The WC Press Architecture Issue - January 2016

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Architecture Issue January 2016














“Architecture is inhabited sculpture.” –Constantin Brancusi



COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Diane LeBold Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit

Noting 11

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Our no-nonsense table of contents

FROM THE EDITOR Dan Mathers’ monthly ramblings OWNER OF THE MONTH Kit Anstey talks about West Chester’s real estate market STEWARDS OF STYLE Understanding the Historic & Architectural Review Board BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Amy Sumser of Ram’s Head Bar & Grill THE OLD AMONG THE NEW The Historical Society’s walking tours educate and inspire MAKEOVER Avanté on High switches things up this month IN PLAIN SIGHT The Downtown Foundation’s Historic Preservation Awards THE LOOK Winter whites and comfort in the cold from Kaly PHOTO HUNT Your favorite game, reproduced in print FRESH FACES Dr. Raj Sahijwani of Cafe of Life Chiropractic Center





From the


“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” –Frank Gehry

From sixth grade through my junior year of high school, I wanted to be an architect. I took architecture courses through the West Chester Area School District’s gifted program, PROBE, and later spent three years learning AutoCAD at West Chester East. In my junior year, I took a tour of Penn State’s College of Arts & Architecture to get a better idea what my intended major entailed. I remember the student’s desks, I remember their creations and being excited about the prospects. Then I remember the professor telling me, “This is a very competitive program. We only accept around 50 students a year; getting in is all about hard work.” Which, it turned out, was going to be a major problem. Sure, I’d taken three years of AutoCAD, but I spent as much time hacking those computers as I did learning computer-aided design. In fact, I was eventually suspended from using any WCASD computer when it was discovered I’d created an admin account to install the game Unreal Tournament on the network. Other classes weren’t any better. Although my parents encouraged me to take challenging courses, I always did the minimum to scrape by in Physics II or Calculus. When graduation rolled around I found myself with an impressive list of coursework but an abysmal GPA. And so, at age 17, my hopes of becoming an architect ended up just like my dreams of becoming an astronaut. Still, knowing my passion for the subject, it may come as a surprise that it took us this long to greenlight an architecture issue. We avoided it because, while as a town we’re proud of our architectural history, our architectural future is a constant source of argument. Do the advantages of height restrictions outweigh the benefits of larger construction projects? Can we maintain our history while embracing a contemporary vision for the downtown? At its root, the problem wasn’t architectural, it was political, and The WC Press makes every effort to eschew controversy. Luckily, the PoliSci degree I actually graduated with has made me an expert at weaseling my way out of awkward conversations. In this issue you’ll find “Stewards of Style,” a fantastic piece exploring the mission of our Historical & Architectural Review Board, and the essence of West Chester’s architectural mission. There’s “In Plain Sight,” which highlights the contributions of the West Chester Downtown Foundation to award those who preserve or revive that aesthetic. And, knowing how important our architectural history is, it was only right that the Chester County Historical Society contribute a piece as well. These articles share one belief: that it’s possible for West Chester to thrive while maintaining its charm. It’s possible to meld modern innovations with historical value. For my part, I believe that it’s possible for our town to continue to grow—for modern designs to succeed and larger buildings to find their place—without compromising what makes us special. But then, that’s just an opinion… I never did get that architecture degree to back up my claims.





Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Kit Anstey talks about the growth of West Chester’s real estate market. How’d you get into real estate? I was in the retail business—had a couple men’s stores in downtown West Chester. In the mid ’80s they started opening malls, and so I decided to go after another profession. Did you open your own real estate business immediately? I opened Anstey and Associates right away. It was located right on Market where Mercato is now. Was that a difficult transition? I had been buying and selling a lot using other realtors, so when I decided to get my own license in the fall of 1986, it was an easy transition into running my own company. Did you struggle for a client base? Because I’d been in the retail business for so long—I worked at that clothing store right out of high school and then bought it— many of my retail customers became real estate customers. It was very lucky, really. So business was good right off the bat. I was in a fortunate position; the company was specialized in the borough. It was a good, small business. But then, things changed when big companies started buying everything in the early ’90s. What changed? When corporate relocation became part of the business, it really

changed the business. Many higher-end clients—CEOs or managers in big companies—had relocation departments for when they’d move for work. Those departments wouldn’t recognize a mom-andpop shop. We did a lot of high-end sales, so in order to stay with that kind of business, we needed to make the transition. Were you hesitant? No. If you were going to be successful, you had to be big. Being a little mom-and-pop company was fine in the ’80s and early ’90s, but it would have been difficult for me to do the job I wanted to for my sellers without the support of a major company. In 1997 Prudential bought Anstey and Associates. There have been a few other buyouts since then, most recently by Berkshire Hathaway, so what was once Anstey and Associates is now The Kit Anstey Real Estate Team Inc. at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach, Realtors. Did your company grow as you joined these larger networks? In ‘97 I had assistants and I was my own agent. But then, using the success I’d had as an agent, I started putting together a group, a great team, in ‘98 to expand our capabilities.

Tell me about the team. I have, including myself, eight people on the team. Two are admins—they’re licensed to buy but run the clerical end—and there are five other agents who list and sell real estate. Has that always been the structure? Four of those people have been with me more than 15 years. As our team grew more mature—or, older, as you might say—we brought in some younger blood, which makes for a great mix for the team. Sounds like you’re proud of that team. We say, “We sell more because we do more.” What makes this a great team is that we don’t just wait for the phone to ring—we work hard for our clients. Our advertising budget is almost $200,000 a year. We reinvest a lot of our commission into branding and promoting our listings. And that’s paid off? Well, we’ve won the Readers’ Choice Award from the Daily Local for the last two years and were recently recognized nationally for superior service to our clients. So, when a company is not only getting awards for top sales, but also for customer service, that really says you’re doing something right. That’s quite a pitch. It’s just the truth!





Ask your


Dr. Geoff Winkley is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who operates Doctor's Best Immediate Medical Care

WCP: There are lots of different illnesses around this time of year with symptoms similar to the common cold. How are we supposed to tell them apart?

Dr. W: It is confusing to the patient, parent or care giver when the patient has symptoms that are similar to more than just one illness. All colds are viruses that cause upper respiratory infections. Typical symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, sinus congestion and cough. Some patients even get fever (although persistent fever is usually the time to see your doctor to rule out other illnesses). Drinking fluids, getting lots of sleep and treating the symptoms with over-the-counter medications will reduce or eliminate symptoms while the body heals itself. Colds typically resolve within a week to 10 days. You should, however, keep an eye out for the illnesses below—they have cold-like symptoms, but can be more serious: Influenza, commonly called the Flu, has symptoms that are similar to a cold, but more severe. During influenza season (December through March), symptoms of high fever, headache, and muscle aches, along with sore throat, are often the first signs of flu. Since cold and influenza are viruses, they are not responsive to antibiotics (antibacterial), so the symptoms are treated with over-the-counter medications. There are antiviral medications that may reduce the severity and duration of influenza, when started within 48 hours of flu symptoms, so see a doctor as soon as you think you may have it. Strep Throat is a bacterial infection caused by the Streptococcus bacteria and is common in children. It is contagious and should be treated with antibiotics. Compared to the common cold, strep throat symptoms are primarily sore throat and fever, and often accompanied by headache, muscle ache, abdominal pain, nausea and rash. If you have these symptoms and the lymph nodes in your neck are tender and enlarged, see a doctor. Pneumonia is an inflammation in the lungs that is caused by viral and bacterial infections, or other organisms. Its primary symptoms are high fever, cough, chest or back pain, chills, difficulty breathing and fatigue or weakness. Pneumonia is diagnosed by listening for abnormal sounds in the lungs and through a chest x-ray. When diagnosed, it is almost always treated with antibiotics. Mononucleosis, or “Mono,” is an illness caused by various viruses, with Epstein-Barr being the most common. Although its symptoms can be similar to the common cold, the association of fatigue and fever with a severe sore throat and enlarged tonsils may indicate mono. Initially, it is very difficult to differentiate mono symptoms, but if you have persistent, profound fatigue, severe sore throat with enlarged tonsils and/or lymph nodes in the neck, see a doctor.



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Stewards of Style

The Historic & Architectural Review Board Works to Maintain West Chester's Unique Charm story JESSE PIERSOL photos AMY THEORIN


hat does “town center” mean in 2016?

At one end of the spectrum lie the walkable communities of New Urbanism that display the visual signifiers of an established business district. Consistent, clutter-free facades frame big box stores, chain restaurants, and franchised specialty retailers. In their manufactured

uniformity, though, they often lack the beating heart of an authentic downtown, with its collection of independent businesses and magnetic vibe evolved over the course of a long history. At the other end of the spectrum are communities without any sort of intentional visual style at all. You’ve driven through plenty of them, where a centuries-old stone house sits next door to a trailer park, with a strip mall

across the street. Intermittent sections of sidewalk mirror the numerous empty storefronts that generally pepper the business district. And then there is West Chester. “Densely grouped three-story buildings laid out in a rectangular pattern of streets form the singular character of this 200 year-old settlement,” observes the July 2002 Design Guidelines for the West Chester Historic District. The





document’s introductory section continues, “The architectural character of buildings in the Historic District is remarkably consistent, built in a row-form building pattern with the front facade on the sidewalk line, predominantly constructed of brick, with a first-floor storefront and storefront cornice, topped by two residential or office floors, and capped by a building cornice. This consistent building formula and urban form repeats block after block within the Historic District, creating a cohesive and unified streetscape in which individual building design is secondary to the overall quality of the district.”

“The frieze was already there, and they designed the sign to drop into that space.” Published by the West Chester Historical & Architectural Review Board (HARB), the design guidelines were created by local firm Frens & Frens Restoration Architects and donated to the borough. They describe the standards for building exteriors located within the business district. As the downtown has expanded over the years, so too have its irregular borders, and a handful of residential properties must also now comply with the guidelines. Jimmer Breen is a board member for the HARB, and also owns Breen Company, a carpentry firm that specializes in building restorations. “With the HARB, our job is to retain as much original fabric in the design of the business district as possible,” he says. “The typical new building owner buys the property but perhaps might not understand how the guidelines work. They don’t necessarily need to copy the original, but be sympathetic to the original.” Carol Quigley, a project manager at Frens & Frens, as well as Chair of the HARB, explains that the process starts when a new owner purchases a building. “Hopefully, owners have been informed before their purchase that they’re in the historic district.” Jimmer adds, “They’ll definitely find out about the HARB when they go to get a building permit if they want to make changes. Prior to being issued a permit, they need to get the HARB’s approval.” Once an owner has a plan, it is sent to Borough Council for their next meeting. “The members of council can either

support it or not. They usually take our recommendations,” says Carol. “With simple, small projects, everyone can usually come to agreement in a single meeting.” She emphasizes, “We work with people to get them to understand what is appropriate.” The HARB’s panel must include one licensed architect, one licensed real estate broker, one member from the borough’s planning commission, and one building inspector, with a total of at least seven members at any time (there are currently nine). Phil Yocum, a project manager and architect with JMA Cultural Heritage Services, is serving his current term as the official architect on record. He reinforces the educational aspect of the HARB. “For people who are new to the process, we offer advisory sessions. We can put them in the right direction, which saves them from buying materials and starting to renovate before they’re approved.” The following pages highlight some examples of how the past meets the present, all in the name of keeping the town true to its original character while welcoming the influx of new energy and ideas.

Signs of the Times Saloon 151, 151 W. Gay St.

If you’re a new business owner, the HARB wants to talk to you about your signs. “Sometimes people will want a neon light or something that is completely opposed to what we’re going for,” says Jimmer. In addition to a borough ordinance that regulates size, the HARB offers additional guidelines for design. “Ideally, the design should be integrated with the facade of the building,” he shares, and cites the signage at Saloon 151 as a good representation of HARB tenets. “It follows the sign guidelines in terms of materials and size.”



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While working with Mathers Productions to develop the logo and branding, Saloon 151 owner Frank Herron decided he wanted a horizontal logo that would fit within the frieze [broad horizontal band of a cornice] that spanned the façade of the building. Jimmer applauds their efforts. “The frieze was already there, and they designed the sign to drop into that space.” Lighting matters, too. The design guidelines state that interior illumination is not appropriate for signs within the historic district. “We prefer focus lights that shine on the sign from the outside, such as gooseneck lamps,” says Carol. “And no illuminated plastic signs.” OK, but what about the town’s collective love for the giant light-up keyboard that hangs over Taylor’s Music Store? “Taylor’s sign is an example of something that doesn’t fit within the guidelines,” Jimmer agrees, “but it has become part of the fabric of the town.” Even that beloved icon has evolved over time, though, with part of the keyboard now covered by an awning.

Perfectly Imperfect Cubes Landmark Americana, 158 W. Gay St.

When Landmark Americana owner Brian McFadden bought the property at the intersection of Darlington and Gay Streets, he could have proposed to build a simple cubeshaped structure designed to maximize square footage (and profits). Instead, he selected a modified L-shaped design that accommodated the existing two-story building included in the purchase. Carol praises their choice. “It’s much easier to build a cube. They were thoughtful enough to take their context into consideration.”

If you stand in front of the Lincoln Building and look north, you’ll see the third floor that was added to the building for increased rental space. Oh wait…you can’t see it, can you? That’s because the addition is discretely tucked into the rear of the structure, creating additional rental units (and income), while preserving the historic view from the front street. While you’re looking at the front of the building, take note of the awning that spans from Church Street all the way down to the far edge of Mercato. “The awning used to stop at Senator Dinniman’s office,” Carol points out, “but Zukin extended it for the rest of the block, to make it look more like the original version.”

History in Progress

Synchrony Group, 20-22 N. Church St. Synchrony Group’s owner Rod Hughes is pretty excited about the renovation taking place at his company’s new home at 20-22 N. Church Street. Even though the scope of this article only addresses building exteriors, he sends over a thick packet of historical photographs and information that documents the building all the way back to its origins as a site for stove manufacturing and sales in the mid 1800s. He also arranges for both the architects and the project superintendent to come out for a comprehensive tour. His enthusiasm is warranted— the building is going to be spectacular. Gone are the dropped ceilings and stifling interiors walls, and in their place an open floor plan brimming with light and framed by the original exposed beams and mahogany floors. Project superintendent Hugh McCloskey shows off stacks of long sections of reclaimed wood that will be repurposed within the building.

Zukin Realty Property, 33 W. Market St.

“Rod is an example of an owner who really embraces what the HARB is about,” Carol says.”

Another example of creative design that found a sweet spot between rentable space and thoughtful streetscape is the Zukin Reality property located behind Mercato on Market Street.

The centerpiece of the renovation—a giant gear mechanism that originally worked as part of a hoist system used to deliver heavy loads to the upper floors of the building—currently sits





hidden in the attic space collecting dust. When previous owners no longer needed the hoist, they covered over the openings in the building’s exterior walls. Rod’s vision replaces that cover with glass panels, along with glass sections in the floor of each level all the way up to the top, exposing a view of those gears for everyone inside the building, and also for passersby on the street. Project manager Jeff Ivins of Dever Architects says the renovation is on target for January completion. Synchrony G r o u p ’ s neighbor to the north is the original home of West Chester’s first firehouse. Now belonging to Landmark building owner Brian McFadden, it has undergone its own historical rehabilitation. “The original opening was much different,” notes Carol. She outlines the rectangular masonry opening with her finger, an area now occupied by arched doors set into the space. “They designed the new doors and windows to mimic the forms of the structure’s previous doorway.”

Safety First

The Greentree Building, 11 N. High St. Phil points to the medallion patterns that repeat across the side of the Greentree Building. “Those limestone blocks and medallions had to be replaced because they were crumbling and could no longer be repaired,“ he says. “They made new ones that are pretty close in style to the original.”

The Lincoln Building, 28 W. Market St. When it came time for the Lincoln Building to install a new handrail for the outside steps, the design needed the

HARB’s stamp of approval first. “Handrails should be black metal, typically,” says Carol, “and the design should be as unobstructive to the view of the building as possible.”

The Chester County Historic Courthouse 2 N. High St. A shining example of the old co-existing with the new is the ramp for wheelchair accessibility located at the side entrance to the Historic Courthouse. “It was originally proposed to go on the front of the building,” Phil notes. “At the HARB, we want renovations to work in a way that is inconspicuous. It should look like nothing ever happened here.” During the review process, the idea to install the ramp at the building’s rear entrance came up. Carol motions to the marble steps. “They reset the steps to make the landing level with the door. But those are the original steps.” Phil says, “In the end, this design actually met their needs better.” “We’re making progress,” Jimmer reflects. “It’s about keeping up with the times, but we’re preserving the original character as well.” “We’re not Colonial Williamsburg, frozen in time,” adds Phil. The HARB is about balance. “People are drawn to town because of its character and charm, but then they want to develop it to maximize profitability,” muses Jimmer. “There is always that pressure to find the middle ground. We realize we’re going to have new development. It’s just a matter of finding a way to manage it.” He pulls out his phone and displays a photograph of a storefront in West Chester taken a hundred years ago. On the sidewalk in front of the building sits an empty wheelchair, which its occupant had no doubt been forced to vacate in order to enter the store...somehow. “That’s what we’re trying to prevent,” he says, gesturing to the new ramp. “We want to make sure West Chester keeps up with the times but doesn’t lose sight of the charm that makes it West Chester.”





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight local citizens for doing something swell.

Since I started writing this column, I’ve used several methods to find good people doing good things: I read the newspaper, contact local organizations for volunteers, and enlist the aid of community residents, businesspeople, and The WC Press readers. And sometimes, I’m just eating breakfast and goodness finds me. This month’s column looks a bit different, because it’s not focused on one person; rather it’s focused on the staff at Penn’s Table. On two recent visits, I witnessed the staff’s heartwarming treatment of Charlie Vogel. If you’re unfamiliar with Charlie, he’s been a regular at the eatery for the past 10 years or so—and he is 99 years old. According to manager Nikkii McNichol, Charlie is at Penn’s Table for breakfast nearly every day. When I first noticed him, I saw several waitresses taking turns stopping by a nearby booth, talking with or hugging the gentleman seated there with his newspaper. My next visit was with a friend on a busy Saturday morning, and when Charlie arrived at the door, you’d have thought he was a celebrity. Two waitresses met him there and escorted him to a table. We were struck by how genuine and attentive these women were to Charlie. I didn’t immediately realize he was the same man from before; it only dawned on me as waitresses stopped in turn at his table, giving hugs and bantering. My friend and I overheard snippets of conversation from our adjacent table, as one server read crossword puzzle clues and another discussed her upcoming wedding and requested Charlie’s attendance. His server brought a large box of cereal to the table; Nikkii later told me he keeps his own Cheerios there, eating a bowl with two poached eggs, as he’s done since childhood. “Sometimes he switches it up and orders bacon. On Wednesdays he’ll order a half-stack of French toast, and take some home for his daughter,” she said. The attention Charlie gets isn’t just limited to the wait staff, as we saw kitchen staff coming out to chat with Charlie. As server Hilary told me, “We brighten his day, I’m sure, but he brightens mine way more than I could brighten his.” Nikkii sums it up this way: “He’s an amazing man. He’s so with it, he still works out, he’s so engaged with all of us, plus he’s so darned cute! I lost my own grandfather—also named Charlie—at a pretty young age. I feel almost like I’ve regained my grandfather.” We were so moved by the sincerity of affection for Charlie that the staff displayed that we asked our waitress, Taylor, if we could pay his check. She told us Charlie eats free of charge at Penn’s Table, per owner Anthony Marion’s instructions. When I spoke with him about his staff’s admirable treatment of this gentlemen, he brushed it off. “They’re the best, but that’s not me—that all comes down from Nikkii.” So say "hi" to Charlie next time you’re at Penn’s Table, where the goodness is contagious. You can’t miss him; he’ll be the one with the crowd around him.





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Amy Sumser of Ram's Head Bar & Grill talks about great beer, exclusive whiskey and nachos. How long have you been bartending? I started bartending when I was 23 at the Wells Fargo Center. Well, that answer forces me to ask an indelicate question: how old are you now? No, that fine. I am 29 years old—I’m not 30 yet, so I’m good. What got you into bartending? I’ve been in the restaurant industry since I was 15 years old. I worked my way up, starting serving, picked up some bartending shifts, and I’ve been doing that ever since. How long were you at the Wells Fargo Center? I worked there for eight years. And what made you leave? I actually

moved to California for school for a year. What did you study and where? I went to Make-up Designory for beauty and special effects makeup. Wow that’s cool. Doing anything with it? I am a makeup artist at a salon in Philadelphia: DnA Salon in Northern Liberties. I guess you stay pretty busy then? I definitely keep busy. I try to bartend and do makeup as much as possible. What nights do you bartend? I am here Wednesday through Saturday nights. What’s your favorite? I like the Friday night crowd. Everybody is ready to get out and get crazy. Happy hour is always great here, so you get your night started right. What’s the happy hour? We have $3 select drafts, $5 house wines and half-off appetizers from 5-7pm. And select drafts aren’t just Bud or Miller Lite, right? No. Definitely not. We always have craft beer on special. We’re known for our craft beer, so if we’re makin’ them select drafts, they better be good ones. What are some of your favorites? We have Half Acre Daisy Cutter on right now, which is a solid pale ale, and we always have Bell’s Two Hearted on tap. We usually

have a kolsch, or a wheat or a stout on as well to accommodate everyone. And as for the apps? We recently launched our new menu, so between old favorites like the nachos—which are always solid and they’ll never go away because they’re the best—and new stuff like our Ahi fish and chips or our asian pork nachos, which comes with crispy fried wontons, ginger- and soy-glazed roasted pork and melted mozzarella. That sounds amazing, but I don’t even want to ask about the calories… We definitely have stuff that appeals to people who are trying to be healthy, but we always have great pub food which makes you wanna drink more while you’re eating. And drinking more beer is what it’s about. Well, beer and whiskey. Whiskey, huh? We just got into having a great whiskey list. Jefferson’s Bourbon recently made a batch of bourbon exclusively for Ram’s Head. We have 72 batches of our own exclusive, nice, sweet, smooth bourbon. And how would I order it? You can just say, “I’ll have the Ram’s Head Jefferson.” Well then, I’ll have the Ram’s Head Jefferson.






Old New the


Chester County Historical Society’s walking tours educate and inspire

by Kelly Meagher & Vicki McKeefery


all spend plenty of time walking through West Chester, but that doesn’t mean we actually see everything around us. Between the rush of getting to work, running errands, and hurrying home, it’s easy to forget this town is packed with historic and architectural gems. That’s why the Chester County Historical Society started giving walking tours back in 1997, and still offers them today — because sometimes, we need a little help to really see what’s around us.

The tour starts out in the Historical Society building on High Street, where attendees get a quick briefing on what’s to come, with a particular focus on six “clues” that scratch below the surface of West Chester’s history — talking points like datestones, markers, and monuments. From there, you'll get a booklet packed with info on relevant buildings (and a blank section for notes), then head outside to begin the walk (every location falls within a five-block radius, so there’s plenty of time take it all in). The walk centers on the juxtaposition of beautiful historic architecture from a variety of periods, situated right alongside contemporary buildings of our

own era. The landing at the top of the steps of the Chester County Courthouse gives a breathtaking panoramic view of downtown West Chester, where Greek Revival buildings abut Renaissance storefronts, Beaux Arts structures face Federal landmarks, and modern refurbishments bring other facades right into the 21st century. Add in historic markers, monuments, and leftovers from a past era, and you have the kind of rich, multi-layered experience you can’t find anywhere else. But this is about more than a bunch of pretty buildings. Each block on the tour has a story to tell. As you walk, you’re not just moving through space: you’re travelling through time, too. Participants will experience the evolution of the small crossroads town of Turks Head into the present county seat called West Chester, and learn the role West Chester played





in major events like the Battle of the Brandywine, the Underground Railroad, and World War I, and on into the new century. By the time things wrap up, you’ll have a whole new perspective on the place we call home. Tours have traditionally been given for school groups; but recently CCHS has expanded the program, offering them to senior centers, Boy and Girl Scouts, and other community groups. For more information, contact the Chester County Historical Society Education Department at 610-692-4800 (extension 203) and ask for Carol Samuelson or Vicki McKeefery. Just as with the walking tours, student

historians need to stop and look at the amazing structures that have been preserved in West Chester. Did you know that our courthouse was designed by Thomas U. Walter, who also designed the dome of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC? Or that Horticultural Hall (the CCHS building on Evans Alley) was built using blue serpentine stone quarried here in Chester County? This is the kind of info young photographers can pick up while taking part in the Historic Architecture Photography Contest, sponsored by CCHS and the West Chester Business Improvement District. This program

encourages middle and high school students (grades 6-12) to come into West Chester and turn their lenses on the most interesting aspects of our architecture (and learn about our amazing history in the process). There are awards for best Exteriors, Interiors, Detail shots, and Digitally Altered images, and Mayor Comitta recognizes each winning photographer during Historic Preservation Month. If you, or a shutterbug you know, is looking to enter, visit for more contest information. Photographs can be submitted digitally to photocontest@ — just get them in by midnight on April 15.

F&M Building 2 W Market St Kristyn Usilton, 9th Grade This is a digitally Original West Chester Fire Co, 30 N Church St enhanced photo JP Perucki, 8th Grade of the sign for the West Chester Fire Company #1 on Church Street. “The leaves on this sign [are like] hands reaching out from the past. I like how the fire hoses used to be hung from the top tower to dry. I like how this could almost be like the Bat Cave.’” “I took the photo of this building because I thought the angle was interesting next to the sky. I was with Art Partners studio from Coatesville, Wells Fargo Bank, 17 N High St and we were walking around taking Joyousfaith Verucci-Crutcher pictures. I hadn’t seen this building before I took the picture, but I saw it several times afterwards.”

"A few friends and I were walking around West Chester with my history teacher at the time and as he was explaining the significance of this building, the sharp architecture of the columns and corners of the building really stood out to me. I love how every part of the building is so detailed and so carefully crafted with so much thought put into every part of the building." Kristin adds, “The photography contest was such a great opportunity to learn so much about West Chester that I had never even thought about before.”

Holy Trinity Church 212 S High St Josh Samuelson, 9th Grade The judges liked the lighting in this photo and felt the colors from the stained glass were maintained in the composition.

Seeing the old and the new mixed into one community, and knowing how to look up and around is a skill that we can all learn to appreciate. Check out some winning photos from last year’s contest here, and the next time you’re walking through West Chester, whether it’s with a camera, on a tour, or just on your own, take a minute to look and remind yourself why this town is so special.



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Children in


Jennifer Ozgur says farewell after four years writing about her family for this column

Fireworks light up the night skies, people crowd the streets, and everybody looks with anticipation toward what the next 12 months will bring. And every New Year's we take personal inventory of the past 365 days and set goals with the hope of making a change for the better. It is in this spirit that I have chosen to pursue other writing projects and call an end to this column. The decision was not easy for me to make. After four years writing for The WC Press, I began to regard the publication as a member of my family. It was a constant in my life and kept me motivated to stay connected with my son and daughter as I brainstormed content for my column. Be it a large event like the Restaurant, Chili or Turks Head festivals, a smaller happening like the Read2Dream literacy fair, or just a fleeting observation on the brick-paved sidewalks, I always loved the challenge of coming up with topics to write about every month. I’ve always been a writer at heart. As a teenager, I kept journals. In college, I wrote self-indulgent beatnik free verse. Once I began teaching, I wrote essays and analysis as models. Then I became a mom and my writing took a different direction. My daughter was just a few months old, and I realized that I was kissing her. A lot. “I bet I’ll wind up kissing you a million times,” I said to her. Then I did a little math and realized that if I kissed her 153 times a day from birth to 18 years old, I’d literally have “One Million Kisses.” A little wordsmithing yielded a poem about making that promise to your child. It became my mission to try to get the poem turned into a children’s book and inspire families everywhere to make the 153Promise to show love and affection to foster healthy relationships and nurture emotionally healthy, welladjusted young people. The Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. This is never more true than in the world of publishing. I had been sitting on that “One Million Kissses” poem for ten years. Every year or so, I’d check to see if any new book companies were accepting unsolicited manuscripts and send it in. Sometimes I’d hear back with an encouraging rejection. Most of the time, I'd have done better to take the postage and buy some scratch-off lottery cards at 7-11. All the time, however, I kept telling myself that as long as I kept my heart in the right place, everything would work out for the best. Which brings me to why this is my farewell column: I am very pleased to be working with a local publisher who sees the merit in my little poem ”One Million Kisses” and has decided to publish it. It is due out in April, and in the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @JenniferOzgur to know when I post something new on my and get updates about the book, signings and other developments. I’ll admit that it made me happy when people would approach me to say, “I enjoyed what you wrote about last month.” I’ll miss that. But I’m hoping this new adventure will continue to bring joy and inspire others in a positive way. @jenniferozgur






Makeover PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

Avanté on High switches things up this month and gives quality treatment to a gentleman Ray is a loyal client to the Men's Loft at Avanté on High Street. He comes in every two weeks to get his routine haircut from Dave. Why every two weeks? He is a soldier for the US National Guard and

has to keep a clean-cut look. This low bald fade is very tight and popular at the Men's Loft. Fading is their specialty and they take pride in the quality of their work. The Men’s Loft not only gives a great haircut but believes in catering to their clients. With every haircut you're offered a beverage while watching SportsCenter, from water and soda to beer, or even a hot coffee for those early mornings. Dave, Men’s Loft barber, has been passionate about barbering for 11 years. He has taught several men’s cutting courses while continuing his education as well. Dave is always accepting new clients and welcomes you to try him out!





The West Chester Downtown Historic Foundation’s Preservation Awards spotlight gems all around us by Kate Chadwick





But what of the “something about it” that Whitney mentioned? So often, it’s an area’s architecture, its silent contribution to the character of a town, and that’s undeniably part of the equation in making West Chester so special. We asked architect Jason Birl of The West Chester Downtown Foundation to weigh in, since the Foundation is responsible for the creation and implementation of the West Chester Preservation Awards. Designed to encourage residents and business owners of West Chester to preserve the borough’s historic fabric and character, the Preservation Awards are now in their fifth year.

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ecently I had my hair colored by Whitney Mousseau at Balance Hair Spa Studio on Gay Street. She is (in addition to being a talented stylist) a relatively recent transplant from the West Coast. When I asked her about her new life here in WC, she told me, “I came from a city environment, and all I knew was that I didn’t want to be in ‘the suburbs.’ But I love West Chester. It’s got an urban feel, but it’s not overwhelming. There’s just something about it.” Indeed, whether you live here or are just a frequent visitor, you know that West Chester has a uniqueness that sets it apart from other towns. There are the obvious reasons: the fact that West Chester is home to both a university and is a county seat, for one, gives the town an eclectic population, encompassing students to judges and everyone in between. Bustling shops, restaurants, row homes, and galleries set along brick sidewalks punctuated with leafy trees add to the borough’s appeal.

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cant buildings in town, for example the courthouse, which was designed by Thomas U Walter, architect of the Capitol dome in Washington DC. He designed several buildings in West Chester that still stand.” While we were on the subject, we asked “The built environment of West Jason to name some of Chester is very unique, and not quite like his own favorite architecany town you’ll find anywhere else, even tural examples in town. “I’ve locally,” Jason said. The original village and Ne always admired the West CheswS treet D crossroads of Turks Head is the origins of what ter Library, designed by T. Roney eli we now think of West Chester borough, and it all Williamson,” he said. (Reporter’s note: began in the late 18th century, when Delaware County was SAME HERE.) “It’s a wonderfully done building, divided from Chester County, and the new county seat of which has been recently renovated and expanded by Frens Chester County was relocated from Chester to the newlyand Frens Architects, whose work is the recipient of a Presnamed West Chester, according to Jason. Geographically, it ervation Award.” Jason also cited the National Bank of West sits on a rise, and other than being a crossroads, it was rather Chester building on High Street, also designed by Thomas U insignificant; there was no waterway, mill, or other industry Walter. “It’s an exceptionally designed but gloriously simple that created the town—it grew from a need for an adminfaçade, and is one of those ‘background’ buildings that istrative center of the county. As such, it initially attracted contribute to the quality of West Chester that residents and business related to the county seat, only later attracting visitors are attracted to but sometimes can’t quite put their some industry in its own right. “Architecturally, the borough finger on what ‘it’ is.” as we recognize it today grew through the 19th century into So what is the criteria for a Preservation Award? The the mid-20th century," Jason said. “The layout of the town awards program is divided into three categories: Bricks and lends itself to Philadelphia, from its grid of tight streets and Mortar, for built work; Preservation Service, for individuals alleys to rowhomes with brick sidewalks. But what is most and organizations that promote the history of the borough; unique about West Chester is its dense, cohesive urban presand Preservation Legacy, for individuals who make long-lastence.” ing contributions to promote and preserve West Chester’s And, of course, its architecture. “Another unique feature character. “The Awards Committee considers all nominated of West Chester is the large number of architecturally signifi- projects, and looks for those that first meet its mission





These can range from new construction to the most meticulous of restorations. Among the 2015 award winners, for example, are Mitch’s Gym on Market Street for its adaptive reuse of a former laundry building; the adaptive reuse of a carriage house on South New Street—the “Deli House”—into offices and an apartment; the sidewalk canopy reconstruction at 33-39 West Market Street; and a Preservation Planning Efforts Award for Paxon Park, which are new homes constructed on West Dean Street. Each of these has contributed to the borough’s “it factor.” When asked what people might not know about the Preservation Awards program, Jason responded, “What people might Pax now know is simply that son P ark the program actually exists— we’re still working on getting the word out. It’s slowly gaining notoriety.” To that end, the Foundation held its first evening event this past October. “Our evening event was an attempt to increase the visibility of the Program, which we see as a step in the right direction,” Jason told us. And evidently it worked. “Over 200 people attended, and we increased our sponsorship of the event significantly.” Another thing people might not know? “Anyone can nominate a building for a West Chester Preservation Award,” Jason said. “The goal of the awards program is to promote the preservation of the very special character of the borough,

and to include as many people as possible to that end. We think this is important, because the unique character of West Chester has lasting historic, economic, cultural and social implications that deserve preserving for future generations, and we hope that the Awards program is an additional tool to help contribute to the community.” Preservation Awards Chairman Allen Burke had this to add: “We have lots of safeguards in place to keep people from doing the wrong thing, but only we [the Preservation Awards] recognize them for doing the right thing,” he said. “Shining a light P on examples of good t irs F work should inform and f ao l o encourage others to do Cup more of it. We have been given an architectural treasure from our predecessors, and we have an obligation to be good stewards who pass on a better West Chester to those who come after us.” re sb yte ria nC hur ch

statement: to preserve West Chester’s historic fabric and character,” Jason said. “While we have a list of guidelines and definitions that help us determine what should or should not be considered within ‘character,’ we collectively come to a consensus of what fits the overall definition. From there, we look for the projects that have done this in an exceptional way.” Jason hastened to add, “It should be noted that ‘exceptional’ doesn’t mean out of reach of the average person; in fact many past awards recognize renovations and work that are exceptionally ordinary— projects that are well executed, well researched, and simple solutions.”

Concludes Jason: “Collectively, all of the buildings, from significant to ordinary, assembled on the grid of streets and alleys we think of as West Chester…serves as a great model to other places across the country of how a town can be viable and pedestrian and have a strong presence without being overwhelming,” Jason said. “I think this is what brings visitors in, and encourages people to live and work here. Once charmed by the environment, West Chester then continues to charm you with individual buildings, streets, or other small features unique only to the borough. And it’s all of these unique features, from the significant to the more commonplace, that the West Chester Preservation Awards focuses on and encourages others to preserve.” So the next time you’re strolling around town, take note of that particular building or rehab or “it” factor that makes West Chester special to you. Often it’s right in front of you, in plain sight. If you’d like to make a nomination to the Preservation Awards committee, please visit their website for information and nomination submission forms at:



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Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


It’s January, which means the threemonth-long nosh fest has come to an end. If you’ve tired of all things pumpkin and cranberry then you’ve come to the right place. I’m purposely sharing a recipe today that will shake up dinnertime. The second recipe is for the folks like me who ate too many cookies over the last two months. A word of caution to all weigh-loss resolutioners; don’t skip breakfast! I know that Greek yogurt and fruit is an ideal breakfast on the diet train, but sometimes I just want toast. If I top it with protein-rich ricotta cheese and a fiber-packed pear, I have nothing to worry about. Thai Coconut Shrimp Serves 4 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti 8 c. broccoli florets 2 c. thinly sliced bell pepper 1 1/2 c. light coconut milk 2 tbsp. tomato paste 1/3 c. peanut butter 2 tsp. ground ginger 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 16-24 medium, peeled, cooked, frozen shrimp, thawed 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 2 tsp. salt. Add pasta and boil until al dente. 2. Remove 1 c. of the cooking water, and then drain. 3. In a large glass bowl, place broccoli and peppers. If frozen, microwave as is. If fresh, add 1/4 c. water to the bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, and microwave again, 1 minute at a time, until totally thawed. 4. In a mixing bowl, mix coconut milk, tomato paste, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, pepper and salt until combined. 5. In a large skillet, heat coconut milk mixture over medium heat. Add veggies (drain of water, if necessary) and stir to combine. 6. Add shrimp and stir to combine. 7. Add drained pasta to skillet and stir to combine. Let mixture cook, several minutes. If mixture seems dry, add reserved pasta water, 1 tbsp. at a time. 8. Plate and serve immediately. Pear, Honey and Ricotta Breakfast Toast Serves 1 1 slice Ezekiel or other hearty bread, toasted 1/4 c. ricotta cheese 1 tsp. honey 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 ripe pear, thinly sliced 1. Mix cheese, honey and cinnamon and spread mixture on toast. 2.Top with pears and serve.





Winter Whites and Comfort in the Cold from Kaly

photo Andrew Hutchins story Polly Zobel

Left: Threads 4 Thought Tee $32, Salaam Black Leggings $56, Salaam Black Mini $40, Threads 4 Thought Cardigan in Vanilla $73, Wooden Ships Love Hat $42, Nirvana Cable Infinity Scarf $64 Right: Plume And Thread Dress $110, Liquid Metal Bracelet $90, Nakamol Earrings $38 Winter white was our inspiration for dressing in January. Erika is wearing a sustainably made gray tee and vanilla cardigan by Threads 4 Thought over black leggings and a black mini skirt. The Amy mini skirt is a great way to wear your shorter tunic with leggings. It elongates

the tunic length. We then accessorized her for the cold weather with a great winter white mohair 'Love' hat and white cable infinity scarf. Both accessories are available in gray also. January is all about being comfortable. Wear this dress out with the girls, to lunch,

to work or for a party. This piece is made by our favorite Philadelphia-based line, Plume and Thread, and they design, cut, sew and dye all their garments right in the city. The attention to detail creates clothing with amazing fit and quality that ensures it will be your 'go to' outfit again and again.






Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food.


For those of you who eat pork, here are a couple of questions: When you buy pork chops at the grocery store, how often do you think about the animal—the real, live pig—that was the source of this meat? Have you considered the life that animal had before it went to the processor? Whatever your answers, it might interest you to know that a young couple in East Coventry Township has, in fact, given a lot of thought to the quality of life—and the resulting quality of meat—of their herd of about 30 pasture-raised pigs. Mary and Field Benton of “Snouts and Sprouts” farm are passionately committed to providing a great life for their animals and great food for their customers. And I can attest, from direct experience, that these are happy pigs. They come up to the fence to greet you, curly tails wagging, and play in the pasture like oversize puppies. But this also raises another question: How do you then kill animals that you clearly get to know personally? “It’s true that it’s emotional to send these animals for processing,” Mary explains, “but knowing that they led a good life gives you a different feeling about the meat. You respect it and want to use it properly because you respect the animal and you want to thank them for providing sustenance. When most people buy a package of industrially raised meat, it doesn’t cross their mind how the animal was treated. There’s no connection to the animal and no caring that it was treated badly. If you’re going to eat an animal, I think it’s important to know it had a good life.” Mary observes that pigs raised by large, industrial farms are treated inhumanely compared to her pastured pigs. “Commercial pigs are bred strictly for their ability to gain weight fast, to digest corn, and to withstand confinement on concrete in mud lots,” she says. “We raise what are called ‘heritage’ breeds. They do better in pasture and are great foragers—like pigs are meant to be. They’re leaner than commercial pigs and their meat is darker, but the taste of a pastured pig is far superior in every way to the taste of a commercial pig. That’s not just my opinion. Everyone I know who’s eaten it agrees.” Right now, Snouts and Sprouts farm operates like a CSA, selling meat in bulk directly to consumers—whole, half and quarter animals. “The cost of buying the right kind of food at retail prices can be an issue for some people, and I understand that,” Mary observes. “But buying in bulk at farms like ours can be less expensive, so it allows more small farmers to provide good food to the community." “Small farms like ours are sorely needed,” Mary continues. “It’s a lot more labor-intensive than an industrial farm, but you do it for reasons other than making money. We do it because we’re passionate about doing the right thing and we want to share that passion with the community.” – Snouts and Sprouts provides the kind of locally-sourced food the co-op intends to offer. Visit them at and on Facebook, or contact them at For more on the West Chester Food Co-op, visit



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It’s said the architect of St. Basil’s Cathedral had his eyes removed by Tsar Ivan the Terrible so he could never again create something so to rival this cathedral. Use your eyes to identify the five things that have been changed in this image, then send an email to listing those changes. You’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to a local business.






Hit List

DJ Romeo curates a list of the best albums and singles for the month

Out with 2015 and in with 2016, and you know what that means? New music! This past year was filled with some memorable albums like Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and anthems that will be played for years to come. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” is a perfect example of a timeless classic released in 2015. And people are still rushing to the dancefloor when this track comes on. These are the albums to buy (or listen to on Spotify), and a few singles that might just be the first “Uptown Funk” of 2016. Enjoy. | @DJRomeo24


Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams Troye Sivan - Blue Neighbourhood G-Eazy - When It’s Dark Out Bruce Spingsteen - Ties That Bind: The River Collection Kid Cudi - Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven


Jason Derulo - “Get Ugly” Shy Carter ft./ Aleon Craft - “Bring It Back” Duke Dumont - “Ocean Drive” Natalie La Rose ft./ Fetty Wap - “Around the World” Justin Timberlake - “Drink You Away” Robin Schultz ft./ Francesco Yates - “Sugar” iHeartMemphis - “Hit the Quan” R. City ft./ Chloe Angelides - “Make Up” Travi$ Scott - “Antidote” The Weeknd - “In the Night” Jojo - “When Love Hurts” Sigala - “Easy Love” Troye Sivan - “Youth” Dawin ft./ Silento - “Dessert” Coucheron ft./ Rye Rye - “Chocolate Milk”





Fresh Faces PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Dr. Raj Sahijwani of Cafe of Life Chiropractic Center believes in the innate ability of the human body to heal itself. What brought you to West Chester? I was born and raised here—went to West Chester East High School. I felt like it was a good idea to come back and serve the community. Where’d you go to undergrad? I went to Penn State. We Are. Penn State. What’d you study there? Neurobiology And chiropractic school? I spent four years at Life University in Atlanta. What’d you do after graduating? I pretty much graduated at the end of June, took a month off, and decided mid-August that I wanted to start my own practice. What got you interested in chiropractic? I realized that I wanted to practice

health and wellness from a natural standpoint and really help people heal without the use of drugs and surgery and to empower people and inform them about healthy lifestyles and ways to get healthy without resorting to those drugs or surgery. I did a lot of research on how America has the most money and most research and funding for pharmaceuticals, and yet we’re not the healthiest country. I wanted to dig deeper into that and figure out why. What I discovered is that a lot of the problem is the result of the fact that we’re not being educated correctly on the subject. What do you mean by that? What I mean is that there is no advertising for alternative ways to deal with a lot of conditions, alternatives to pharmaceuticals. If you watch TV, it’s all about another drug or another condition and a lot of it is depowering, in a way. Like, “Okay, I have depression, or anxiety or stress, and I can take a pill for that.” But that’s not solving the problem. That’s not having gained true health. True health come from within. It seems to me that you’re saying people are just addressing the symptoms and not the causes. Exactly. After Penn State I worked for a pharmaceutical company for

two years, then a biotech company for another two years, and I realised that all we were doing was masking symptoms. Now there’s a time and a place for that—don’t get me wrong—but a lot of it is unnecessary and not helping. So how do you address the problem? Vitalistic Chiropractic is grounded in the understanding and respect for the innate wisdom of the body to heal, grow and thrive when free from physical, chemical and emotional stress. Included in our initial consultation is a discussion about how your condition, how your pain, how your anxiety or sleeplessness is related to stress and tension in your nervous system. What you’re struggling with is usually related to an imbalance or some sort of stress in your nervous system, and if we can provide you with ways to stabilize and restore balance in your nervous system—which controls things like pain, allergies, fatigue—those symptoms can begin to dissipate. I want to be part of this community, help restore overall health to you and your family, and be part of something greater. Sounds like a tall order. [Laughing] Really, I’m just trying to save the world.





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