Plans For Museum Honoring Oscar Hammerstein II Face Opposition From Locals

News   Plans For Museum Honoring Oscar Hammerstein II Face Opposition From Locals
Plans to convert Highland Farm, the location where Oscar Hammerstein II collaborated with Richard Rodgers, into an education center are facing opposition, The Republic reports.

Oscar Hammerstein II
Oscar Hammerstein II

Will Hammerstein, Oscar Hammerstein II's grandson, hopes to transform the farm, located in suburban Philadelphia, into the Oscar Hammerstein II Music & Theatre Education Center; his plan, however, is opposed by Doylestown Township supervisors and neighbors, who say that the $20 million proposal is too much development for the the 40-acre property. Concerns of nearby property owners include noise, traffic and storm-water runoff, their lawyer told The Republic.

The Republic reports the farm was Hammerstein's favorite place and the location of many collaborations with Richard Rodgers, including The Sound of Music.

Hammerstein's son James attended the local school alongside Stephen Sondheim, who was a frequent guest at the farm, which was sold by Hammerstein's widow following his death. It was recently renovated by Christine Cole as a bed and breakfast, with each room devoted to a different musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Will visited the building in 2010.

Plans for the center include a house tour and a museum exhibit in the barn followed by a performance. A 400-seat venue and a parking lot would be built.

"It could be a full day of learning about this great lyricist and then seeing his work," Cole told The Republic. "You can't have a museum that's static for somebody that wrote musical theatre."

Hammerstein contributed the book and lyrics to musicals including Show Boat, Rose-Marie and Golden Dawn. His many collaborations with Richard Rodgers include Cinderella, Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I, among others.

A zoning hearing will be held Jan. 12.

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