticket prices at the fire house website or by calling 610-353-5225 and press option #8

September 6 Marcus Hook Preservation Society and The Washington Revolutionary Route National Association Celebration and Ice Cream Social.  The day begins at the Historic Plank House at 12:30 p.m.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Top 10 Summer Sunrise to Sunset

1. Solitude

2. Fireworks

3. Newlyweds

4. Meet the Grandcats, they are purrfect.

5.  Rally for Sensible Gun Control .

6, Someone didn't get the memo, 144 Delco lives lost to gun violence.

7. NPE Extreme Makeover

8. Honoring a soldier, rest in peace, Uncle Eddie.

9. Crossing the bridge to vacation.

10. Every summer has its stories.  I hope yours was a good one.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Top 10 Medical Condition Songs

Doctor My Eyes Jackson Browne

Achy Break Heart

How Can you Men a Broken Heart?

Bad Case of Loving You Robert Palmer

The Fever Bruce

Subterranean Homesick Blues Bob Dylan

Here Come Those Tears Again Jackson Browne

Saturday Night Fever Bee Gees

Cold As Ice Foreigner

Feelin Alright Dave Mason

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Top 10 Highlights of the Hagley Museum

1. The Hagley Museum is where the du Pont the empire began.  It all started with a little spark. Driving through the gates you can just tell, this is going to be good.

2. The visitor's center is encased in an old cotton mill purchased by du Pont. It was originally the Henry Clay Cotton Mill and later converted to the manufacturing of metal kegs for explosives.  All the machinery was powered by the Brandywine River but don't miss the exhibit upstairs of the visitors center.  You will be amazed at all the things that have been manufactured by Dupont.


3. Eleuthere Irenee du Pont came to America in 1800.  January 1st is the celebrated date of the family's arrival from France. He and his father Pierre du Pont participated in protecting the escape of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, probably not the best side to be on. Pierre was imprisoned in France but luckily he was released in tact.

The map gives you an overview of what you can see on the property.  You will really want to see it all.

4. Eleutherian Mills was the first du Pont home in the United States.  It was home to five generations of the du Pont family. It is modest in comparison to Winterthur and Neumors but elegant and tastefully decorated within. No photographs were allowed inside. 

Three of the du Pont generations that lived there are engraved in stone on the side of the house.

E. I. du P.

H. du P.

H. A. du P.

then Alfred du Pont great grandson

 Louise  Elvelonadu Pont Crowninshield the great great granddaughter (daughter of Henry A. du Pont) was the last du Pont to reside in this house and the interior decorating reflect her design and restoration.

5. The "First Office" is located a short distance from the house and contains a wall safe that was used not for money but for records. The du Ponts made their millions manufacturing gunpowder.  Eleuthere Irenee du Pont had been a chemist in France and unintentionally fell into a gold mine when he discovered the inferiority of the gunpowder being used in America. E. I. du Pont's company supplied 40% of the gunpowder used during the civil war. No photographs were permitted inside the office, you do get to go inside and tour but the garden is open for all to see.  E. I. was also a botanist.

6. Another outstanding feature on the property were the willow trees from which charcoal can be made and "blue rocks".  They were both natural inhabitants to the region and many of the buildings were constructed using these rocks. You can observe their use throughout the property.

7. Of course another key ingredient to the success of the du Pont fortune besides the brains behind it was the water from the Brandywine River.  Now it appears to be there just for looks and it is a beauty but it was the power behind the profit as well as the hard working employees which were mostly Irish at the time but Italians and other ethnic groups worked here also.

8. The barn contains an interesting collecting of vehicles that would have been used over time and their are two machines in the science section on the third floor of the visitors center that have the Dupont stamp on them. Dupont has been a long time sponsor of  NASCAR'S #24, Jeff Gordon.

9. Inside the museum you get a quick overall look at some of the products Dupont is responsible for manufacturing.  The list is extensive, here are a few.

The rest of the tour you will really need to walk or be dropped off by the bus to see demonstrations at the machine shop, how the gunpowder was made and walk up to worker's hill.  The school house and the foreman's house are highlighted up there.  Stop in the Belin Organic Cafe for something good to eat.

It is a great education and a great tour.

The Hagley Museum and Library was added to the U. S. National Register of Historic Places in 1966, that same year it became a U. S. National Landmark.District.

There always seems to be a special event going on whether it be a bike and hike, an antique car show or fireworks.  Check it out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 10 More Things to See and Learn at Winterthur

The Downtown Abbey is a must see but don't skip the house tour or a chance to get lost in the Enchanted Forest.

Winterthur is the former home of Henry du Pont and my first glimpse inside the lives and homes of the du Ponts of Delaware.  Keeping the family tree straight is a challenge but I will try to connect.

Henry Francis du Pont

Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) was the son of Col. Henry Algernon du Pont and Pauline Foster, that Henry was the son of General Henry du Pont, a Partner in E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and the son of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.

At first glance of this painting you think, uh-oh some one messed up big time trying to restore it or acid was dropped on it, vandals maybe. Then your thoughts wonder, why would they even display this painting.  Its meaning will knock you out.  It is a painting of the Treaty of Paris (the end of the American Revolution).  The British would not sit for the painting thus they are not it.  This painting was done by Benjamin West. I love it!

China set that once belonged to George and Martha Washington and later purchased by General Lee.

Winterthur was originally built on 450 acres purchased from E.I. du Pont by his daughter Evelina and her husband Jacques Antoine Bidermann. It is named after Antoine's ancestral home in Switzerland. General Henry du Pont purchased the property from Eveline and Jacques son James, in 1867. The house today was expanded by Henry F. and  has 9 floors. We only got to see one of them supposedly 17 rooms out of the 175 known to exist. I am not ungrateful and was most excited you could take pictures but I can just imagine what else is in that house.

The last piece of furniture you see when leaving the tour was okay looking until we were told it belonged to Andy Warhol.  The picture is a little blurry because we were rushed.  Who doesn't want to be part of an Andy Warhol original.  I had to take that shot!

Henry Francis was a Harvard graduate, American horticulturist, and an expert and collector of early American furniture and decorative arts.  He inherited Winterthur in 1926. In the 1920's more than 200 people lived and worked on the du Pont 2,600 acres. He was also a premiere breeder of Holstein-Friesians. The cows were the first to go after Henry Francis du Pont died in 1967.  We were told by the tram driver that 90% of milk we consume today came from this breed of cattle.

This would have been the area where these prize winning heifers roamed.

The Winterthur house was electrified in 1891.

Henry Francis du Pont was on the Board of Directors of the DuPont Company from 1915 to 1958. He was also a director of General Motors, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden and other cultural institutions, and a trustee of the University of Delaware.

 Winterthur is situated on 982 acres, including 60 acres of naturalistic garden.

The oldest tree on the property is the "William Penn", a tulip polar.

The goldfish in the pond are enormous and real.

Henry Francis du Pont was asked by Jaqueline Kennedy to supervise the renovations of the White House.

The China room at Winterthur was specifically designed for the wallpaper Henry acquired on one of his journeys.  Walls were knocked down and doors were hidden to accommodate the collection.

The spiral staircase came out of a southern mansion.  The portrait in the picture is of the future wife of some one we all know but I failed to take concise notes and my memory has failed me. It was impressive enough for me to photograph.  That I remember. Found it online by searching the Winterthur painting collection.  The portrait is of Catherine DeVisne Browne (Mrs. Major Robert Westcott) painted by Ezra Ames.

In 2002 Winterthur’s land was placed in a conservation easement with the Brandywine Conservancy. That means it must be preserved for future generation.
If you do venture into the Enchanted Forest take a map. I am embarrassed to say we were lost for 2 hours and we had a map. We would now be your first selection of a guides.
 Henry Francis du Pont opened his house and collections in 1941 on a limited basis to those applied for tickets in writing. In 1951, the house and gardens were opened to the public and the family moved across the way to the Cottage.

According to the Museum Pieces website, this sculpture named (bird (eagle)) was made by an unknown artist but it certainly has a prominent spot in the house. You can also see if looking into the house from the outside. A question I meant to ask is whether the placement of objects remains the same as the display Henry Francis du Pont has created with his collection

The mansion is currently undergoing renovations and most of it is undercover, that was a tad disappointing but there are many other reasons to come back.  Winterthur has special events going on all the time and the gardens and landscape naturally change with the seasons. See the eagle inside the atrium.  It gives you an idea how big he is and the tarps disguise the immense size of the mansion.

I came away a huge du Pont fan. Wait till you meet the rest of the family!
Here is a link to a fun map and additional garden information.