Historic Sugartown and Willistown Conservation Trust are teaming up to offer a program that explores the preservation of the 19th-century village of Sugartown and places it in the larger context of historic preservation and land conservation in Chester County. Heather Reiffer, Executive Director of Historic Sugartown will offer a glimpse into the motivations of Historic Sugartown’s co-founders and the decision-making in the restoration of the village corner. Erik Hetzel, Director of Land Protection and Public Grants, will share the history and legacy of Willistown Conservation Trust’s efforts to protect land in Willistown Township, and how these efforts dovetail the preservation goals of Historic Sugartown. Jim Garrison, President of the Chester County Historic Preservation Network, will introduce the program, placing it in context with the goals of the Chester County Planning Commission’s Comprehensive Plan, Landscapes3.
Our connection to place is critical to who we are. Our communities – through historic places and landscapes — provide us with a deep sense of rootedness and identity. So whether we are preserving a historic building or protecting a landscape, we play a critical role in providing a sense of belonging for our community. When gazing at the “sad, crumbling mess” across Sugartown Road, Historic Sugartown co-founder John C. Nagy didn’t see forlorn buildings, but the remnants of the once vibrant heart of Willistown’s community. He and Penelope P. Wilson co-founded Historic Sugartown because they felt deeply that historic places serve as a bridge from the past into modern times.