The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Historic Williams Deluxe Cabins Changing near Exton, PA

When you drive to and from work every day and it takes a good while to get where you're going, any change in the landscape draws your interest.

For some time I've been driving past an abandoned old-fashioned motel complex and thought little of it. Then one of two houses on the property was repaired and repainted, followed by a second. After that, it appears new sewer line has been buried in front of the cabins and a building in the rear of the complex has been completely torn down and is being built anew in the same style and layout from the concrete slab up.

All of this activity led me to a little research. This motel was built in 1937 and was in operation as the Williams Deluxe Cabins near Exton, Pennsylvania, along Route 30. Over time it was also known as The Tudor Motor Inn (c. 1960), and Ichabod's Plaza or Ichabod's News. The office was attached to a gas station, two cabin-like structures with a connecting breezeway. A postcard I've seen of the site in years gone by showed it as an Esso service station.

In 1988 the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and until recently all the structures were boarded up and appeared to be abandoned, despite its NRHP status. It was listed as:
Historic Significance:Event 
Area of Significance:Transportation
Period of Significance:1925-1949
Owner:Private
Historic Function:Domestic
Historic Sub-function:Hotel, Single Dwelling
Current Function:Commerce/Trade, Domestic
Current Sub-function:Hotel, Single Dwelling, Specialty Store (see: http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/PA/Chester/state7.html )
Now, things are changing. I have yet to find out why. If anyone knows and is willing to share, I'd love to find out. Please let me know. Our daughter has hypothesized it's being renovated to be reopened as a hipster retro motel complex. Would that transform the gas station into a coffee shop? What have you heard?

For more information, see: http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Williams_Deluxe_Cabinshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Williams_Deluxe_Cabins_Chesco_PA.JPG, and https://www.flickr.com/photos/modbetty/sets/72157625305023545/

For a Library of Congress image of just the "deluxe cabins" themselves, see: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.pa3973.photos.202913p/ and for more, see: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/PA3973/ and http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/pa3973.photos.202911p/

If you're really curious, you can join a group talking about the site on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Williams-Deluxe-Cabins/538469026181443

Update: I found another Facebook page for Architectural Concepts PC that stated (in c. 2016) Ichabod's Plaza Originals (7 photos of the buildings and details) with the subtitle "Sneak Peek of a Few Photos Before We Recreate the Magic." This apparently is the architectural firm rebuilding the site. Will Ichabod's Plaza a.k.a. Williams Deluxe Cabins a.k.a. Tudor Motor Inn be returned to service along Route 30, Lincoln Highway, near Exton, PA? Was our daughter correct? See: https://www.facebook.com/pg/architecturalconcepts/photos/?tab=album&album_id=763401560452494

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