Arguments continue over building near Whitemarsh Twp. Underground Railroad stop

Preservationists want development to honor 'hallowed land.'

Jim Melwert
June 14, 2018 - 1:38 pm
Abolition Hall hosted prominent speakers such as Frederick Douglass and Lucretia Mott.

Jim Melwert | KYW Newsradio

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WHITEMARSH TWP., Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The battle over a Whitemarsh Township property that includes a stop on the Underground Railroad continues Thursday night. Preservationists will argue why a developer should not be allowed to build townhomes on a part of the property.

This is the fourth public conditional-use hearing for the land on the corner of Germantown and Butler pikes. The developer, K. Hovnanian has presented its case to the board of supervisors, saying its proposal to build 67 townhomes on the 10-acre property would leave enough open space around the historic buildings on the property, including Abolition Hall.

Sydelle Zove of the group Friends of Abolition Hall disagrees. They say they’re not against development of the property. However, she said, "This is hallowed land, and we believe the proposal before the Whitemarsh Township [Board of Supervisors] does not effectively and adequately respect the extrodinary legacy."

The property was a stop on the Underground Railroad, sheltering slaves making their escape from southern plantations. Then, Abolition Hall hosted prominent speakers such as Frederick Douglass and Lucretia Mott.

The meeting is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Whitemarsh Township building in Lafayette Hill.