Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Losses and the Case for Vigilance

Now we get to what was supposed to be my third and final "catch up on stuff I'd missed" post,
following the posts about the Coffee Run site and the Byrnes Mill Dam. With the news I received over the weekend, though, this is now going to be a much different post. Less of just reporting some news, and more of getting up on my soapbox and trying to ease my own conscience.

I was originally simply going to report the now almost two month old story of the loss of the Abram Chandler House on Limestone Road in Milltown. The house (which was one of the first sites featured on the blog, nearly five years ago) had been vacant for several years, and the blaze has since been determined to have been arson. It was apparently in pretty bad shape even before the fire, and according to the News Journal article the owners could not be contacted. Under the circumstances it's hard not to be very suspicious about some sort of insurance situation, although as far as I know no suspects have been named.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Byrnes Mill Dam Removal

The second recent news item I'd like to catch up on is the one I described in the last post as "good news that at first might seem like bad news". Back in the middle of December, an article appeared in the News Journal about the intentional partial destruction of a structure more than 220 years old. Normally that would be tragedy, but in this case the structure in question was a dam on White Clay Creek that fed a mill associated with the Hale-Byrnes House. The dam is located amidst the White Clay Creek Country Club golf course (Delaware Park), and was removed for a very good reason.

The following article was written especially for us by Jerry Kauffman, University of Delaware professor and director of UD's Water Resources Agency. I'd like to thank Dr. Kauffman for providing us with this, and for all his work in local environmental and historical preservation.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Life for Two Old Sites

Now that my own life is starting to get back to a regular rhythm and I've completed (for now) my two month trek through the Cranston family tree, it's time to catch up on a few news items that have popped up recently. I'm sure that many of you have seen some or all of these stories, but I'd like to take the opportunity point a few of them out and say a few words of my own. Of the three I want to bring up, we've got good news, bad news, and good news that at first might seem like bad news.

The first one is the most recent story to appear, showing up in the News Journal on Monday, January 12. According to the article, Trinity Community Church, which recently purchased the Coffee Run Church site on Lancaster Pike, will submit plans to once again have a place of worship on the site of Delaware's first Catholic Church. Trinity founder Steve Trader feels that the property is holy ground, and that, "God made this a church."

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Sons of Simon Cranston -- Part II

In a recent post, we looked briefly (and not so briefly) at six of the eight children born to Simon and Mary Cranston of Stanton, Mill Creek Hundred. Covered were William, Joseph, Mary Ann, Eliza, Samuel, Sarah, Sneezy, Grumpy.....wait, I might have gotten a bit off track, but I know the first six were right. In this post we'll look at the final two children, third son James and fifth son Benjamin. These two and their families would arguably have the greatest impact upon the area surrounding their father's Ten Maples estate. And unlike some of the other Cranstons, theirs is an impact that can still be seen today.

James Cranston was born in Stanton in September 1807, and in 1836 married Eleanor Armstrong. Three years before that, Simon Cranston purchased the former home of John Springer along Stanton Road, south of what would become Marshallton. This home, the Springer-Cranston House, was purchased for James so that he could start his own family on his own farm. Although the house is on the east side of the Public (Stanton) Road, the bulk of the property was to the west and north, between Calf and Ham Runs. I don't have access to the deeds, but the estate must have been fairly extensive, since brothers Joseph and Benjamin also received portions of it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Red Clay Valley History Talk

Just a reminder that the inaugural Red Clay Valley History Talk is this evening was Monday night, January 5 at 7:00, at the Wilmington & Western Office in Marshallton (NOT at the Greenbank Station). Tonight's topic is the New Castle County Workhouse, formerly located at Greenbank. Details can be found in the post below. Hope to see you there!