Hurricane Ida Update

That was an incredible storm.  It’s left parts of Philadelphia and its region in shambles and flooded.  Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have confirmed 43 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.  Luckily, my family and friends have all check-in as safe.

PLEASE be careful this holiday weekend.  It may look sunny but there are concerns.  Rivers and streams are still subsiding and some roads are closed.  The Norristown train station has fallen into a sinkhole and some parts are still without power.

https://www.inquirer.com/philly-tips/ida-philadelphia-road-closures-flooding-20210902.html 

Make sure that if you are venturing out this weekend that you check if it is safe to go.  Check the venues, locations, restaurants or performances are still open and operating.  Also make sure that roads and transportation are still functioning.  Take the time to look into what’s going on in the area you want to go to.  Be safe!

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Amtrak Connects US

I have always admired European train travel.  I have jumped trains in Italy and taken the train between London and Paris with my kids.  We all sat on the train speeding through the Chunnel while reading and viewing the countryside.  When we went to Italy for Christmas in 2015, we had lunch in Florence after viewing David and then dinner in Venice.  It was amazing, convenient and relatively inexpensive.  The only train rides I have taken in the US are between NYC and Philadelphia.  I have often looked for trips via Amtrak when I catch a deal and they are usually either too long, not a deal, or inconvenient due to where I need to catch the train.

I caught a new piece about Amtrak’s expansion.  According to amtrakconnectsus.com, their plan will

  • Connect up to 160 communities throughout the United States by building new or improved rail corridors in over 25 states.
  • Introduce new stations in over half of U.S. states, increase rail service to 47 out of the top 50 metropolitan areas.
  • Generate $30 billion in direct investments in our communities and reduce carbon emissions by nearly 50% when compared to automobile travel.
  • Create an estimated 550,000 skilled labor jobs in communities served through the construction, operation, maintenance and associated economic activity generated by Amtrak.

Amtrak Connects US

I am excited about the plan since it connects my immediate area to NYC.  Right now, I either have to park at a local train station, ride to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and jump into an Amtrak or the NJ transit or I drive to Princeton and jump the NJ Transit into NYC.  We usually opt for the hour drive to Princeton.  Bestie Bob and I drove the 1 mile to the Malvern Train Station and then to NYC via the 30th Street Station.  We had several pauses on the tract into Philly because of wet leaves on the track.  We left 4 hours early for our Blue Man Group tickets and were just on time because we jumped the Amtrak to go faster at triple the cost.

WMFZ Map: Reading to NYC

The Reading NYC route would travel roundtrip three times a day with a travel time of 3 hours one way.  The trip would connect Reading to the 30th Street Station in Philly and then head to NYC from there.  “A train ride from Reading to Philadelphia would take 1 hour and 37 minutes, with proposed stops in Pottstown, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, and Norristown.”  The route would connect dozen universities and more than 50 Fortune 500 companies.  Amtrak speculates that this route will help alleviate congestion on I-95 between Philly and NYC due to the 250,000 commuters a day from Philly to NYC.

 

To find articles related to the Amtrak expansion in your area, I have included a link below:

https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/media/

To access the Amtrak map for potential routes and stations, here is the link:

https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/maps/

 

References

amtrakconnectsus.com

https://www.wfmz.com/news/area/berks/amtrak-reveals-vision-for-service-between-reading-nyc/article_daed382e-01be-11ec-bd56-df36bf9bc6f6.html

https://vista.today/2021/09/amtrak-reading-to-new-york-line/

Valley Forge’s Cave of Bone

I am a transplant from the Midwest and am Cleveland born and bred.  One of my favorite pastimes there was the exploration of historical sites and personal narratives.  I have lived in the Philadelphia area for 11 years and still marvel at how lucky I am to live here.  It’s such a unique area with its history, food, and people.  One of my favorite aspects of living in this area is learning about the historical sites that abound.  I have often said that it is difficult to throw a stone with hitting something of historical value (or a pizza shop).

After researching the Kennedy-Supplee mansion, I began to do a look through the kophistory.org website and found more interesting locations to explore. One of the locations is called the Port Kennedy Bone Cave. It’s a limestone cave in the Port Kennedy section of Valley Forge Park and contains prehistoric fossils. The fossil deposit is from the Irvingtonian period and was caused when plants, insects, and animals fell into a sinkhole.  It’s considered to be one of the most significant Pleistocene Epoch fossil deposits in North America.  The site was found in the 1870s during routine limestone mining.  After the initial expedition the site was covered.  Another expedition began in 1893 after subsequent mining at a lower level exposed more of the site.

The expeditions by Mercer, Wheatley and Cope and Mercer and Dixon identified 1200 fossils including a “giant ground sloth, mastodon, tapir, peccary, skunk, short-faced bear, saber-toothed cat, and many other taxa” (NPS History).   The original studies found “Most of the seeds represent hickory, beech, pine, and creeper. Most of the leaves belong to willow. Sphagnum moss was also found. Hickory also made up most of the identifiable wood, and oak was also present. A dozen species of beetles were found, but no other invertebrates were reported, or any fish. Amphibians and reptiles are represented by frogs, turtles, and snakes. The only bird appears to be a turkey. Many kinds of mammals were found, including: ground sloths, shrews, rodents, rabbits, pikas, bats, mustelids (including badgers, martens, otters, and wolverines), skunks, several varieties of felines (including bobcats, American cheetahs, and saber-toothed cats), dogs, foxes, short-faced bears, black bears, mastodons, horses, tapirs, deer, and peccaries.” (NPS.gov)

Mining of the cave stopped in 1896 due to groundwater which flooded the area and made it impossible to mine.  The location of the cave became obscured when the Ehret Magnesium Manufacturing Company filled the cavity with manufacturing waste containing asbestos. Over time the site became covered by vegetation. The site went untouched and missing until Valley Forge Park commissioned a group to find the cave.  A study based on field notes from the original expedition was done in 2005.  Edward B. Daeschler,  assistant curator in the Department of Vertebrate Zoology from the Academy of Natural Sciences,  Matthew C. Lamanna, assistant curator in the Section of Vertebrate Paleontology from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Margaret A. Carfioli, biological science technician from the Valley Forge National Historical Park found the missing site in a quarry.  The site is still originally preserved with the asbestos material still covering it.

The area is still providing more clues to its prehistoric past.  I recall reading an article in 2019 about a dinosaur fossil found in the park which is being kept secret so as to preserve the fossil from theft or alteration. The fossil was found on a trail by a volunteer who has a background in paleontology and geology.  The rock is 210 million years old argillite and the fossils are from the Triassic period.  The fossil appears to be three-toed impression of a dinosaur and an impression of a modern crocodile.  The fossil impressions are not considered rare or unique but are still protected through its undisclosed location.

 

References

https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/pleistocene-life-and-landscapes-valley-forge.htm

https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/nature/fossils.htm

NPS History: http://npshistory.com/publications/vafo/ps-v23n2-31.pdf

Pleistocene Preserved: The Lost Bone Cave of Port Kennedy

https://tehistory.org/hqda/html/v43/v43n1p010.html

Dinosaur tracks make fresh impression at Valley Forge park

https://woostergeologists.scotblogs.wooster.edu/2013/03/20/wooster-geologist-at-valley-forge-pennsylvania/

Valley Forge’s Civil War Past

It seems like there is so much to learn about the Philadelphia area. My muse, in the form of my SO, has been here all his life. He grew up in Philadelphia and then moved to King of Prussia at the tender age of 18 before the huge developments took over in the form of King of Prussia Mall and all that surrounds it. I constantly tease him about his North Philadelphia origins.  I tell him that he actually grew up in Bucks County since his family was able to cross the street and change locations. To say he his a hard core Philly guy is an understatement.  One of my favorite people, Susan, grew up not far from him and they went to high school a few blocks from each other. Philadelphia is indeed a small world.  I love listening to them reminisce about life in Philly.

Allen and I were driving through Valley Forge Park recently. There is a huge building right on 422 near the park’s visitor center which has sat abandoned for quite some time. It was once a restaurant called Kennedy-Supplee and he wondered if something would come of it.  It is quite an imposing building with architectural flair.   The mansion sits silently staring at the traffic on the 422 corridor and Allen wondered about its future and past.  After dinner, we were reclining on the sofa looking for a documentary to watch, Allen began to search for information on the old restaurant. He found a website called kophistory.org.  It’s a local organization that seeks to preserve all of the history of the area.  Of course, theis peaked my interest.

I started looking through the website and found some interesting information about the history of the Valley Forge area.  It is well known as the Continental Army’s winter home under the supervision of General George Washington.  Valley Forge Park highlights that history through the preservation of locations and information.  There is so much more to the area than being the winter home of the continental army.  Port Kennedy was an important Civil War era site.

Port Kennedy Village flourished due to limestone production,  The Kennedy family established the village as one of the leading manufacturers of limestone in the US due to its proximity to the Schuylkill River, the canal, and Reading Railroad station.  The village grew to include a three-story hotel, a blast furnace, a stone house, workshops, a Reading Railroad Station, wharfs, a Presbyterian Church with a cemetery and several homes.  The village was named after John Kennedy who owned 14 kilns and several quarries in the area.  The village eventually declined by World War I and 600 people were displaced and 160 structured demolished when Valley Forge Park expanded.  The park grew to 1500 acres when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania declared the park should encompass the area that George Washington occupied including his army’s outposts.  The mansion, railroad station, church/cemetery, and one house are all that remains of Port Kennedy.

Kennedy built his Victorian Italianate home  “Kenhurst” in 1852, which he used to promote the use of lime based plaster. The property included a barn which was not only used for agriculture but for monthly livestock auctions.  Kennedy was involved in agriculture and livestock through the Montgomery County Agricultural Society and the Montgomery County Grange.   He was a community leader through his involvement with Port Kennedy Bridge Company, which developed a bridge connection between Port Kennedy and the Betzwood area, the Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank in Phoenixville, and the Upper Merion Township School District.  Kennedy died of a heart attack in 1877 and the property was willed to his son.  Kennedy’s widow, Margaret, continued to live there until her death in 1886.

Kennedy-Supplee Mansion (NPS picture)

The mansion has gone through several changes and owners.  It’s future is yet decided.  This is not a location that offers tours or entry, so, be aware of potential trespassing.  Hopefully, I will be able to update this blog with news on this grand mansion’s revival.

1852-1860:  John Kennedy built Kenhurst

1911 to 1936:  J. Henderson Supplee (died as the last Civil War veteran in Montgomery County).

1919:  Port Kennedy was acquired by the NPS through eminent domain in order to expand Valley Forge Park when the VF Park Commission received a 250,000 grant to condemn the village.

Port Kennedy Inn

1950’s:  An apartment building

1960s:  The construction of the 422 corridor divided the property

1976:  Valley Forge State Park became Valley Forge National Historic Park

1978: The National Park Service acquired the property through eminent domain.  The mansion was  used as housing for park employees.

1983 (June 21):  The Kennedy-Supplee Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1986: Kennedy Supplee Associates LP signed a 55-year lease with the NPS and began restoration.

1983-2004: The national historic landmark opened as a 130 seat restaurant called the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion Restaurant.

2004:  The VF Park Commission drafted a ‘request for proposal’ to lease the national historic landmark

2005:  The Kennedy-Supplee Associates entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy

2006:  The VF Park Commission held an open house inspection for prospective bidders

2006:  The Kennedy-Supplee Associates auctioned off all assets

2007:  The VF Park Commission selected Piazza Management and Thomas Drauschak’s lease proposal as a restaurant, professional offices, special events, and conferences and catering.  The company operates the Westover Country Club in West Norriton.

2022:  Projected completion of the Kennedy-Supplee project

 

 

References

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1965062/memorial-search?firstname=&middlename=&lastname=kennedy&cemeteryName=First+Presbyterian+of+Port+Kennedy+Churchyard&birthyear=&birthyearfilter=&deathyear=&deathyearfilter=&memorialid=&mcid=&linkedToName=&datefilter=&orderby=r&plot=

https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/valley-forge

https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/DownloadFile/454275

John Kennedy

Port Kennedy’s Demise

https://www.pottsmerc.com/news/kennedy-supplee-mansion-may-reopen/article_ce161609-666f-5358-b351-c729d91e5c72.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Mansion_(Valley_Forge)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Kennedy,_Pennsylvania

 

Philadelphia Asian Grocers

I mentioned I would look into Asian Grocers in Philadelphia.  There is a long list below for you to peruse at your leisure.  One market that I thoroughly enjoy is Maido on Lancaster near Suburban Square.  It is a small cramp market with a wealth of ingredients and an attached restaurant.  I have not yet eaten there but it looks and smells wonderful.  I can spend quite a bit of time there since there are fresh and prepackaged ingredients that I have never seen before.

I found Aokappa-Kyuizuke, Shibazuke and Fukujinzuke.  Aokappa-Kyuizuke is a pickled cucumber.   Shibazuke is a pickled cucumber fermented in eggplant, shiso and ginger.  Fukujinzuke is relish made from finely chopped eggplant, lotus root, and cucumber that is pickled in soy and mirin.  It is used a condiment for Japanese curry.  On my next trip I am going to try the Shibazuke.

If you are in the area, stop by and check out Maido!  A Marketplace of Japan.  they are located at 5 E Lancaster Ave, Ardmore, PA 19003 near Suburban Square.  Look them up at maidoardmore.com.

Maido! at www.maidoardmore.com

 

Hung Vuong Supermarket
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 336-2803
First Oriental Market Inc
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 271-2528
Heng Fa Food Market
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 928-8989
No1 Asian Supermarket
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8:30AM Thu
Asianfresh Food Market
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 876-6578
Sen Hong Oriental Market Inc
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Thu · (215) 324-4727
Chung May Food Market
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Thu · (215) 625-8883
Chai Hong Market
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Thu
1st Ne International Market
Philadelphia, PA
Closes soon ⋅ 10PM · (215) 333-2628
Hung Vuong Food market
Philadelphia, PA · In Mayfair Shopping Center
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 904-7599
H Mart Upper Darby
Upper Darby, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8:30AM Thu · (610) 734-1001
Sae Han Asian Food Market
Blue Bell, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9:30AM Thu · (610) 272-9554
Oregon Market
Philadelphia, PA · In Baby Saigon
Closed ⋅ Opens 8:30AM Thu · (215) 336-5858
Farmer’s Best
Philadelphia, PA · In Rising Sun Plaza Shopping Center
New Spring Garden Supermarket
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 8:30AM Thu · (215) 928-1288
Chan Kwan Tat
Philadelphia, PA
Open ⋅ Closes 11PM · (215) 228-0278
H Mart Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Thu · (267) 338-1700
H Mart Elkins Park
Elkins Park, PA · In More Shopping Center LP
Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Thu · (215) 782-1801
Assi Plaza
North Wales, PA
Closed ⋅ Opens 9AM Thu · (215) 631-9400

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