Benson is the President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, which was founded nearly 20 years ago in part to fulfill a dream shared by the community: preserving the Jones Log Barn.
The historic building dates back to the early 1700s and stood still on a headquarters for the British Army during the Revolutionary War era.
"It's one of the earliest examples of English style log barn construction in the mid-Atlantic region. It was rare because not many survived," said Benson. "So, it was very worthy of saving, but it was on private property and it needed to be removed. So, we were able to take the barn down, document all the pieces with the idea that we would find a suitable site and rebuild."
It may have taken 18 years, but Benson and her fellow board members made their dream come true.
They deconstructed the barn and used its parts to rebuild a living history center next to the historic Duportail House at Chesterbrook. Combined with parts of another local barn owned by the Fritz Family, and constructed on the grounds of a third barn that burned down, the new building is a hybrid of Chester County history.
"We're going to have educational materials. Students will be able to enter and we can teach them some of that programming that's inside of the barn," said Douglas Anestad, Vice President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. "So, that'll be very exciting when that educational program can start in the spring of 2022."
Now that the project is officially completed, board members will spend fall and winter preparing educational opportunities for all ages to enjoy the living history center come the start of the new year. The barn doors are currently only open to donors and benefactors who provided the trust with funds and in-kind contributions to make their dream a reality.
"It is a testament to our local history and historic preservation that hopefully will far outlast myself," said Benson. "It should be a special gift to the township."
To learn more, visit their website.
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