Green Lawn Boarding School for Girls
Unionville Village Historic District building No. 65 is a 3-story brick structure built circa. 1840 in the Chester County farmhouse style (which the current owners describe as a ‘Philadelphia rowhouse without the Row’). Joanna R. Bucknell (a Junior at the Westtown School) wrote in 1947 that the Village of Unionville (previously Jacksonville) had an amazing number and variety of schools and that one of the earliest [No. 65] was the Unionville Female Seminary owned by Jervas Jefferis. Jefferis sold the school in 1845 to Charles Buffington who was the director and called his school the Unionville Boarding School for Girls. Edith B. Chalfant was the final principal, from 1853 to 1860 and called her school for girls several variations of the Green Lawn Seminary. Towards the end of her time as mistress Chalfant opened her school to both boys and girls. The Green Lawn School was closed in the early 1860s and became a private residence. Circa 1940 two large glass greenhouses were erected on the property and provided the Village with fresh produce and flowers into the 1960s. Thereafter, the building was housed a family residence, Bed and Breakfast, frame shop, and was used as a rental property. The current owners purchased the Green Lawn School in 2003, have restored its historic appearance, discovered the original well, a privy location, and a buried railroad oil tank car, and have replaced over 300 antique bricks. Village lore is that that the building is haunted, a subject that the current owners will neither confirm nor deny. The current owner named his consulting business ‘Green Lawn Professional Scientific Consulting’ in recognition of the property’s historical significance as one of the earliest remaining buildings in Pennsylvania built specifically for the purpose of educating young women. Bucknell JR. 1947. Old Jacksonville Now Unionville – An Historical Sketch of a Small Country Town. Available upon request from the Unionville Historical and Architectural Review Board, East Marlborough Township, Chester County, PA.
Odd Fellows Hall, 1726 West Doe Run Road
The large red brick building adjacent to the Unionville Community Park; what is its story? In the 1940’s residents of Unionville knew the Hall as a community building used by various organizations; however, the Hall was originally built as the Eastern Star Lodge, Unionville and dedicated by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1851. In a time before the social services we have today, communities banded together to take care of their own. The Odd Fellows originated in England during the 18th century and expanded to the United States beginning in Baltimore Maryland on April 26, 1819, as an altruistic fraternity with the Motto: “Friendship, Love, Truth”. The wives of the members had their own organization called The Daughters of Rebekah. Local members brought to the Hall the problems and difficulties of Unionville’s widows, orphans, the sick, and the poor. On the top floor of the Hall there were four platforms highlighted with a curtained valence; members would come to a particular platform (representing North, South, East or West) and present the needs of various community members. The Hall was remodeled, enlarged, and rededicated by the Odd Fellows on December 5, 1894. The Lodge Rooms were located on the top floor, the middle floor functioned as a hall or banquet room with a stage, and in the basement a complete kitchen in the basement and mechanical dumb waiters to transport food. At the rededication a speaker gave this insightful valediction: ‘I AM AN ODD FELLOW: I believe in the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man; I believe in Friendship, Love and Truth as basic guides to the ultimate destiny of all mankind. I believe my home, my church or temple, my lodge, and my community deserve my best work, my modest pride, my earnest faith, and my deepest loyalty, as I perform my duty “to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan” and as I work with others to build a better world because in spirit and in truth, I am, and must always be, grateful to my Creator, faithful to my Country, and fraternal to my fellow man; I AM AN ODD FELLOW!’ Over time other community events took place in the Hall including the Lyceum Club (lectures, theater, concerts, and community events, some of the original theatrical sets still survive), the East Lynn Grange (a society of farmers), and family repatriation dinners after the Civil War. In the 20th century the Hall hosted a restaurant serving soft ice cream and hamburgers for 35 cents, an Army Recruiting office, the local post office, and a grocery store. In 1982 the Unionville community put on a play in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Chester County with local residents portraying Native Americans and William Penn; there was much hilarity as nobody remembered their lines; the event harkened back to when communities came together to share.
Unionville Village Building: 5 Cemetery Lane
The property at the corner of Cemetery Lane and Doe Run Rd in Unionville has been home to a wonderous number of families, small businesses, and even a cat colony. In the 1850s, Dr. Charles Seal built the original brick over wooden frame house as a home for his family and office for his practice. In 1947 Joanna R. Bucknell, a Junior at Westtown School researching a history of Unionville showed the property as owned by Mrs. Ruth Ann Seal (widow of Dr. Charles Seal) in 1873, and by R.G. Smith 1n 1883. In the 20th century the property housed a shop, gas station, Jan’s Dry Cleaner and a private family home. By the end of the century the building was in severe decline and cited for demolition by neglect. The current owners purchased the building in 2000 to save it from being torn down or from a nonhistorically accurate facelift. Their first order of business was getting rid of the smell of cat urine. They then stabilized the building, restored the old windows with antique glass, and added a new roof and historically accurate details such as bay windows in the kitchen. They designed a historically accurate door based off that at the Green Lawn Boarding School for Girls. Neighbor Lou Mandich had saved two doors in his barn for twenty years, which he returned in trade for a found wood stove. Over the past twenty-two years, 5 Cemetery Lane has been home to a gift shop, a quilting shop, an ice cream shop, and currently houses a coffee shop. The building serves as a meeting point for community members to share each other’s company and enjoy the architectural details and storied past, both inside and outside in the shade of the beautiful American Elm.
108 Bayard Rd (Gatehouse Drive) ‘Cedarcroft’
This magnificent structure was built c.1860 by Bayard Taylor and is arguably the most famous personal residence in the region. Legendary guests visiting Cedarcroft included Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Horace Greeley. Cedarcroft is the sole example of 19th century brick Italianate architecture in Chester County and described by Bayard Taylor himself as “large and stately, simple in its forms … [and] expressive of strength and ornament.” The first floor features 13-ft ceilings, and Entry Hall with a Grand Staircase, and spacious Living Room, Library, and Dinning Room each with its own fireplace. Taylor died in 1878 and Cedarcroft remained in the family until 1882 when it was sold to Isaac Warner Jr. In 1905, Cedarcroft became part of a private preparatory school for boys, amongst whose students included the future professional baseball player Herb Pennock, later nicknamed ‘The Squire of Kennett Square’. Cedarcroft was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971, one of 2 such Class 1 property designations in East Marlborough Township, the other being Longwood Gardens