Historic Farm for Sale

Hi! I was lucky enough to grow up on a wonderful farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with a spring, two barns, a big house, and 12 acres to roam. At various times, we had horses, chickens, goats, sheep, and ducks, as well as a steady stream of cats and dogs. For decades we bought live Christmas trees, now standing tall to mark the passage of time. There was a raspberry patch, fruit trees, a swimming pool, hills to roll down, and “secret rooms” in the barn to explore. Best of all, it came with a bona fide true ghost story that included a hedonistic cult and an unsolved murder whose notoriety even reached the New York Times..

My family lived there for decades. My parents operated their rare book business from the barn, in a loft-sized office with insulation, heat, and air conditioning. Books were shelved in the many interior rooms that my brother gradually created within the barn. My brother also transformed a second, smaller, barn into a two story home for him and his wife. When the time came, my brother and I were each married on the property, and later my sister and I brought grandchildren home to visit. In the back of my mind I suppose I assumed that some vague magic would keep it in my family forever.

But, time has a way of passing, doesn’t it? The time has come for the family homeplace to be passed to new owners, who I only hope will appreciate its magic. This property is currently listed for sale by James A. Cochrane, Inc., a real estate agency. All inquiries should be directed an Agent with their firm. This blog is only intended to provide additional information and background that might not fit in a realtor’s ad, as I am in no way involved in the actual sale of the property.

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Update – Farm Sold!

Shenkel farm has been sold to a family with children, which is the best possible outcome. I plan to visit before the closing, to take photos and help move out the last things left behind.

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Historical Links

This Post is a collection of links to articles and information about Theophilus Gates and the Battle Axes, Hannah Shingle, and North Coventry history.

Headless Hannah

Pottstown Mercury ArticleM/b>

Chester County Page

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Photos, Old and New

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A few details about the property:
Important Note:
Sometimes we have an idealized image of living in a “country farmhouse” when actually, we’d rather live in a modern place with a rustic decorating scheme. This property was built in 1853, and was an actual, operating farm in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It was never a “gentleman’s estate” and it should not be confused with a modern “country look” McMansion. As an authentic farm house, it has certain characteristic features that are different from modern construction.

For example, the kitchen was originally a “smoke house” for curing meat and baking. The fireplace in the kitchen is very big, with an old bake oven. At some point, a dining room was built to connect the kitchen to the house. The dining room leads to a screened back porch. This design is not common to modern house plans.

Another difference is the overall layout. The main house has two floors, a dry basement, and attic, and is approximately 2500 square feet. On either side of the front hall are two large rooms; one was upfitted for use as a master bedroom, and the other is the living room. There are also five bedrooms upstairs, and three full baths (two up, one down). Is this correct, or was one of the upstairs baths de-commissioned? Like most nineteenth and early twentieth century homes, this house does not have huge upstairs bedrooms or a bath with every bedroom. What can I tell you? There were five of us, and it wasn’t a problem. However, you need to know this if you have your heart set on every child having his or her own media center and private bath.

There is a fireplace in the living room, and another in the eat-in kitchen. The floors are hardwood, with the exception of the after-added dining room. The back porch is functional but not inspiring, but the bricked front terrace is lovely, with a view of the fields and firelfies, and the wind in the nearby branches.

The property originally had two barns. The larger was a dairy barn, and downstairs it still has the old milking room, horse stalls, a sheep dip room, etc. The upstairs originally consisted of a few large areas for storing hay. Between 1963 and 2005, a number of interior rooms were created, some with insulation, drywall, heating, air conditioning, electric outlets, computer-ready outlets, and windows. It’s ready for use as a studio or, if permitted by local zoning, a home-based business.

The smaller barn is about ___ square feet and was used for storing hay. My brother renovated it as a second house. The downstairs has a modern kitchen with ______ stove (it’s something fancy), living room, laundry room, large bedroom, smaller guest room, and full bath. It’s finished, except for the living area floor. The upstairs is a large ___ sq. foot open space, with another full bath. Finally, there’s an unfinished third-floor storage area.

Below the main house is a springhouse, with a ntural year round spring flowing out of the ground floor, and wild watercress in winter. The lower level also has a trough of cold flowing water, that was used before refrigeration was available to keep food cold. The upper level of the springhouse upper level is a single large room that we used as a guest cottage, with (?) a heater (don’t remember if heater is still there), and windows on three sides.

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