Conservancy developing preservation plan

The Brandywine Conservancy continues to develop a plan for the preservation and use of Birmingham Hill, the 113-acre Odell property between Wylie and Meetinghouse roads at Birmingham Road in Birmingham Township. The property was the site of large troop movements during the 1777 Battle of Brandywine during the War of Independence.

The conservancy bought the first 100 acres in 2007 and the last 13 acres two years ago. On May 27, Sheila Fleming, the manager for Municipal Assistance, led an informational town hall meeting on the status of the plans for the site via Zoom. A follow-up meeting with a draft plan for public review will be held in September.

Fleming said there are several principles involved in the approach to preserving and developing the site for public use. Among those principles is treating the property as hallowed ground because of the number of troops who fought and died there. She later said that because of the hallowed nature, picnicking and dog walking would not be allowed.

“It’s akin to a cemetery,” Fleming said.

Other principles include minimizing disturbance and restoring the landscape as it would have been in 1777.

The current plan calls for the preservation of both the natural and historic features located on the property. One of those features, the stone spring house near Meetinghouse, existed at the time of the battle, she said. Other structures include a 400-square foot log cabin that could be used as a heritage center

Planning also calls for determining infrastructure needs, including a possible 50 extra parking spaces. Of those, 10 would be added to the 10 that already exist, while the other 40 are under consideration as possible overflow parking during events that may be held. Fleming added, though, that the expanded parking would be based only on demand.

Anticipated activities and events include walking history tours, lectures, nature walks, plein air painting, and, possibly re-enactments. Lecture and exhibit spaces are being considered, as is signage with QR coding.

The conservancy is seeking input from the community to help develop the plan to be presented in September. A copy of the current draft may be found here. For questions or comments, go here.

 

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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