Crow’s Nest: Saying Goodbye to a Conservation Hero

January 14, 2020

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

A couple weeks ago we lost a friend who was an advocate for conservation and historic preservation, Charles Jacob. Charles was a long time Township Supervisor who shaped Warwick Township, Chester County to remain the rural landscape that reflects its history and protects the natural resources of its forests and the headwaters of French Creek. The way our communities look and function today are not accidents—they’re the result of tireless, often thankless work, and Charles was for 30 years there doing it.

Charles was involved in so many projects and was able to be the link between them. He was with the Federation of Northern Chester County Communities, a group that fosters collaboration between local municipalities; you can read a tribute to Charles Jacob on their website. He was a founding member of the Hopewell Big Woods, an effort to protect the largest unbroken forest in southeastern Pennsylvania—and to promote recreation and compatible economic development within it. He was very active with the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association, from the preservation of the buildings at Joanna Furnace to being a history reenactor, to organizing archeological digs (including for kids!) at this historic site.

These were volunteer duties! People would joke, “Which hat are you wearing today?” In his work he was a conservator and restorer of antique furniture.

I’d see Charles at township meetings, at Hopewell Big Woods meetings, and driving the township snow plow in winter and clearing branches with the road crew in the summer (this township’s roads were always the first cleared of snow after a storm). His five kids attended Crow’s Nest Camp when we were just getting started with our programs, and we were always grateful for his support of Natural Lands’ work at Crow’s Nest. Recent projects that benefitted from his work included the preservation of the Pew estate at Warwick Furnace and new additions to protected lands at Crow’s Nest Preserve.

I live in a house at Crow’s Nest that we have always called “the Jacob house,” because it was where Charles grew up as a child (the house itself was actually built in 1817). He always took an interest in the old homestead and told us stories about how he and his brother Walter made the front bedroom into a natural history museum of creatures and objects collected from the farm.

We will miss Charles Jacob, are grateful to have known him, and are fortunate to live in a community that he worked so hard to improve.

Friends are invited for visitation from Noon to 1:30 at Harmonyville Church of the Brethren, 2037 Harmonyville Road, Pottstown, PA. More information can be found in the obituary here.