At Olde Bulltown, the emphasis is on traditional building practice and authentic details dating from the 18th and 19th centuries—proving that they still do build ’em like they used to. Stoltzfus Enterprises, a custom builder, has taken on community building in Elverson, not far from the Main Line and Philadelphia.
They were able to acquire portions of the historic Thomas Bull property, including the barn, and saw a chance to re-construct a village on a vernacular plan closely resembling the town of Warwick, founded by Thomas Bull and inhabited by his descendants well into the 20th century. The old village had slowly faded as gristmills and general stores closed. The historic Bull Mansion is adjacent to the village entrance. So far, 37 homes have been constructed; Thomas Bull was a stonemason who used Chester County fieldstone in his buildings, as does Stoltzfus.
The core of the new village incorporates residential adaptations of such mercantile buildings as a blacksmith shop and schoolhouse. “Clients appreciate the traditional architecture and the finishes and furnishings selected,” says Merle Stultzfus. “Some have restored period homes in the past; others couldn’t see themselves in the midst of renovation.”
The landscape of southeastern Pennsylvania is dotted with stone and brick farmhouses that look like they’ve been there forever. Given the area’s history, that’s not surprising. These houses reflect a building tradition that started in the late 17th century and remains very much alive today.