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The White Clay Creek Preserve has a number of historical buildings on the property. To learn more about them or contribute information about them contact John Starzman. Email email@example.com
The Evans House has a complex construction history that is poorly documented and therefore difficult to date precisely. It is possible that the earliest part was a log house built around 1715 by John Evans Sr. while the mill was being built, but there are only faint hints of this log structure remaining today. The southernmost brick section is thought to date from the mid-1720s when John Evans Jr moved here from Newark with his new bride, Jane Howell, to manage the mill. The middle stone section was probably built after his death in 1738, possibly by his son John Evans Esq. The northernmost stone section may have been added in the early nineteenth century, and there was also another addition behind it added at an unknown date. Later, several generations of the Yeatman family occupied this house starting around 1830. The house was inhabited up until the mid-1990s when it was abandoned and allowed to deteriorate, finally falling victim to arson in 2017. Due to the historical importance of the building, The Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve are preparing plans to stabilize the ruins and preserve them for posterity.
This Old House: It’s Having A 300th Birthday, But There Won’t Be A Celebration
The Story of the Birth, Long Life & Awful Death of the John Evans House
Event sheds light on goal to preserve historic structure
300-year-old Chester County house saved from demolition
Saving “The Nucleus” of our Local History
London Tract Meeting House
A Welsh Baptist house of worship reflecting the Cottage Plan, a Puritan / nonconformist architectural type common in colonial America. The one-story, three-bay stone building has a one-story, two-bay rear bathroom wing. End-gabled roof clad with wood shingles, semi-coursed rubble stone walls. Gabled hood over entrance on east end under pent eave. In 1725, John Evans donated the land and building for the meeting house to a new congregation that split from the Welsh Tract Church in Iron Hill, Newark.
A tour of the London Tract Meeting House
Large open space north of the meeting house, enclosed by a rubble stone wall. Many of the earliest settlers in the area are buried here. Markers vary from small limestone tombstones of the eighteenth century to the larger tombstones with arched heads and/or scrollwork from the nineteenth century. The earliest gravestone dates from 1729. It is also home to the legendary “Ticking Tomb”. The story goes that in 1763 Mason & Dixon were camped nearby where Mason was working on developing an accurate timepiece. A small boy wandered into their campsite and swallowed the watch. The boy grew up to become an itinerant clock repairman and when he passed, was buried in this cemetery. If you put your ear to his tomb you can still hear Mason’s watch ticking.
Set of stone steps in an island of the intersection, constructed to facilitate the disembarking of women from carriages
Penn Plan house constructed south of the London Tract Meeting House in 1829/30. The two-story, two-bay brick building has an end-gabled roof clad with wood shingles, a small brick chimney on the east end of the ridge, and stuccoed walls under the porches. The sexton was the keeper of the meeting house and also the gravedigger for the cemetery.
Evans / Yeatman’s Mill
Yeatman’s Mill was located south of the mill owner’s house, on the southeast side of Sharpless Road. Today, the site is subterranean. The mill was located here as the natural bend in the creek between the Middle Branch and the section downstream from its confluence with the East Branch provides for easier construction of the mill race that powered the mill. It was in operation until the 1950s.
A head race brought water from just upstream of the Middle Branch – East Branch confluence of the White Clay Creek to fill a mill pond on the opposite side of Sharpless Road from the Evans House and original mill site. The tail race fed water to the mill machinery and a spillway regulated overflow from the pond. The spillway and tail race (pictured) are still visible from Sharpless Rd.
Two Indian sites are located in the historic district. The “Minnie” Site is an American Indian site located on the north side of the intersection of London Tract Road and Glen Road. Where the village was is now primarily an open field with subterranean resources. The Opasiskunk Siteis an American Indian site located north of the meeting house between the Middle Branch of the White Clay Creek and the mill race. It is overgrown with vegetation today and not easily identifiable. William Penn bargained with the Indians for “use” of the land that includes the London Tract Historic District. The pictured memorial stands in front of the London Tract Meeting House and a large collection of Indian artifacts found in the area can be viewed inside.
Yeatman’s Mill Rd. Covered Bridge Abutments
The bridge abutments for the former Yeatman’s Mill Road bridge over the East Branch of the White Clay Creek. The original covered bridge was built in the early 1800s and rebuilt in 1874. It was destroyed by arson in 1960.
Yeatman’s Mill Rd. Creek Bridge
Also known as the Charles Bailey Trail Bridge, it provided a crossing over a small tributary creek to the East Branch of the White Clay Creek. Compromised by erosion in beginning 2018, it was partially demolished in 2019 to ensure a complete collapse would not damn the creek and subsequently wash out the entire bridge. DCNR is working with the Friends of WCCP to build a temporary bridge and the possibility of restoring the original bridge is being discussed.
Mary Sharpless House Ruin
The stone house ruin is located northeast of the Meeting House. It is accessed from a trail, which has been closed, leading west from the bridge on Sharpless Road. The ruin consists of two-story stone walls with all windows and doors missing. The house was constructed in two campaigns, with what appears to be the older section to the west.
David Eaton House Farmstead
Farmstead on the west side of London Tract Road, northwest of the meeting house. Sometimes called the “Frye” property. The farmhouse (Park Manager’s Residence, c. 1815) is a two-part Federal Style house, facing south. Main section is a two-story, four-bay element with end-gabled roof clad with wood shingles and has large stone end chimneys. Exposed rubble stone walls have 6×6 and 6×9 windows. Large hipped portico on main elevation shades two doors. Rear section is a two-story, two-bay stone element. Originally constructed with a shed profile, it was raised to a gabled profile in the twentieth century. Stuccoed chimney in the northwest corner. There are an original springhouse and former limestone quarry on the property.
Pomeroy-Newark Railroad Bridge Abutments
The Pomeroy-Newark Railroad crossed the White Clay Creek at four different locations between London Tract Rd. and the PA-DE state line. The original railbed underlies a large portion of the trail between London Tract Rd. and the bridge furthest upstream, where a fiberglass-and-wood walking bridge was installed around 2014. Two other sets of bridge abutments can be found between there and the confluence of the Middle and East Branches of the White Clay. The park trail downstream from the Yeatmans Rd. Bridge also follows the railbed down to a set of bridge abutments and columns just upstream from the PA-DE state line.
Arc Corner Marker
Marks the corner of Pennsylvania where the PA-DE arc meeting the Mason-Dixon Line and was placed in 1892 as part of an effort to resurvey and monument the Pennsylvania-Delaware boundary. The engraving in the top of the marker shows the exact location and orientation of where the arc border meets the Mason-Dixon Line. It is located just south of Chambers Rock Rd and is most easily accessed from the White Clay Creek State Park (DE) Nature Center off Hopkins Rd. in Delaware. Follow the Tri-State Marker trail and turn left on the Arc Corner Rd. extension trail.
Marks the intersection of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. This stone marker was placed in 1849 resulting from a resurvey done to replace the missing original marker from the 1763-67 Mason-Dixon survey. Follow the Tri-State Marker Trail from the White Clay Creek State Park (DE) Nature Center off Hopkins Rd. in Delaware for the easiest access.
PA-DE State Line Arc Markers
The pictured sign marks the accepted location of the Pennsylvania/Delaware border prior to 1921. The current border is 4-tenths of a mile to the right along the Boundary Line Trail. The original boundary line between Chester County and New Castle County, defined in a 1701 survey, was an arc of 12 miles radius with the center in the city of New Castle. Most of the boundary markers were temporary in nature and had disappeared by the late 1800s. As a result, significant questions arose as to the actual location of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania. In 1889, Delaware and Pennsylvania authorized commissioners to define and mark the boundary, and the boundary was resurveyed in 1892-3. A decision was made to use separate arcs (different radii and center points) to define the western and eastern portions of the arc boundary because of the lack of any markers on the western section, and errors in the original 1701 survey. The western arc that was chosen intersected with an extension of the Mason-Dixon line at the present arc corner approximately 2000 feet east of the previously accepted location, and intersected with the eastern arc just west of Centerville. The commissioners awarded the resulting horn-shaped section of land to Pennsylvania and the “Wedge” to Delaware. Delaware did not ratify the survey until March 1921 because many of the residents of the “Horn” did not want to become part of Pennsylvania. The present boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania has truncated Pyramidal stone markers installed at every half-mile along the arc line starting at the arc corner. One of those ½-mile pylon markers for the resurvey can be found by taking a side-trail off the Boundary Line trail just before the state line. This is one of the few remaining of these original pylons.
Because of border disputes between Pennsylvania and Maryland, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon conducted a survey in 1763-1767 which fixed the north-south border between them. This Mason-Dixon Trail is the namesake for the trail they followed while surveying the Mason-Dixon Line – a section of which runs through White Clay Creek Preserve.
London Track Meeting House
University of Delaware students in a Historic Preservation Methods course engaged in a semester-long study of the London Tract Meeting House Site during the Spring 1997 semester. Overall the project had three major elements. The first was to compose architectural descriptions of the three significant buildings on the site: the Sexton’s house. the meeting house, and the barn. The second was to fully document the property, and the third was to develop a historic context based on major historic trends that influenced the development of the London Tract Meeting house site.
In the resulting document, you will find the materials produced by the students through fieldwork and group study. The final presentation and drawings are located in the first section. The historic context research was divided into four themes: settlement. church history, agriculture, and the Evans family. Each section includes supplemental materials that were discovered in the research that might be useful in interpreting the site. They also included sections on maps, barn reconstruction, historic photographs, population, and news clippings.
Geology guide to the Preserve’s scenic valley and the Arc CornerHow to Use This Guide
Three geologic sites of interest within and near White Clay Creek Preserve are shown on the large map in the center of the guide. You can drive to Sites B and C, and hike to Site A. The sites are described in the section “Looking at the Rocks.”
Look for the geologist hammer in the guide and at each site to match descriptions and locations.
The first section (“Ancient Seas and Crushed Rocks”) describes how the rocks in White Clay Creek Preserve were formed. Read “Carving a Valley” to find out how the creek valley was carved out of the rocks and shaped to its present form. See “Early Days in the White Clay Creek Valley” and “The Wedge” to read about the history of the White Clay Creek area. The origin of the Preserve is discussed in the last section of the guide.