Ardmore Resident Wins Philadelphia Marathon

I was out of town this weekend, but I just heard that Ardmore resident Michael McKeeman won the Philadelphia Marathon yesterday! The 36-year-old posted a time of 2:17:47. Congratulations, Michael! Here are some links to articles about Michael and the marathon:

Philadelphia Inquirer

Main Line Times


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Weekend Roundup: November 2-4, 2012

Happy November! I’m so glad to see the sun rising in the sky this morning after a stormy and cloudy week.

November 1st sun in the sky from my driveway

Looking to finally get out of the house this weekend? Go for it! Check out some events around town this weekend:

Friday, November 2

Marlow (Andrew Whitman, Marina Evans)

  • What? Guitar and singer/songwriter
  • When? Friday, Nov. 2, 6 p.m.
  • Where? Milkboy Coffee
  • More Info: Buy Tickets: $8-10

Splintered Sunlight

  • What?Grateful Dead tribute band
  • When? Friday, Nov. 2, 9 p.m.
  • Where? Brownies 23 East, 23 East Lancaster Ave.
  • More Info: Drink Specials

Saturday, November 3

Anna Krantz

  • What? Vocalist and songwriter with August Lutz (of Levee Drivers), Chelsea Mitchell, and Mariko
  • When? Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m.
  • Where? Milkboy Coffee
  • More Info: Buy Tickets: $8-10

Sunday, November 4

REMINDER: Turn your clocks back at 2 a.m.

Clover Market

  • What? Outdoor market with 100+ vendors selling art, items for the home, jewelry, and other items
  • When? Sunday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where? In the parking lots off of Cricket Terrace (between Cricket Ave. and Rittenhouse Place)
  • More Info: The market is open rain or shine
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Happy Halloween

I hope this post finds you all safe and sound after Hurricane Sandy came through on Monday. I know many people have been dealing with power outages, damage to homes and cars, and other issues, so I hope you are hanging in there if you are experiencing lingering storm issues. Stay safe!

I wanted to share a quick update on Halloween tonight in Ardmore. Lower Merion Township has recommended that Halloween be postponed until Sunday, 11/4, to keep kids and families safe because much of the township is still in clean-up mode. The detailed statement is below.

Lower Merion Township Halloween Statement

For those of you in the Haverford Township section of Ardmore, I haven’t heard anything about whether Halloween will happen. I’m trying to find out and will post an update if I can. Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

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A Milkboy Morning

Do you have moments when a simple cup of coffee feels like a luxury? I’m there right now. With all the things I’m juggling at the moment—a recent promotion at work, graduate school, my husband and family—a nice cup of coffee that I don’t have to gulp down between meetings is an indulgence these days.

My brother and I are both so busy right now that we’ve started meeting once a week at the only time of the day when we can steal some time to visit: breakfast. This morning, our breakfast date was at Milkboy Coffee at 7:15 a.m. As we move farther into fall, I’m leaving when it’s still dark out to meet him, like I did as I walked through Ardmore this morning.

A dark morning in Ardmore on Wynnewood Ave.

As I made my way to Milkboy through the overcast morning, the sun started to light up the sky.

Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Ardmore as day breaks

I had a lovely hour visiting with Kevin, sipping delicious coffee, and nibbling on a buttery croissant. It was a great way to start what will be a hectic day!

A Milkboy Morning with My Brother

What’s your favorite way to start the day? Leave a comment and let Around Ardmore readers know!

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Resident Profile: Gillian Pokalo

On Friday night, I had the chance to meet local artist Gillian Pokalo at the Main Line Art Center, where she was displaying her work. She’s an Ardmore resident, and her work frequently features Ardmore and buildings in town. She’ll be selling her work today at Clover Market. Check her out!

Gillian Pokalo with her work at Main Line Art Center

  • Name: Gillian Pokalo
  • Occupation: Artist, Teacher at Main Line Art Center, Teacher at Plymouth Meeting Friends School
  • Work: Photo-based, silk-screen monoprints
  • Studied at: Moore College of Art
  • Resident for: 2 ½ years, moved from Bryn Mawr to Ardmore, which she calls the “happening place to be”
  • Originally from: Conshohocken
  • Favorite place in Ardmore: Milkboy Coffee
  • More information:

Piece of Gillian’s artwork

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My House Had Four People Living in It!

One of the things I love most about Ardmore is that it’s an old community. It was founded in 1853 as Athensville and renamed Ardmore in 1873. Part of the charm of this town is the old houses all around. When my husband and I bought a house a few years ago, we were excited to become the owners of an 80-year-old Ardmore twin. We’ve inherited the house and the history that belongs to it.

Rose bush at the back of my house

Rose bush at the back of my house

Earlier this year, the 1940 U.S. census was put online, and in addition to searching for both sets of my grandparents in New York City and McKeesport, PA, I wanted to find the census listing for my house. Who lived in the same rooms I do back before my parents were even born?

After a lot of searching, I finally found my house. Here’s what the census shows about the family:

Census Excerpt for My House

Census Excerpt for My House

  • The head of the household was Walter P. Alexander (age 61).
  • His wife was Adelaide Alexander (age 55).
  • They lived with their son Walter P., Jr. (age 26) and his wife, Hazel L. (age 23).
  • They owned the house, and it was worth $6000.
  • Walter worked at PTC Co., and Walter Jr. worked as a salesman.
  • Adelaide and Hazel were both homemakers.

Isn’t that cool? And don’t you love the women’s names? I was thrilled to get some specifics on the history of our house, and I love to wonder how four adults lived in our three-bedroom twin together!

Interested in finding your own house or another building? Check out the online census at  Here are some tips for searching:

  • The records aren’t searchable by name yet, although that’s supposed to be available at some point. You have to search by location. The site has online forms to help you find the district your house or the building you’re searching for is in.
  • Don’t assume just because you found a page with your street or a house near you that your house will be in a logical order. Census workers went door to door then, so if people at a specific house weren’t home, they just skipped the house and went back later.
  • Be patient! I had to go through five or ten sets of records with multiple pages to find my house. Think of it as a scavenger hunt.
  • Have fun!

If anyone takes the time to look for an Ardmore house, let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

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Art and Community at The Chalk Mob

Earlier today, I had a chance to stop by The Chalk Mob, a collaborative art project between artists and the community, going on at Linwood Park. The day was partially overcast and windy, but the weather didn’t stop residents from taking part in this unique event.

Kate Galer, President, Friends of Linwood Park, said that the idea for this collaboration started with just a simple sidewalk chalk day in the park. From there, Todd Marrone, an art teacher at Welsh Valley, who has displayed his artwork in the past at Milkboy Coffee, took the premise a little farther: professional artists could draw the outlines for the art and community participants could fill them in with color, creating a temporary piece of artwork for the park. And so the event was born.

Galer said that recent arrests in the news for chalk drawing, including a mother arrested in Virginia for allowing her daughter to draw with chalk in a park, made this event particularly timely. “We want to encourage people to be creative” here at Linwood Park, Galer said. She went on to say that chalk art “is not graffiti, and the chalk washes away.” Part of the purpose of this event is to encourage residents to create art in Linwood Park any time, something that allows kids and adults to come together.

Two local Ardmore artists were involved in producing some of the art: Deidre Murphy, a professional painter who works at the Main Line Art Center and teaches painting and drawing at Penn, and Emily Selvin, a stained glass artist. They are good friends and working to try to create a more visible artists’ community in Ardmore, so this event was a natural fit for them.

Children whizzed around the park, from head toe in sidewalk and liquid chalk. Their dirty clothes, hands, faces, and feet were evidence that the project was a hit. As I was getting ready to leave, a group of children stood around a drawing and chanted in shrill, high-pitched voices, “make a mess, make a mess, make a mess!”

And they did—a unique blend of colored chalk drawings that evolved over the day. Check out some of the photos of the artwork below.

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Weekend Roundup: October 5 – 7, 2012

Check out some great events happening this weekend in Ardmore:

Friday, October 5

First Friday: Howl-o-Ween

  • What? Dog costume contest, prizes, and food
  • When? Friday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m.
  • Where? Cricket Ave.
  • More Info: FREE

The “9” Songwriter Series

  • What? Touring live music showcase with solo singer songwriters
  • When? Friday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m.
  • Where? Milkboy Coffee
  • More Info: Buy Tickets: $8-10

Saturday, October 6

Chalk Mob

  • What? An artist and community collaboration to create a temporary art installation in the park
  • When? Saturday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where? Linwood Park, Athens & Linwood
  • More Info: FREE

The Nerve

  • What? Melodic rock group
  • When? Saturday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.
  • Where? Milkboy Coffee
  • More Info: Buy Tickets: $10-12

Sunday, October 7

Ardmore Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast

  • What? Benefit for Merion Fire Company of Ardmore
  • When? Sunday, Oct. 7, 7 a.m. to noon
  • Where? Merion Fire Company, Greenfield Ave.
  • More Info: Tickets: $7

My pick for the weekend? I’m going with the Chalk Mob in Linwood Park because it sounds like a unique and fun event for adults and kids alike! Here’s hoping the weather clears up, so it’s a nice day to create some art with liquid chalk.

Hope to see some of you around this weekend! Continue reading

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Lower Merion High School: One of the Best

One of the main draws of the Montgomery County part of Ardmore (northeast of County Line Road, which divides Montgomery and Delaware Counties) is always Lower Merion School District. For years, it’s been one of the best districts in the region, and October’s issue of Philadelphia Magazine calls it one again. The cover story of the issue is “Best High Schools,” and it ranks the top 100 public schools in the Philadelphia region. Lower Merion is ranked #2, just behind Masterson in Philadelphia.

Lower Merion High School

Lower Merion High School on September 30, 2012

Here are the key stats for Lower Merion High School, according to the article:

  • Number of Students: 1,259
  • Percentage of Students that Go to College: 93%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
  • Instructional Spending Per Student: $16,661

Some other interesting numbers to share. Lower Merion High School is the top performing high school in Montgomery County, its teachers have an average of 16.4 years of teaching experience, making them third overall, and its students have the third highest combined SAT scores at 1748.

If you live in the Delaware County part of town, like me, your district is Haverford. Haverford ranks #60 on the list, with 70% of kids going onto college and a student to faculty ratio of 20 to 1.

Great information for current residents and people considering a move here. Interesting stuff!

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Get Ready for the Weekend!

It sounds like this weekend will be mostly nice so make sure to take advantage and have some fun. Check out the weekend events around town:



  • 2nd Annual Ardmore Oktoberfest:
    • What? Outdoor festival with beer, food, music, and children’s activities
    • Where? Cricket Ave. between E. Lancaster Ave. and Athens Ave. Road is closed for the event.
    • When? Noon to 8 p.m., rain or shine
    • Why? Oktoberfest beer like Spaten, Polaner, and Haker Pschoor or great German food like bratwurst and sauerkraut. For kids, moon bounce, face painting, and pumpkin painting.
  • Vahe Sarkisian & Marian Call, 8 p.m., Milkboy Coffee, tickets $8-10
  • Brent Christopher, 8 p.m. – midnight, John Henry’s Pub, no cover

Enjoy the weekend!

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