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Historic Tredyffrin Township property to be demolished

Miya Cao / The SPOKE

By Miya Cao, Co-Copy Editor

At the April 15 Tredyffrin Township board of supervisors meeting, the board voted 6-0 in favor of a mitigation plan for a property called Glenilse in Malvern with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA and PEMA are organizations that work to help people and places recover from natural disasters. The plan involves a $182,000 grant from FEMA for demolition of the historic house and maintenance of a pool on the property.

The estate at 1289 Yellow Springs Road, which includes a pool, was built in 1937 for a prominent Main Line family. It was then sold to Charles E. Hires Jr. and his wife Ilse Hires, who gave the property the name Glenilse, with “glen” referring to the mountain stream on the property. The current private owner purchased the 6.8-acre property in 2014 with plans to renovate the house. The house experienced flooding in 2018 from a nearby stream and in 2021 during Hurricane Ida. Due to the stormwater damage, the owner decided to demolish the house with aid from FEMA, PEMA and Tredyffrin Township. Pattye Benson, president of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, a local nonprofit, has been working with PEMA and the township on the mitigation plan.

“I thought it’d be wonderful to leave the very unusual, unique swimming pool,” Benson said. “That’s historic, intact and it shouldn’t be that much (work) to continue to operate. It’s by the creek, it’s really neat and you can see the water going into it from the stream. It’s a beautiful pool.”

FEMA officials have been monitoring Glenilse since the floods and found that the property was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the U.S. government’s official list of sites, buildings and objects that the government deems worthy of preservation. Because of the property’s age and historical value, FEMA sought to carry out a mitigation plan instead of total demolition.

The township will use part of the grant to hire a historical consultant to evaluate the property and train the township historical commission on assessing properties for historical significance. If the plan is successful, ownership of the property and the responsibility of maintaining the pool will transfer to the township. Township manager William Martin addresses concerns that the township will take on unexpected expenses with this project.

“There’s a little bit of risk to the township, but the homeowner has already committed to it. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Martin said. “We are doing some good faith with some concerns with supervisors, but at the end of the day, it should be a good outcome.”

Miya Cao can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Miya Cao
Miya Cao, Co-Copy Editor
Miya Cao is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She often writes for the News and Sports sections. Outside of The Spoke, she plays ice hockey and enjoys spending time with her friends.