If it bleeds, it leads. Any newshound worth his salt knows that, and at Patches throughout the land, the old saw still holds true: week in and week out, the most popular articles on our community web sites are usually the Police Blotter, or stories about recent crimes.
But as it turns out, they are mostly fleeting.
When it comes to looking at the entire year, what a pleasant discovery it was that stories about two of my passions—architecture and small business—lead the pack.
The number one story of 2011 for the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch? This one:
That’s right: Frank Lloyd Wright designed and had a house built in Ardmore. Who knew?
Well, plenty knew, including the residents of his four homes, arranged in a "pinwheel" fashion within one building on Sutton Road at Spring. But most Ardmore residents—most Main Line residents, in fact, and many regional fans of the iconic architect—had no idea that Wright's "Suntop" homes existed right in the middle of a middle-class Ardmore neighborhood.
That is, until June of this year, when Patch broke the news that the house was for sale (with the considerable cooperation of the sellers and their Realtor).
The accompanying photo gallery of the house was among the most viewed pages for the year, too, as well as a video we posted of Ardmore architect Jack Burns taking a tour of the home with Patch and the seller’s rep, Craig Brand.
Other popular stories in our little neck of the woods this year:
Man Killed By Train At Overbrook Station, Eyewitnesses Say (Nov. 8) This was a gruesome tragedy about a man trying to out-run an Amtrak train to reach the opposite passenger platform.
Rumors Swirl About Potential Genuardi's Sale (Nov. 1) This one is still in the official “rumors” stage, but employees at the Wynnewood grocery store repeatedly say, off the record, that Genuardi's national owner, Safeway, is looking to sell its Delaware Valley stores—quite possibly to Giant Food Stores—and quite possibly very early in this new year.
Wynnewood Borders to Close, Leaving Behind 40 Jobs, Vacant Anchor Store (July 19) People in Lower Merion were mostly heartbroken that the last place for new books in the entire township was shuttering. Along with the books, magazines and newspapers, of course, went one of the rare places to browse new music. Adding insult to injury, a peaceful little coffee shop on the second floor was washed away with it. The store’s final day was Sept. 16.
Vacated Borders Wynnewood to Re-Open as Furniture Outlet (Nov. 18) People were not exactly overjoyed to hear that a store called Affordable Home Furnishings would be taking over their Borders, but owner and operator Barney Daley, an affable and enthusiastic guy who is charged-up about his new location, has been in the business for almost 60 years—since he joined his dad at age 13. If anyone can make it work there, it’s Daley.
Ardmore Woman's Charged DUI Killer Commits Suicide (July 26) Another tragedy, except this story involved many victims, beyond even the senseless slaughter of Ardmore’s Syheran Cerdan, 23, at the hands of a drunk driver. Matthew McNamara, 45, of Springfield, Delaware County, was charged with the crime that also severely injured an 11-year-old girl. Less than two weeks later McNamara took his own life by jumping from a 13-foot landing inside Lancaster County Prison.
Driver Walks Away From Close Call in Wynnewood (Oct. 26) We never even got to interview the woman whose car overturned one autumn morning on her way to school. But lots of Good Samaritans were evidently on the scene quickly to pull the driver from the passenger side of her car—if you look at this video, you’ll understand why an exit from the driver’s side was simply not an option. The accident obliterated a PECO utility pole, but the victim was released that day from Lankenau Hospital with no serious injuries.
Man Shot Outside Hykel's In Ardmore (Nov. 15) and Hykel's Owner: Witness Told Police She Knew Identity of Drive-By Shooter (Nov. 17) This investigation is still underway, police in Haverford and Lower Merion townships say, but a break in the case came a couple of weeks ago, reported here: Police Recover Vehicle Used in Hykel's Drive-By in North Philly (Dec. 22).
Judge Denies Last-Ditch Effort to Keep Barnes Collection in Merion (Oct. 6) This was the day that—for what many considered already a fait accompli—hopes to retain the Barnes Foundation's priceless art collection became pretty much cold, hard, reality. If it had not already been partially moved to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway location (slated to open in the Spring), it was certainly on its way after Judge Stanley Ott of Montgomery County Orphans' Court reaffirmed his previous decision that the groups' latest arguments had no merit, and that the Barnes should proceed with its move.
Other stories of note:
It's a Local Democratic Sweep (Nov. 9)
Lower Merion Police
Lower Merion School District lawsuits
Suburban Square's Autumn Makeover (Sept. 19)