This is an outline story about men and women with vision who
worked to make the place where they lived a very family-oriented community
centered on children. Now we all enjoy
the fruits of their labor and below is the story of how it all began, how it
grew, where it is now and where it is going in the future.
Opening Day - Super Sunday, April, 1979
Prior to and including 1962, a handful of neighborhood boys
from Uwchlan Township played baseball in Downingtown
and Chester Springs…on Hallman Field.
In 1963, Sam and Maude Windham and Paul and Ethel Otter
organized "Lionville Leagues Association”.
There were two teams of boys ages 8-13 and one girls team called the
"Dandy-Lions”. The Otter family donated
two fields in a cow pasture on the West Side of Rt. 113 - where Calvary Fellowship Church
now stands. The teams traveled to Eagle,
Chester Springs, Glenmoore, Exton, and Honeybrook. The fields flooded often so the teams moved
across the street to the front of Lionville
Elementary School - where
girls softball Ages 6 to 8 now play.
An Early LYA Baseball Team
In 1964, another field on the East Side of Rt. 113 and Devon
Drive next to the home of Harry and Beth Dewees, was donated by the Otters and
became known as Otter Field A. The field
was regulation size with a grass infield, a small metal backstop, and a snow
fence around the outfield. This field
was used until 1978 when it was dismantled after the purchase of the Hoffecker
property for the new Lionville
Park. Although the field
is gone, the Downingtown Area
School District bought
the property as part of the new East campus.
The old Dewees house on this property (circa 1927) was rented and
renovated ($40,000) by LYA and Uwchlan
Township for use as a
meeting place and storage facility.
By 1966-67 - there were 120 boys. O.J. Ashinhurst was
elected President and in 1967, two major teams and six minor teams were
organized to play in the "Twin Valley Pony League”.
In 1968 – there were 134
boys and a budget of $3200.
1969 LYA Yearbook
Otter Field A was upgraded with 80’ telephone
poles and new fencing, a new backstop and better infield. The Association
formed its own league.
• There were
195 boys on (6) major teams and (6) minor teams and (1) Babe Ruth team playing in Downingtown.
Ashinhurst’s committee were Dick Irrgang, Dick Ehmer, Tony Marra, Dick Stretch,
and Dick Montgomery. The operating budget was $2,799.00
The 70’s – The Development Explosion
In 1970 – a milestone year
The Downingtown School District granted Lionville Leagues
permission to develop scraped DASD property on Devon Drive - next to Otter
Field A. The land was leased for 99 years from the DASD. Maude Windham executed this lease. The two parcels of pie-shaped land became
available when Devon Drive
was cut through to Rt. 113 to gain entrance to the new Lionville Junior High
School. Phil Clark provided the bulldozer to
clear the land.
received an official Charter #283-2324 from Little League International in Williamsport,
after lengthy negotiations with the Exton area. Lionville Leagues became Lionville Little
assigned to this charter were: Uwchlan, Upper Uwchlan, West
Pikeland, Wallace, North East Caln, & Part of East Brandywine.
There were 223 boys on 18 teams.
Prusack was President.
• Field B and
Field C were under construction with wooden 2x4’s, chicken wire backstops and
outfield snow fences.
• Tony Marra
became LL District 23 Administrator.
The organization concentrated on raising money for more
fields. They sold candy, wrapping paper,
coupon booklets and sent kids through the neighborhood collecting money on Tag
Day. They held dances and operated a
small card table concession stand. They
had grand visions of expanding into other recreational areas such as – indoor
soccer, track and field, tennis, football, and volleyball and even envisioned a
swimming pool. However, 200 kids had grown to 495 kids and the fear of turning
kids away as the community grew kept the committee concentrating on the
business at hand. "Find more fields” was
the battle cry.
• Field B and
Field C were completed with sodded infields.
• A new
field, FIELD D, was added at the new Lionville
Junior High School and
was assigned to boys minors. FIELD E in front of the school was assigned to
rookie boys. The year ended with a surplus of $64.88.
• In October,
Dick Montgomery was elected President.
Jack Carbutt reported: with all bills paid the balance was: $55.32
began on a need for a senior league for baseball. Paoli and Malvern asked Lionville to join
Auxiliary held the first of many Dinner-Dances to raise money for new
fields. LYA held its first family
In 1972 – A milestone year
International ALL STARS won the District 23 and Section 4 Championships, ended
up 4th in the State and was listed as one of the top 100 teams in North America. –
Manager Tony Marra and Coach George
Watts. During the tournament season, Tom Watts pitched a 1, a 2 and 3 no-hitter
ball games and averaged 13 strikeouts per game.
Waiboer introduced a 2nd sport- girl's
softball to the organization - and was assigned to new Field B and Field F
behind Lionville Elementary.
• Field C
came on line for boys minor leagues. LYA
now had 6 fields – Fields A-B-C-D-E-F
• 530 youngsters
were involved. Expenses were:
$8,430. The organization was now calling
itself Lionville Youth Athletic Association.
• John Mathis
and Earl Fetzer introduced a 3rd sport in February – WINTER BASKETBALL.
• There were
475 boys in baseball and 232 girls in softball on 42 teams and a budget of
$8300. In February, the organization was
in the hole $1200.
League International in Williamsport
used the Lionville softball program as a model.
• A small
concession stand (upgraded from a card table) was built by Roger Bull next to
Field B ($450 for lumber and electricity).
Water was carried in fresh every day in gallon milk jugs. Profit for the
year selling coke and candy was $400.
Seymour was elected President and launched a major fund-raising campaign to
raise money for new fields, improved equipment and to develop new programs.
were formed to develop an umbrella organization to develop more sports
In 1974 – a milestone year
Youth Association, Incorporated filed papers with the State of Pennsylvania and became
an umbrella organization to expand into other sports. Lionville Little League. Inc. was now under
the umbrella of LYA.
• The first
Board of Directors had 17 members. President Paul Seymour, Chairman of the
Board Jack Waiboer, VP’s Bud Wenk & Don Wix, O.J. Ashinhurst, Joel
Gramling, John Kinyon, John Mathis, Elmer Duckinfield, Roger Bull, Shelby
Clifton, Illa Waiboer, John Faust, Tony Marra, Bob McKee, John Long and Alex
Urban. Vince Forgione was appointed Treasurer and Phyllis Duckinfield was
• Alex Urban
and Joel Gramling drafted the new constitution and by-laws. Urban and TV Guide designed the new LYA logo
with a child’s face in the "L”. The
colors would be Columbia Blue and White.
Waiboer introduced a 4th sport in September –FALL SOCCER with 89 boys in Grades
4-5-6 playing at Lionville
Junior High School. Illa Waiboer was President of the Ladies
Auxiliary. The Waiboers are Sue Ashinhurst's parents.
Volunteers Building The First LYA Soccer Goals with PVC
• There were
20 teams in Basketball – serving 275 players.
Softball – 200, Baseball – 320.
Registration fees were $5 per player.
There was no reserve treasury, but there were 70 commercial sponsors.
• The LYA
Board appointed a PARK COMMITTEE to develop plans and financial support for
building a permanent recreation facility in Uwchlan Township. Members were: Paul Seymour, Dorothy Foster,
Alex Urban, Frank Cacchione, Chic Daly,
Bud Wenk, Joe Oakes and Don Spawn. The
proposal urged township officials to buy 25 acres of land for a park complex at
"today’s prices” ($2500 an acre) stating that "land will never be less
1. The field
committee announced Uwchlan
Township would acquire
permanent Park land for athletic fields.
LYA pledged to raise money for its development and did in fact raise
(co-ed) added leagues for Grades 7-8-9 and 10-11-12
3. Clair Koser
introduced LYA 5th sport – LYA WRESTLING – as a second winter sport with 39
young men. His son Glenn Koser went on
to become a State Champion, DHS varsity wrestling coach and is presently
Varsity wrestling coach in West Chester.
4. PEEWEE Co-ed
Soccer for Grades 3-4 was added on two small fields in the outfields of Fields
B & C. Soccer had 240 players.
Basketball - 350 players.
5. Al Foster
replaced Elmer Duckenfield as field manager and a field expansion committee was
formed. Andy DeMark was hired to cut the grass and repair fields.
6. Don Wix and
Harry DiDonato chaired an all-day FUN FAIR
on the Field B outfield to raise money for new fields. There were 15 booths of games and food.
Editorial in 1975 East Branch Citizen Newspaper
• A new
baseball Field was constructed in West Pikeland
at Hallman Field by Chairman of the Board Jack Waiboer. The field had been used
in the past by a Chester Springs team, but was abandoned and overgrown. The field was totally renovated by hand with
a rototiller and a lot of hand
raking. The broken-down old wooden
dugout shelters were removed at the request of the insurance company.
• Two Fields
were built at Uwchlan Hills Elementary (H & I) Dorothy Foster supervised
the renovation of a baseball and soccer field at Pickering Valley Elementary.
• LYA built a
loft in the Uwchlan
Township old barn to
• Uwchlan Township received $15,000 from HUD to
purchase 4 acres of parkland next to Field B…the Hoffecker apple orchard -
which would be used for a parking lot.
• LYA bought
its first official flag.
Paul Seymour, serving his 3rd term, reported an operating income of $29,549.07
with $8300 put in reserve for field development.
LYA Proposal For Land Improvement on Downingtown School District Property - October 12, 1976
1. Uwchlan Township
purchased 21 acres of land ($143,000 in revenue sharing money) from Louise and
Joe Hoffecker for a Township
Park. LYA committed funds to build 3 baseball
fields and one soccer field in the park.
doubled to $8,000 – the field reserve was $14,000. A new baseball field was developed in Acker Park.
LYA now had 11 ball fields.
Wrestling hosted its first Wrestling Tournament. Bell Telephone donated a 30x30 storage
building via Bud Wenk
4. LYA Booster
Club held its 7th "Beef N Beer” Dinner Dance at Sts. Philip and James. Tickets
With the prospect of having an additional big league field
in Lionville Park, LYA left Downingtown Babe Ruth and formed "a league of its
own” with 9 teams in ages 13-15 under the Senior Little League Banner. It used the varsity baseball field at Lionville Junior High School.
• Don Wix was
Treasurer and Tax Attorney Otto Preikszas obtained a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status
for LYA and enrolled LYA in the United Way Donor Option Plan.
• Field A was
retired… baseball majors moved to Field C.
Baseball and softball shared a common budget
Hankin graded the new park into three tiers and rough grade.
Foster took over field maintenance and was appointed the new park foreman of
DeSantis and crew - with an 8-foot york rake and
hundreds of hand rakers, spent two weeks getting Lionville Park
to final grade and ready for seeding. Sam Matthews seeded the park in October
with machinery from his Milky Way Farm.
• The DASD
waived a $25,000 easement into the park between Fields B and C as they were
invited to use the new senior field for JV home games – JV previously had to
play all away games.
Wrestling purchased its own wrestling mat in Columbia blue and white with the LYA logo in
• LYA Little
League Majors, playing on Field C, won the District 28, and Section 4
Championships and a berth in the State Finals with Manager Tony Marra. Field C left field was extended and got new
• $5,000 was
donated by G. O. Carlson from Downingtown to build a new Little League Field
A. $1,000 grant from Lukens Steel,
$6,000 revenue sharing from Uwchlan
Township and $2,000
special grant from United Way
was given to the field fund.
McNamara - Troop 23, completed the first Eagle Scout Project in the Park -
cleaning up 12 apple trees covered with poison ivy and vines that divided the
new parking area from the main Park, followed by Eagle Scout Anthony Fiore -
Troop 216 who corrected an erosion problem on the new soccer field bank.
• LYA Softball
began its 8th season – added a senior league for girls 15-18.
• Bill Null,
a volunteer from the wrestling program, installed the NEW Senior Field baseball
fencing by himself - at cost.
McQuillin chaired an all-day sports Olympics to raise money for the Park. Fee:
$1.00 per participant.
• The new 25
acre park got an official name: Lionville Park.
Sunday was held on Field B. New tractor
purchases were featured on the infield. On To The 1980's