On May 17, 2018 the Friends of Radnor 284 was successful in purchasing a 2.2 acre parcel from the township, a portion of the property acquired as part of the open space purchase from the Ardrossan farm.
The story began in 1962 when the troop first moved to the property. Previously the troop met at a cabin located on what is now Odorisio Park. The remains of the cabin can still be seen today in the form of a concrete slab and ruins of a fireplace chimney. When that property was purchased from the Scott Family by the Radnor Township School district the troop was forced to move and was offered use of the one room schoolhouse at the corner of Darby-Paoli and Godfrey Roads. The property was “in the middle of nowhere” at this time as the development of Lawrence Lane, Colony and Briarwood roads had not yet been completed, or even started. The schoolhouse was and is referred to as “The Cabin,” by the troop.
The Schoolhouse, sitting on just under one acre of land, in 1962 was is bad shape when the Scouts began using the property. Improvements such as replacing windows, a new roof and installation of wood burning stove were completed. The upkeep and maintenance of the property was the responsibility of the troop. Limited funds allowed for required maintenance, but deferred maintenance was often the norm. Most of the labor was performed by the scouts and parents.
Over the year’s attempts were made to acquire the land from the Scott family, so as not to be displaced at some time in the future. The rent being $1.00 per year, the incentive to spend on acquisition was not great. As the rumors of the sale of all or portions of the Ardrossan property began to circulate thoughts of acquisition became more front of mind. Discussions with Eddie Scott were cordial, but the answer was always, wait, maybe later, and ultimately, “ask the township.”
In March 2014, The Friends of Radnor 284, a 501c3, was formed with the express purpose of acquiring a portion of the Wheeler Field for use by Radnor Troop 284. The township was contacted, and an interest expressed in purchasing the property. The township was not interested in maintaining any more buildings, so it appeared to be a win-win. FOR284 began the process of raising funds for the purchase.
An initial goal of 1 Million Dollars was set for fundraising with the intent to purchase up to 5 acres of land surrounding the The Cabin. Alumni, Alumni parents, current parents, scouts and community members came forward raising, to date, nearly half the original goal.
Radnor Township used a grant from the Natural Lands Trust to acquire the land, which was “spend a million, receive a million.” This left 2.2 acres available for the FOR284 to purchase from the township, at the same price paid. The land would now have a conservation easement placed on it, so development would never be possible.
Once Radnor Township acquired the property FOR284 entered into an agreement of sale and proceeded with the subdivision process. After, four years of working on the project FOR284 closed on the property in May, 2018. In the future FOR284 will work with the township when the Darby-Paoli Trail is constructed as the trail will come across the land in the right-of-way.
In 2020 we began construction on a renovation of the cabin, adressing deferred maintenance as well as improvements to enhance the property for use by Radnor Troop 284. The imprvoements included:
>> Adding a shed for storage lawnmowers and other equipment
>> Digging out the basement and adding a Bilco door to create an additional fexible meeting space
>> Adding a porch and Quartermasters shed aroud the building
>> Pointing of the stone building
>> Installation of a new bell tower and vintage bell
Alumni of the Troop will recall that the bell was stolen in the late 1960's, and the tower was removed when a new roof was required in the early 1980's.
The scouts now have a permanent home and the ability to spread out a bit more during meetings.
The improved facilties have allowed Troop 284 to continue to meet during the Covid Pandemic. While many Troops are only able to meet virtually, Troop 284 continues a long tradition of being active in the outdoors, and providing a robust high adventure program. The facility allows meetings to occur in a socially distanced manner.
As we continue to raise funds the goal will be to begin to fund an endowment that will provide funds for ongoing upkeep of the property, as well as assistance with Eagle Project funding, and summer camperships.