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Black Horse Inn

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Source: Springfield Sun
Date: June 31, 2001
Byline: Richard McCuen, Flourtown

Letter: Coverage of Black Horse saga a vital service

I write to express sincere gratitude on behalf of a community which grasped that it needed to be heard in regards to the ultimate disposition of the historic Black Horse Tavern, suffering far too long from purposeful ownership neglect.

By allocating many pages to thoughtful and intelligent letter writers, plus devoting numerous feature news stories relative to the only remaining significant structure from Revolutionary War days, you provided a most vital service.

Momentarily, BHT stands because the Sun stood tall!

But, but ... as right here in late 1777, the battle is at a skirmish stage.

While preservation and restoration is the clear "right" direction, the fact is considerable courage needs to be demonstrated by officials to carry out the will of the people, because the legal table is, without any surprise, tilted toward profit-minded developers. A non-local judge can indeed decide in favor of a non-local property owner, regardless of the prevailing interests of the local community.

Springfield Township zoners have made the correct call: nothing about the development plans, including razing BHT, comported with the overall interests of this tax-paying community.

Which is precisely where matters stand: money, as in tax assessments.

What I find emerges as peculiar thereto is the school board's unpopular drive to spend some $25 million on a difficult-to-justify building expansion plan.

Yet, it'll doubtlessly fly. I ask why not, accordingly, invest the $1.5 million necessary for the township to acquire the Black Horse tract, including funds to effectuate much-needed refurbishing?

That's where it stands; supportive parties now need to speak openly.

From creation of a museum to a public park, [there are] so many obvious worthy uses proposed by caring residents, including those historically attuned. On that score, I am compelled to cite what several authors make crystal clear -- the outnumbered Continental Army's late 1777, six-week encampment right here, with strategic troop placement resulting in turning back Redcoats and Hessian hordes, was in fact a turning point in the fortunes of a fledgling nation.

One wrote, there'd be no Valley Forge without that (Whitemarsh-Fort Washington-Springfield) deployment!

Would not BHT serve as an ideal foundation to expound on such a historically important thesis?

Again, many thanks! You've been a terrific partner to those who believe allowing bulldozers to eliminate BHT would be a mistake of tragic proportions.