Finding History Hidden In Plain Sight

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Built in 1716 by Robert Evans. That the original house had two chimneys is based on the drawing below.
By 1927 the house had two additions, two rooflines, a porch, and a dormer.
This rendering is from Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd, published in 1884. The text along the side states "Meadow Side." On the left are the two Sycamore trees on either side of the door. Across the bottom is the little stream. The small bridge over the stream has a fence on either side (near the word "Meadow".) Behind the house the land rises upwards. 115 years later a street named Penn Oak Road will be built at the top of the rise.

This view shows the addition built onto the right. The chimney in the middle of the house would have been at the end of the original house. By 1927 this middle chimney was gone. The House Beautiful article states there are four closed up fire places inside.
If you "erase" the tree branches, the peaked roof on the left becomes apparent. This part may have been removed in 1926.
The location of the words "Meadow Side" seems a bit of a mystery because it doesn't look like a meadow here. Robert Evans was one of the first Quaker ministers in Gwynedd, and Meetings were held here before the Meetinghouse was built. Howard Jenkins states in his book, " is reasonable to presume that they crowded as best they could inside Robert's dwelling, but as the warmer days of spring came on, it may be believed they found seats without, upon the meadow bank that descends from the house to the rivulet below..."

In this sense, the meadow is a grassy area in front to the house that was still there in 1884 when Jenkins wrote the book.

Chapter 5. A Huge Disappointment.

Sometime later we went back to the "overlay" map, but in Satellite mode. We wanted to zoom in and see what modern landmarks are where Silas White lived. This is what we saw:


WHAT??!! It's a CONSTRUCTION SITE!! It's the place we walk past where they are building those huge houses on Penn Oak Drive. Who in their right mind would knock down one of the most historic homes in Gwynedd and replace it with a modern building?

Augh, we were sick about it. I said to Andrea, "Let's go down there and find a rock or a pane of glass or a bottle or something we can keep as a souvenir."


Alas, when we got down to the site they were filling it in with dirt. The "steep slope" leading from the rude bridge had to be topped off to make room for the mansion. Any hope of rescuing even a small piece of the house was dashed. The debris had been carted away, then the location had been filled with tons of soil. The government couldn't have covered the site of a UFO crash any better than this.

So that was the end of it. The Robert Evans house was gone for good. Completely obliterated. "Missed it by that much." Man, dear. If only we had looked for it the year before, but we hadn't yet met the year before so we had never been down here.

The fill they used isn't even the right color. The soil in this area is full of shale and is reddish. The soil they are adding is brown.

A few weeks later, Andrea surveys the scene of the crime.
Over the next few months this spot was excavated and filled in TWICE! This picture was taken in 2011.
September 2013. The new house is under construction. This picture was taken from Penn Oak Road.
An empty lot on this street costs 1.5 million dollars. In the last four years five new houses have been built here.

The well kept lawn in the foreground belongs to the house next door. On the next page you will see the irony in
choosing this particular spot to take the picture. One small window, that probably doesn't even open, will change everything.