how it all began

Linda Kaat lived next door to an unoccupied four story apartment building which had become dangerous and was a serious eyesore. Linda contacted the condemned property owner, John Kirwin in 2002 to discuss a possibility of making the village eyesore into a community park.  After a year of discussion, John was willing to turn over the deed to the property for $1.00 for that purpose. Curt Cheyney, Esquire and a descendant of Squire Thomas Cheyney, was willing to handle the dollar for deed transfer transaction.

In talking to Tom McGuire, a neighbor, local history professor and historian, it was learned that the lower portion of the building was originally a lively Revolutionary War tavern at the time Washington's troops were involved in the nearby Battle of the Brandywine.  The tavern at that time was known as The Centre House or Martin’s Tavern.  It was active as a tavern for many years, and was later used as a country store, post office, and later expanded to become an apartment house.

Over the following months, Linda contacted neighboring history loving friends and families, the Lyngs, the Evans, David Davis and West Bradford Township for support. The group started meeting. David Davis, who had experience setting up non-profit corporations, and Curt Cheyney completed the 501c3 nonprofit application in 2003. The application for The Friends of Martin’s Tavern (FOMT) was approved and initial funding for the group was provided by the Humphry Marshall Trust.


Linda met an old friend, John Milner, renowned architect, in the French wine department of the PA State Store and shared the good news story with him and asked if he would be willing to look  over the plans. He happily agreed because it was in his neighborhood. He and his colleague Ed Wheeler came and outlined the original footprint. FOMT worked hard to obtain grants from various organizations to support the dismantlement and restoration of the remains of the original tavern structure. Penn State Master Gardeners volunteered to plan and install the landscaping to reflect an 18th century garden and a set of informational signs were prepared and installed to provide historical information for people touring the site
 
The official dedication of the Martin’s Tavern was held in September 2006 as the stars aligned.
FOMT today

Over the years, the Martin's Tavern site has served as a focal point for many village activities, and the organization has also become caretakers of the Marshallton Blacksmith Shop, a nearby historic building which was built in 1750 and remains essentially unchanged from its original condition.
 
Other than the original purpose of identifying and maintaining our local historical treasures, FOMT is dedicated to the enhancement of the village life of Marshallton, and our financial goal is to provide and maintain an endowment sufficient to assure long term preservation and maintenance of these local historical treasures.
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