Radnor Fire Company lent a hand Tuesday afternoon in helping Chanticleer Garden with their annual, controlled burn of more than 1.5 acres of sporobolus heterolepis, commonly known as prairie dropseed grass. Radnor fire fighters used road flares to methodically burn portions of the acreage using natural breaks in the landscape and back burning techniques to carefully control the fire.
The grass is native to the tall grass and mixed grass prairies of central North America from Texas to Southern Canada. In western states, the grass is often in the path of natural forest and brush fires and typically has the benefit of the natural burns to help it regenerate in the spring.
Radnor Fire Company has helped Chanticleer with this annual burn for several years. The officers and members of Radnor Fire Company thank the Chanticleer Foundation for their generous support and contribution to the fire company's annual fund drive.
Located on Church Road in Wayne, just off of Conestoga Road, the Chanticleer estate (www.chanticleergarden.org) dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family's pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck & Company in the 1920s.
The Rosengartens hired architect and former classmate Charles L. Borie to design the house, which was completed in 1913. Landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces as extensions of the house. A 1924 addition converted the summer home into a year-round residence and the family moved here permanently.
Adolph and Christine gave their two children homes as wedding presents. They purchased a neighboring property for son Adolph, Jr. and his bride Janet Newlin in 1933. It is now the site of the Ruin. Daughter Emily's house, located at today's visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms.
Adolph, Jr., bought his sister's portion of the estate following her death in the 1980s. He didn't move into the main house, but used it for entertaining and kept it as it was when the family lived there. The house is open for tours by reservation. Adolph, Jr., left the entire property for the enjoyment and education of the public following his death in 1990. A nine member Board of Directors, six of whom are Rosengarten relatives, oversees The Chanticleer Foundation. The garden opened to the public in 1993. There are 20 full-time staff, of whom two manage facilities and 14 are gardeners and groundskeepers.