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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens
March 16, 1998
Website of the Week
Daily Local News
August 13, 1997
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
Fans of the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies
Arnold Bartschi developed the 19 acre Swiss Pines Japanese Gardens and played a key role in the creation of the Nature Center and in the preservation of the Village.
The following is the tribute to Mr. Bartschi that was presented by the Charlestown Historical Society at their September 13, 1997 Patrons Dinner.
Tonight we are pleased to honor the colorful and innovative Arnold Bartschi who, in collaboration with Eleanor Morris and the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, did more to preserve the original core of Charlestown Township than anyone else.
Born in Switzerland in 1903, he came to the United States in the 1920's to work for the Bally Shoe Co., first in the west and then in Philadelphia. By the mid-'30s he was owner of the J. Edwards Shoe Co., manufacturer of children's orthopedic shoes. In 1957 he purchased the 200 acres of the former Llewellyn estate along Charlestown Road, beginning his career of conservation, historic preservation and involvement with Charlestown Township.
During the next 30 years he developed the remarkable 19-acre Swiss Pines Japanese Gardens; set aside the remainder of the tract as a wildlife conservation area, established the 10-acre Nature Center of Charlestown, funding its first year of operation; purchased many of the properties in Charlestown Village including the General Store and the Baughman farm, site of Charlestown's original mill. With the help of the French & Pickering Trust, all of Charlestown Village was placed on the National Register. In 1986 the 55-acre Baughman property was put under permanent conservation easement.
Always sure of his own vision, his opinions frequently differed with those of the township, the Trust and his own Board. Yet without his foresight and generosity in preserving the fabric of the village and the adjacent open space, Charlestown as we know it today would not be in place for the 21st Century. For this legacy, our greatest thanks!
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