Zoning Issues Complicate Plan For Oscar Hammerstein Museum in Doylestown

(A 1948 aerial photo of Oscar Hammerstein II's "Highland Farm."  Photo provided by Will Hammerstein)

(A 1948 aerial photo of Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Highland Farm.” Photo provided by Will Hammerstein)

By Brad Segall

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A development battle could be brewing in Doylestown (Bucks County), Pa., where the grandson of legendary lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II has visions of a museum and theater on the five-acre property where his grandfather once lived.

(Oscar Hammerstein II, in publicity photo from about 1940)

Hammerstein wrote many of his famed words at Highland Farm, which is now a bed-and-breakfast.  Will Hammerstein, the grandson, heads up a nonprofit group that wants to buy the farm and turn it into an education center that would offer house tours alongside a 400-seat theater and museum.

Saving the property, he believes, is something people understand and can get behind.

“We have an opportunity to present these pieces of Americana in a way that no one can, anywhere else in the world, and they will never be able to — because we have the power of the place,” Will Hammerstein says.

But not everyone is on board yet.  Three township supervisors have concerns about the theater, and the parking area that would go with it.

Hammerstein goes before the zoning board in two weeks, hoping to get the variances he needs to move forward with the project.

Chris Maroc-Please support this worthwhile endeavor. My grandfather, Rex Stout was a close friend and worked tirelessly with Oscar Hammerstein for numerous causes. Oscar Hammerstein was one of our greatest American librettists, theatrical producers, and theatre directors of musicals for almost forty years. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards.

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