“Enough of the history lesson” — Terrence McKenna, KEATING (Jan. 18, 2008)

October 3, 2008

As blurted during the Sugar House Consulting Party Meeting on Jan. 18, 2008, to Torben Jenk who was sharing historical evidence for British Army Fort No. 1 (1777) as printed in John Fanning Watson’s ‘Annals of Philadelphia’ (1830):

“The British redoubts remained til lately — one on the Delaware bank in a line with the stone-bridge street — then no houses were near it; now it is all built up, and streets are run where none were seen.”

“… And while Leigh Whitaker ‘acknowledges’ the historical importance of the site, she stated flatly that it is not the duty of SugarHouse to preserve history.” — Angelina Sciolla, (March 2008)

October 3, 2008

As reported by Angelina Sciolla in ‘Squabbling over slots‘ LifeStyle Magazine, March 2008.

Besides being a spokesperson for SugarHouse HSP Gaming, Leigh Whitaker is a lawyer.

“Please understand that some of us involved in this consultation do not have a professional background in the field of history or archaeology.” — James Boyer, US Army Corps of Engineers (Jan. 22, 2008)

October 3, 2008

For eighteen months, the Regulatory Branch, Philadelphia District, Corps of Engineers never thought it important to assign someone with “a professional background in the field of history or archaeology” despite the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, which states:

“Professional standards. Section 112(a)(1)(A) of the act requires each Federal agency responsible for the protection of historic resources, including archaeological resources, to ensure that all actions taken by employees or contractors of the agency shall meet professional standards under regulations developed by the Secretary.” [36 CFR § 800.2.(a)(1)]

James Boyer is a biologist.

“… Marsh Street (Present-Day Ellen Street)…” — Judson Kratzer & Paul Schopp, MARBLE (Feb. 2008)

October 1, 2008

 Judson Kratzer, Principal Investigator, and Paul Schopp, Historian, wrote: 

“The Nineteenth Century at the Subject Property. The Delaware Riverfront and East and West side of Penn Street between Marsh Street (Present-Day Ellen Street) and Shackamaxon Street.” 

WRONG. Marsh Street became Poplar Street, not Ellen Street. Marsh/Poplar Street is 450 feet south of Ellen Street.

Kratzer and Schopp are off by 450 feet. Yet another example of their poor research and mapping skills.

“I urge the Army Corps to take a step back, to sit with the Consulting Parties in conversation and to discuss the outstanding concerns that have been so often raised and documented, and yet so clearly ignored.” — Maya van Rossum, RIVERKEEPER (2008/09/03)

October 1, 2008

Excerpt from letter to Frank Cianfrani, Chief, Regulatory Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District:

It is critical that Section 106, NEPA and all Clean Water Act decisionmaking undertaken by, and overseen by, the Army Corps be above reproach in all instances.  The Sugarhouse Casino development proposal is highly controversial and as a result even greater vigilance should be applied.  

I urge the Army Corps to take a step back, to sit with the Consulting Parties in conversation and to discuss the outstanding concerns that have been so often raised and documented, and yet so clearly ignored.  

From communications that have been circulated, other Consulting Parties clearly agree on the need for a meeting and discussion, including John Gallery of the Preservation Alliance who wrote: “the information is complex and the differing views are often difficult to understand and evaluate… It is difficult for us to evaluate the different points of view from these multiple emails….Given the lack of agreement, the Preservation Alliance would prefer that a meeting of all parties be held and that work on the site be halted until such a meeting and discussion can be occur.”   

As things stand, the Section 106 process and outcome is sorely in question and the Army Corps in our view cannot be said to have fulfilled its obligations including the one to “… ensure that a determination, finding, or agreement under the procedures in this subpart is supported by sufficient documentation to enable any reviewing parties to understand its basis” [36 CFR § 800.11].”

I respectfully request your consideration of these concerns and the need for an onsite meeting and discussion which is being requested by so many.  I urge you to halt all action on the Sugarhouse development project until this meeting and a final and informed decisionmaking process and outcome can be achieved.

“… the anti-gaming agenda of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association and Mr. Torben Jenk,…” — Terrence McKenna, KEATING (2008/05/06)

October 1, 2008

McKenna’s attempt to cast the research delivered by myself (with Ken Milano and Rich Remer) into the “anti-gaming agenda” is ludicrous. The historic documentary evidence delivered to date should be enough but for those who are curious, I have been preserving and restoring historic structures in the Philadelphia area for twenty-five years. Significant projects include the conservation of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge (Paul Phillipe Cret, Architect), restoring the Kay-Evans House and outbuildings at Croft Farm, NJ (built 1753), and renovating scores of eighteenth and nineteenth century row homes. I was one of the craftsmen who restored 110-12 Linden Street, Camden NJ, which won “First Prize Exterior Rehabilitation (1991)” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since moving to Kensington in 1983, I has been collecting and sharing the local history through articles, handouts, maps, books (“Kensington History: Stories & Memories” & “Workshop of the World Revisited”), and the website Workshop of the World—Philadelphia

I have given presentations at local libraries, churches, institutions, the Union League of Philadelphia (“The Elusive Thomas Dolan” and “Union Goods, illustrated stories of manufacturing by Union League members in Philadelphia during the Civil War (1861-1865)“), and recently at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (“Colonial History of Shackamaxon & Kensington, 1664-1777”). 

For years I have led tours of historic and industrial sites, including “Kensington & Frankford — Textiles, Metals & Beer” for the Society for Industrial Archaeology National Conference (2007)

In 1995, Ken Milano and Rich Remer started the Kensington History Project. This grew out of a collaboration with Harry Silcox, the former Principal of Lincoln High School, who asked us to work with middle and high school students plus senior citizens on an “intergenerational service learning project” focused on the history of Kensington. The result was edited by Harry Silcox and Jamie Catrambone and published as “Kensington History: Stories & Memories” (Brighton, 1996).

Ken, Rich and I continued with presentations at local libraries, institutions and in significant buildings, always encouraging neighbors to bring and share their mementos. These presentations have been well covered in the local Star newspaper since 1995. For years, Ken has researched and written the weekly “The Rest is History” column for the Star.

Our research on Kensington and outreach was published in “Pennsylvania Legacies, (Nov. 2002)” published by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Based upon all our research on Kensington at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Ken, Rich and I prepared the first finding guide to those resources, “Kensington: A Bibliographic Guide.

All these activities definitively prove that Torben Jenk, Ken Milano and Rich Remer were interested in the history of Kensington long before gaming was proposed, and that interest will continue long after this Sugar House Section 106 process is over. 

During our extensive research, we did find historic references to the problem of gaming by the British Army during their occupation of Philadelphia, from John Jackson, With the British Army in Philadelphia 1777-1778 (Presidio 1979), p. 211-13:

“Ewald asserted that City Tavern was the largest of the gambling clubs; its bank always consisted of 1,000 guineas. Observers noted an ‘extravagant rage for play’ and believed that high-ranking officers encouraged young officers to gamble for high stakes, sums they could not afford to lose. Ewald said, ‘More than once I have seen 50,000 dollars change hands – where some made their fortune but many their ruin.’ Peebles visited the rooms and ‘saw much gambling going on as usual, a great deal of money lost & won this winter.’ Peebles, a small gambler, admitted playing dollar whist at the room and winning eight dollars. Colonel von Wurmb reported, ‘We have parties and gamble, whereby every night 700 and 800 pounds are lost and won.’ Apparently as a gesture, the bank permitted the players to win all the money on the table on the final night of play, 30 April. Peebles said the bank’s net winnings for the season were ₤7,000.

“The harmful effect of gambling on the British army was evidenced by the ruin of many officers. Deeply in debt as a result of their losses, they were forced to sell their commissions, usually to less qualified individuals. Ewald said, ‘Some even shot themselves out of desperation.’ Charles Stedman, a native Philadelphian and British officer with a deep-rooted prejudice against Howe, deplored the loss of numerous honorable officers who might have rendered great service to Great Britain.”

Because this gambling information does not relate to archaeological investigations at the SugarHouse site, it was not included in reports or correspondence.

McKenna’s and Kratzer’s own reports prove that they have no clue where Batchelors Hall stood.

October 1, 2008
Follow Terrence McKenna’s & Judson Kratzer’s flip-flops:

 “The Scull and Heap map depicts buildings standing along and west of Point No Point Road near Gunnar’s Run. The building labeled “Hall” is Batchelor’s Hall, … Based upon a visual review of the Scull and Heap map, it appears the two men went to some trouble to provide a level of accuracy in the sketches of buildings they drew on their map. There are distinct differences among the the various buildings, suggesting an attempt at accurate portrayal of massing and detail as much as a sketch will permit.” (Judson Kratzer, Feb. 2008)

“Mr. Jenk’s comment infers that A.D. Marble failed to address this issue and completely ignored the possible historic presence of this structure. … The fact of the matter is that the possible historic presence of Bachelor’s Hall was addressed in the A.D. Marble reports, and that A.D. Marble performed subsurface investigation activities in the reported, possible former location of Bachelor’s Hall. No evidence of the former Bachelor’s Hall was found to be present on the subject Site.” (Terrence McKenna, May 6, 2008).

“Furthermore, while the Scull & Heap map may not be scalable, it seems highly unlikely that the two cartographers and surveyors from the city would incorrectly map the location of such an important Colonial Philadelphia building on the wrong side of the road.  Scull & Heap clearly depict the building west of present-day Delaware Avenue… An advertisement from the 14 July 1763 edition of The Pennsylvania Gazette appears to provide the best locational information about Batchelor’s Hall. Based upon A.D. Marble’s investigation the USACE can be comfortable that the former Batchelor’s Hall was not located on the SugarHouse Casino site.” (Terrence McKenna, Aug. 1, 2008).

First it was thousands of feet away “near Gunnar’s Run,” then they looked for it on the “subject Site,” but now it was “not located of the SugarHouse Casino site.”
Eighteen months into this “archaeological investigation:”
  • Neither Terrence McKenna nor his revolving-door of Principal Investigators at A.D. Marble (three so far) have found any manuscript maps, surveys or deeds for Batchelors Hall — NONE.
  • McKenna and the Principal Investigators always rely on vague second, third and fourth-hand info, or maps described as “wall hangings.” Don’t they know how to do research in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, City Archives and other institutions? 

Torben Jenk, Ken Milano & Rich Remer have delivered over ten deeds, surveys, land partition and road petitions for Batchelors’ Hall. McKenna and the Principal Investigators continue to dismiss this primary-source evidence.