When Oskar Stonorov married Betty Foster, a quiet corner in northern Chester County became the unlikely center for an astounding cast of characters in national and international architecture between 1940 and 1970. Betty's father Frank, president of the Congoleum Company was a progressive thinker and bought over 1,000 acres near Phoenixville. They had come to know Stonorov through his work on the Carl Mackley Houses and commissioned a significant modernist addition to Broadwater Farm in Charlestown Township. Oskar and Betty were married soon after and he designed a modern masterpiece Avon Lea Farm on the foundations of an old farmhouse in 1940. Just after the war he worked with Lou Kahn on a house nearby on French Creek, then with Ed Bacon on his own house, "Little Saffron".
This stunning group of buildings hosted such luminaries as Aavar Aalto and the CIAM Conference in the mid 30's. Later on, Buckminster Fuller and notable figures made the trip to Avon Lea for Stonorov's memorable social and professional gatherings. These buildings and several others remain along the French and Pickering Creeks. The tour will visit Avon Lea, Little Saffron, and Miss Betty's Charlestown Play School also designed by Stonorov.
Guide: Jim Garrison
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