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Old Posted May 31, 2009, 2:28 PM
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from here with links to photos: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/wh/wharc.htm

Suburban Manors of Late Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia
A listing ordered by architect and date, with houses for which no architect is given at the bottom.

The house/estate names, in capitals as given on the photogarphs, are linked to the images, which should open in a second window. The owner names are linked to a set of rough notes on each, with some specifics gathered on the owner, location, and construction history.

One may also explore the same set of images by location.architect date owner [notes] house name [image link] location

Architect(s)/date/owner/house name/location

Albright, Harrison 1889 Snyder, W. Fred'k. ABEND-RUH Ogontz

Andrews, W. S. 1880 c? Runk, Wm. M. LLANDEILO St. David's

Balderston & Hutton 1870 c? Bunting, Saml., Mrs. EDGEWOOD Sharon Hill

Boyden, A. J. 1885 c? Garrison, D. R. CHEPSTOW Radnor
Boyden, A. J. 1885 c? Mercur, J. Watts NETHERWOOD Wallingford
Boyden, A. J. 1888 Lewis, Herman A. [..] Chestnut Hill

Burns, C. M. Jr. 1883 c? Cook, Richard Y. WYNNEMERE Darby

Chandler, T. P. 1875-76 Page, Joseph Sr. WYNDECLIFFE Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. 1880 Simpson, William Jr. INGEBORG Overbrook
Chandler, T. P. 1880 c? Logan, James A., Judge POGHEGO Bala
Chandler, T. P. 1880-81 Stewart, T. McI. STONE CLIFFE Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. 1880-81 Thomas, George C. GREYSTOCK Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. 1881 Ellis, Rudulph FOX HILL Lower Merion
Chandler, T. P. 1884 Brown, Saml. B. ROSTREVOR Haverford Sta.
Chandler, T. P. 1885 by Page, Jos. Jr. EDGELEY Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. 1885 by Godfrey, Lincoln MELROSE Merion
Chandler, T. P. 1885 c? De Turck, J. G. [..] Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. 1885 c? Townsend, John B. Jr. [Raynham] Overbrook
Chandler, T. P. 1888 Dunn, George G. [..] Chestnut Hill
Chandler, T. P. (alts) 1888 McGeorge, William Jr. THE HIGHLANDS Cynwyd

Collins & Autenrieth 1886 Lea, Charles M. RYLSTON Wyndmoor

Cope & Stewardson 1889 Townsend, J. Barton [Blancoyd] Overbrook

Crump, John 1883 c? Gratz, Lewis C. & Walter [..] Wyndmoor

Day, F. M. 1889 Kennedy, Francis W. ARDSHEIL Bradford Hills

Dilks, A. W. 1882 c? Shapley, Rufus E. HILDAWOLD Wallingford
Dilks, A. W. 1883 c? Gratz, Edward, Mrs. WILLINGTON Wallingford

Eyre, W. 1883 Potter, Chas. A. ANGLECOT Chestnut Hill
Eyre, W. 1884 Newhall, Charles A. [..] Chestnut Hill
Eyre, W. 1886 Pepper, J. W. FAIRACRES Jenkintown
Eyre, W. 1889 Drexel, A. J., Jr. THURSO Lansdowne

Fraser, John 1880 c? Hendrickson, S. A. MAPLE TERRACE Germantown
Fraser, John 1885 by Stewart, Robert HILAIRE St. David's

Furness & [Hewitt] 1873 Furness, H. H. LINDEN SHADE Wallingford
Furness & Evans 1875 c? Rawle, James CASTLEFINN Bryn Mawr
Furness & Evans 1878 c? Montgomery, W. W. LAINSHAW Radnor
Furness & Evans 1880 Welsh, J. Lowber HILL-BROW Wyndmoor
Furness & Evans 1880 c? Earl, Harrison EARLHAM Devon
Furness & Evans 1880 c? Fox, Geo. S. BERTHELLYN Ogontz
Furness & Evans 1880-81 Rhawn, Wm. H. KNOWLTON Fox Chase, Phila.
Furness & Evans 1881 Henszey, W. P. RED LEAF Wynnewood
Furness & Evans 1881 c. Griscom, Clement A. DOLOBRAN Haverford Sta.
Furness & Evans 1883 Roberts, Geo. B. PENCOYD Bala
Furness & Evans 1885 by Thomson, Frank CORKERHILL Merion
Furness & Evans 1885 c? Fox, Caleb F. NATLEIGH Ogontz
Furness & Evans 1885 c? Fox, F. M. FOXHOLM Ogontz

Hale, W. 1881 by Snowden, A. Loudon HAVOD Haverford Sta.

Hazlehurst & Huckel 1885 by Fray, W. F. [Oasis] Ashbourne
Hazlehurst & Huckel 1888 Ayres, G. Ralston [..] Germantown
Hazlehurst & Huckel 1888 Huckel, S. Jr. [..] Germantown
Hazlehurst & Huckel 1888 Chambers, Cyrus Jr. [..] Overbrook
Hazlehurst & Huckel 1888 Gest, J. M. [..] Overbrook, Phila.

Hewitt, G. W. 1885 Coxe, Edwin T. [..] Germantown
Hewitt, G. W. 1885-86 Houston, H. H. DRUIM-MOIR Chestnut Hill
Hewitt, G. W. 1886 Harris, W. T. [..] Cynwyd

Hobbs, I. H. & Son 1881 Barney, Chas D. EILDON Ogontz

Hutton, Addison 1869 c. Gage, D. T. ELM VILLA Merchantville, NJ
Hutton, Addison 1870 Scull, David THE CHESTNUTS Overbrook, Phila.
Hutton, Addison 1870-71 Drexel, Francis A. ST. MICHEL Torresdale
Hutton, Addison 1875 Booth, Jas. C. MIDHOPE Haverford Sta.
Hutton, Addison 1877 Fuguet, Stephen O. SYLVULA Bryn Mawr
Hutton, Addison (alts) 1880 c. Shortridge, N. Parker PENN GROVE Wynnewood
Hutton, Addison 1880 c? Townsend, J. W. [..] Bryn Mawr
Hutton, Addison 1882 Scull, Edward, Mrs. EGERTON HOUSE Overbrook, Phila.
Hutton, Addison 1884-86 Hartshorne, Charles HOLMHURST Merion
Hutton, Addison 1885 c? Crothers, Stevenson ROSLYN HEIGHTS Erdenheim
Hutton, Addison 1885-86 Strawbridge, J. C. TORWORTH Germantown

Johnson, Lindley 1884 Sill, H. M. SHENLEY Germantown
Johnson, Lindley 1885 c? Dougherty, T. Harvey THE PINES Germantown

Kennedy, R. G. 1880 c? Norris, Thaddeus [..] Wynnewood
Kennedy, R. G. 1880 c? Stotesbury, E. T. SULGRAVE Jenkintown
Kennedy, R. G. 1887 by Berwind, Chas. F. MINDEN Wynnewood

Linfoot, Benjamin 1886 Crawford, George L. HOMEACRE Merion

Mason, Geo & Son 1888 Borie, Beauveau CHELTEN Rydal

McArthur, J. 1880 Childs, George W. WOOTTON Bryn Mawr

Pearson, Geo. T. 1880 c? Kimball, Fred. J. RED GATE Germantown
Pearson, Geo. T. 1884 Potter, Wm. [..] Chestnut Hill
Pearson, Geo. T. 1885 c? Stetson, John B. IDRO Ashbourne
Pearson, Geo. T. 1886 Scott, W. H. [..] Germantown
Pearson, Geo. T. 1888 Foulke, Wm. G. [..] Germantown

Price, Benj. D. 1868 c? Baily, Joel J. SUNNYSIDE Lansdowne
Price, Benj. D. 1889 ? Godey, Frank [..] Overbrook

Rogers, T. M. 1890 Harrison, Joseph G. OLD ORCHARD Merion

Sargent, E. A. 1884 Wanamaker, John LIND[en]HURST Jenkintown

Sloan, S. 1870 c? Rhoads, James D. [..] Secane

Slocum, S. G. 1888 Heyl, Geo. A. REDSTONE Rosemont

Smith & Pritchett (alts) 1852 c. Morrell, Edward De Veaux SAN JOSE Torresdale

Wade, A. 1887-89 Elkins, Wm. L. THE NEEDLES Ashbourne

Welsh, P. A. 1875 c? Simpson, William Sr. ASHDALE Overbrook

Williamson, T. R. 1884 Crowell, Geo. G. HAWTHORN Germantown
Williamson, T. R. 1885 c? Johnson, Barclay. PENN CASA Devon
Williamson, T. R. 1887 Campbell, James A. THE MAPLES Merion
Williamson, T. R. 1888 Allen, Frank Olcott ENFIELD Roslyn Heights

Wilson Bros. & Co. 1880 c? McClure, A. K., Col. NORLAND Wallingford
Wilson Bros. & Co. 1880 c? Smith, Edmund STONELEIGH Villanova
Wilson Bros. & Co. 1882-90 Converse, J. H. CHETWYND Radnor
Wilson Bros. 1883 c? Williams, E. H., Dr. WENTWORTH Rosemont
Wilson Bros. 1887 Gest, John B. [..] Overbrook, Phila.

Windrim, J. H. 1883 c? Baird, Thos. E [..] Haverford Sta.
Windrim, J. H. 1885 c? Maury, J. Robb CLOVER HILL Germantown
Windrim, J. H. 1885 c? Belfield, T. B. [..] Narberth

Yarnall, J. K. 1880 c? Bunting, Jos. S. THE HEIGHTS ?
Yarnall, J. K. 1880 c? Harris, Washington GRASSMORE Berwyn

not identified 1730-90 Newbold, John S., Mrs. VERNON Jenkintown
not identified 1810 c? Lucas, John C. CLOVER HILL Wynnewood
not identified 1818 Biddle, Walter L. C. BIDDULPH Radnor
not identified 1820 c? Thorpe, C. N. [..] Berwyn
not identified 1840 c? Pugh, C. E. [..] Overbrook
not identified 1840 c? Gillett, Alfred S THE HERMITAGE Wallingford
not identified 1846 c? Drexel, A. J. RUNNYMEDE Lansdowne
not identified 1848 Walsh, Phil. J. GLADSTONE Lansdowne
not identified 1850 c. McKean, H. P. FERN HILL Germantown
not identified 1850 c? Biddle, Alex. LANORAIE Chestnut Hill
not identified 1850 c? Wright, Jas. A. HAZELBROOK Germantown
not identified 1852 c. Dolan, Thomas LA CAROLINA Torresdale
not identified 1853 c. Dolan, Thomas BEECHWOOD Torresdale
not identified 1855 Massey, Henry V. RIDGTON Torresdale
not identified 1855 c? Potter, Thos., Mrs. THE EVERGREEN[s] Chestnut Hill
not identified 1859 c. Ryerss, R. W. [Burholme] Ryerss.Sta.
not identified 1859 c? Clark, E. W. [..] Germantown
not identified 1860 c. Perkins, N. E. [..] Maple Shade, NJ
not identified 1860 c. Baeder, Chas., Mrs. FULLWOOD Noble Sta.
not identified 1860 c? Whitney, John R. GLENWOOD FARM Bryn Mawr
not identified 1860 c? Justice, W. W. [..] Germantown
not identified 1860 c? Gill, W. B. [Graydon Hall] Cheltenham
not identified 1865 c? Wilbur, H. O. BRYN WOOD Bryn Mawr
not identified 1865 c? Lee, Thomas STONEHENGE Sharon Hill
not identified 1865 c? Folwell, W. H. TWIN OAKS Sharon Hill
not identified 1865 c? Wilson, J. H., Mrs. [..] Torresdale
not identified 1865 c? Mason, Rich'd S. CERN Germantown
not identified 1865 c? Read, Wm. F. [..] Lansdowne
not identified 1868 c. Young, Rich'd OAK GLEN Morton
not identified 1870 c. Cooke, Jay Jr. CHESTNUT WOOD Ashbourne
not identified 1870 c? Price, Thomas C. OAK SHADE Chestnut Hill
not identified 1870 c? Patterson, C. Stuart GRACE HILL Chestnut Hill
not identified 1870 c? Brewster, F. Carroll [..] Germantown
not identified 1870 c? Passmore, E. G. [..] Haverford Sta.
not identified 1870 c? Starr, Edward. THE ORCHARD Jenkintown
not identified 1870 c? Price, S. Harlan. [..] Ogontz
not identified 1870 c? Townsend, John B. Sr. GREYSTONE Overbrook
not identified 1870 c? Fitler, E. H. LUZON Torresdale
not identified 1870 c? Kempton, W. B. [..] Merchantville, NJ
not identified 1873 c. Noblit, Dell. HILLTON Chelten Hills
not identified 1875 c? Hutton, Geo. S. [..] Berwyn
not identified 1875 c? Marsh, Gid. W. [..] Ridley Park
not identified 1878 c? Sylvester, Fred'k. BYTHEWOOD Haverford Sta.
not identified 1880 c? Richards, E. M. ELMHURST Narberth
not identified 1880 c? Griscom, John D., Dr. OAKHURST Haverford Sta.
not identified 1883 c. Roelofs, H. H. RHYLLON Ashbourne
not identified 1885 c? Stambach, S. P. MARK LODGE Haverford Sta.
not identified 1885 c? Flagg, J. Foster, Dr QUARRYEDGE Swarthmore
not identified 1885 c? Butler, J. M. TERRACE HOME Ogontz
not identified 1890 c? Stotesbury, E. T. [..] Germantown

wh/wharc.html; last rev. =20 July 00
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Old Posted Jun 1, 2009, 2:30 PM
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^ Nice link, Bucks and a good segue into a new photo tour I'm presenting soon.

La Ronda Mansion Remains at Risk

The fate of the ornate 1929 mansion that one architectural historian called “the number one most important building in Lower Merion” remains undecided after the Lower Merion committee in charge postponed its vote until Wednesday, June 3. 

The commissioners did vote to begin work on an amendment to change the building’s status from a Class II to a Class I building.  Class II buildings can obtain a 90-day stay of demolition, but demolition can be denied for Class I.  The delay provides opportunity for the public and local interests to find a way to save the building.  The current owner, listed as a limited partnership called 1030 Mount Pleasant Road, wants to raze the Villanova house and build a 10,000-square-foot, single-family residence. Read more, and find out how you can make a difference here.  Click here for the Alliance's Current News page for links to extensive news coverage.

Church of the Assumption Designated

The Church of the Assumption, 1123 Spring Garden Street, was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places at the May meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Andrew Palewski, a neighborhood resident and preservationist who nominated the 1849 church for designation, presented a petition with more than 400 signatures. Residents of the Callowhill and West Poplar neighborhoods testified about the church's importance as a neighborhood landmark. Architectural historian Michael Lewis highlighted the church's historic significance in the context of Irish immigration and anti-Catholic sentiment during the mid-19th century. The nomination was contested by its owner, the nonprofit Siloam, which bought the deconsecrated church in 2006 and, after exploring options, had intended to demolish it and use the site for open space. A designated building cannot be demolished without permission from the Historical Commission. Read more.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2009, 12:52 PM
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More of La Randa

Officials Postpone Demolition of La Ronda to Find a Buyer
by KYW's Jim Melwert

Posted: Thursday, 04 June 2009 5:26AM

There's been a bit of a reprieve for La Ronda, as the the Lower Merion, Pa. commissioners voted unanimously to impose a moratorium on the demolition of the 80-year-old Bryn Mawr mansion.

The 90-day delay offers an opportunity to find another buyer, according to Lower Merion township board of commissioners president Bruce Reed:

"So the objective now is to rouse those who are interested in preservation of the building to come to its aid with funds to support it's preservation."

Reed says La Ronda was the last major work by architect Addison Mizner -- best known for his work in Boca Raton and Palm Beach, Fla. -- it's the only building of his still standing north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Reed says they've received national interest about preserving La Ronda.

He says the current owners have expressed interest in replacing the mansion with a contemporary, 10,000 foot single family home.

But, he says, they are willing to discuss a sale if a buyer steps forward.

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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 10:03 AM
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The Lazaretto

Third floor interior

Second floor passageway

photo credits: planphilly.com

from here: http://www.planphilly.com/node/5902

By Alan Jaffe
For PlanPhilly

Nearly a century before the immigration station at Ellis Island was built, Philadelphia screened new arrivals at the Lazaretto – a name that refers to the biblically resurrected Lazarus and, since the 15th century, the term for a quarantine station. The 10-acre complex along the Delaware River in Tinicum Township was erected in 1799 to fight waves of yellow fever that decimated the population of the city.

The 200-year-old Georgian structures of brick and wood still stand before ships traveling up the Delaware, the oldest surviving quarantine station in North America. But temporary planks help deteriorating wood columns prop up the sinking porch on the river side of the grand, three-and-a-half-story main building. Abandoned pleasure boats litter the site between the buildings and the water. And a large fire station, catering hall and parking lot block views of the site from the streets of the Essington section of Tinicum.

The site has been owned since 2005 by the township, which reached a settlement with the preservation community during a court battle over construction of the adjacent fire station. As part of the agreement, the Lazaretto Preservation Association of Tinicum Township, a board comprised of three representatives of the township and three from historic preservation organizations, was formed in 2007 and incorporated last June to manage five acres of the site and determine its future.

Official website

The preservation association is working on the creation of its bylaws, getting the organization “fully established,” and overseeing completion of a feasibility study for the Lazaretto, explained Paul Steinke, the representative of Preservation Pennsylvania on the board.

The feasibility study, conducted by the international design firm Stantec, explored several alternatives for the main building: residential use, academic use, such as a charter school, or office space. “The most feasible use is commercial office space,” Steinke said. The building “lays out well for that purpose, and that’s what it will probably end up being.”

The ultimate plan will include an interpretive component that explains the story of the Lazaretto, said Steinke, who is general manager of the Reading Terminal Market. “But we determined it is not feasible to use the entire building for that use. There are too many struggling museums” in the region, he said, and “the lessons are clear to everyone. It needs to have some income-producing component to keep it going.”

Larry Tice, a Philadelphia historian and the Wilbur and Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University, doesn’t agree with the study findings.

“I don’t think office is the best use. It should be a very active use site; it should be available for public activities” and include a large museum component, said Tice.

“I think to consign it to use as an office is to reduce it down to obscurity. We’ve seen too many places converted into office uses, and too frequently that is the end of its public recognition.”

The deep history of the site began long before the Lazaretto was constructed. Native Americans, including the Lenni Lenape, inhabited the beautiful waterfront land more than a century before the arrival of Swedish, Dutch and English settlers to the area in the mid-1600s.

In 1793, the yellow fever epidemic struck the region and killed about 5,000. The Philadelphia Board of Health was formed in 1798, and it erected the Lazaretto over the next two years in the Georgian design that characterized many of Philadelphia’s prominent public buildings when it was the nation’s capitol. The Lazaretto served as the point of entry for all the ships and passengers arriving in the Port of Philadelphia, including thousands of German, Irish and Scandinavian immigrants, until 1893. The ships were detained for 30 days, until the station staff was convinced there was no disease onboard.

In 1800, the Lazaretto also served as a safe haven for Africans found aboard two illegal slave ships captured off the coast of Cuba. The African men, women and children were nursed back to health by the Lazaretto staff, and the Abolition Society of Philadelphia took over their guardianship, according to research by historian Dona Horowitz-Behrend.

From the late 1890s to 1930s, the Lazaretto was used as an athletic club and then as a flying school and seaplane base. Part of the property was leased to the Riverside Yacht Club beginning in 1937. In 1972, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The township has repaired the main building in recent years, Steinke noted. It has fixed leaks, paid for heating of the interior, and replaced broken windows. “It’s pretty well buttoned up and sealed” while it awaits a decision on the re-use plan, he said.

To Tice and other historians, the Lazaretto is the best preserved and most important and accessible location for telling the story of immigration, security and public health issues during the nation’s first century. It could also be “the greatest economic, cultural and focal asset of the township and surrounding area,” he said.

Contact the reporter at alanjaffe@mac.com
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Elstowe Manor

photo credits: planphilly.com

By Alan Jaffe
For PlanPhilly

The banking and credit crisis has cast its shadow over one of the grand manors of the Philadelphia region, Elstowe, the Elkins Park summer estate of oil and streetcar magnate William Lukens Elkins.

Elstowe Manor, completed in 1902, and the neighboring Widener mansion, Lynnewood Hall, were designed by renowned Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer. While Lynnewood has been vacant for years and sits in disrepair, Elstowe retains its glory, inside and out, thanks to its longtime inhabitants, the Dominican Sisters.

But the order, which had used the 42-acre, beautifully landscaped property on Ashbourne Road as a haven and retreat since 1932, found the cost of maintaining the structure and grounds had increased beyond their means, and put the property on the market in 2006. Potential developers considered converting the site into a nursing home or dividing it up.

“There was a previous plan to hack it up for McMansions,” said John Gallery, executive director of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

Those deals all fell through.

An agreement of sale was reached, however, with Food for All, Inc., which describes itself as a non-profit that manages personal care facilities, home services for the elderly, retirement communities, family residences, restaurants and office buildings.

Food for All has had trouble securing the financing it needs to complete the purchase, Gallery said. He and the non-profit are hoping someone will offer help to seal the deal.

While the Dominican Sisters took excellent care of Elstowe, a bad winter could do great damage to the vacant mansion.

David Dobson, executive director of Food for All, said the organization has already spent a million dollars purchasing the contents of the manor after the Dominican Sisters placed the furnishings up for auction. The property is valued at $8.5 million, and the non-profit is “a few hundred thousand short at this point,” Dobson said.

Dobson said Food for All intends to preserve the site and continue to use it as a retreat. “We will make it non-denominational, with a focus on yoga and wellness.” It will also provide public access for educational programs, seminars and conferences.

Maintenance of the property will not be expensive, he said, mainly because of the care given by the Dominican Sisters. “Inside, you can eat off the floors. It’s immaculate. And everything works.”

Trumbauer originally designed a complex of five mansions and subsidiary buildings, including a polo grounds, for the Elkins and Widener families. Elstowe was built in the Italian Renaissance style, and it was decorated with marble pillars, exquisite woods and gold-leafed walls. The 45-room manor includes a grand hall, breakfast and dining rooms, nine bedrooms and three dressing rooms, billiard room, den, library, and art gallery – a well-preserved remnant of the Gilded Age.

Contact the writer at alanjaffe@mac.com.
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Old Posted Aug 3, 2009, 2:01 PM
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Garrett-Dunn House destroyed

Aug. 2

In an ironic and sad twist of fate, the Garrett-Dunn House, which was rescued from ruin through legal action taken by the Historical Commission and Preservation Alliance late last year, was apparently struck by lightning and then destroyed by fire early Sunday.

The iconic and fragile structure was designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, who is recognized as the most important American architect of the mid-1800s. He designed the dome of the U.S. Capitol and reconstructed parts of the Library of Congress. In Philadelphia, where he was born, Walter built Founders Hall at Girard College and the renowned Biddle estate, Andalusia.

The fire, fought by Philadelphia Ladder Co. 18, was so intense it rained debris down on Germantown Avenue.

The loss is apparently total and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The back story: After weathering the elements in a state of disrepair for more than nine months the historic building was buttoned up and readied for rehab earlier this year.

Thanks to the persistent efforts of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the firm JRB Historic Restoration, LLC sealed the windows and doors in January.

Masons were working on restoring the barn in the back of the property and the side porch has been shored up.

In 2008, the owner of the 19th-century structure, Germantown Avenue Holding etal was sued by the City of Philadelphia for building code violations and failure to protect the historic site. The complaint filed by the City Solicitor’s Office sought a fine of $100,000 if the owner did not begin repairs within one week of the order.

The complaint identified the defendants as Germantown Avenue Holding and Hedgebank Partners LP, both of Philadelphia. John Capoferri Properties had been identified as the owner/developer of the planned HedgeBank condominium project at 7048 Germantown Avenue in West Mount Airy. Capoferri told PlanPhilly that he lost financing for the project and ceased construction work at the site in April 2008, after crews had stripped the stucco cladding and exposed the open lathwork. In addition, windows in the rear of the building had no glass and parts of the adjacent barn had been left to collapse.

In its list of violations, the city complaint included “front and side walls deteriorated, rear wall of main building and north wall of barn collapsed, and failure to preserve and protect historic property.”

The Philadelphia Historical Commission had sought to have Capoferri seal and stabilize the building before it sought legal action to force the repairs. Capoferri said in September 2008 that he intended to find new financial backing and to take steps to seal the property before the harsh weather set in. He also said “the structure is not in any way compromised.” Apparently, no work was done since that time, and banners identifying the project and owner have been taken down.

"It’s hard to accept that this lovely building – the focus of hopes for so many of us over the last several years – is gone," said Laura Siena, Executive Director of the West Mt. Airy Civic Association, in an email.

"I am flooded with memories – John Capoferri coming to meet with Lois Frischling, Farah Jimenez and me with a plan for razing the house and barn and replacing it with a suburban-style cul-de-sac of twin houses. Lois moving at breakneck speed to write a history of the house. Teamed with David Schaaf’s excellent architecture description, Lois’ history got us to the Historical Commission. Bruce Laverty’s surprise announcement and documentation of the Thomas U. Walter connection was icing on the proverbial cake. Unanimous addition to the Historic Register followed. We organized a charette with a couple of architects to convince Capoferri to take the architecture of any new development seriously. Larry McEwen participated, and his design brought a lovely modern counterpart to the historic fabric. Then, community meeting after community meeting, and finally, approval of the plan by the ZBA.

"After that, as we know, things fell apart – for the real estate market, for John Capoferri, for the Garrett Dunn. John Gallery and John Farnham spearheaded a heroic effort which got the house wrapped, as demolition by neglect had set in. Then, this.

"From my perspective at the community organization – one lesson is that folks working together can accomplish a lot. Another lesson, sadly, is that things that are out of our control – the real estate market, developers’ personal situations, the weather – can be dispositive."

Plan Philly has photos.
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Old Posted Aug 7, 2009, 3:25 AM
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Some pictures I recently took while in Philadelphia - I lived in Philadelphia for a year, but I was pretty young then and, although it's one of my favorite cities, I'm hardly a local anymore. Still, always love going back there. (All of these photos are mine.)

Nice window somewhere in Center City:

Beautiful old synagogue that's now "the Antiquarian's Delight." If anybody knows the name of the original synagogue, let me know.

Drexel Institute, near 30th St Station:

Nice inlay work on these buildings on South St.:
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Old Posted Aug 7, 2009, 5:28 AM
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Philadelphia has such an eccentric vernacular architecture. NY has ornament, Washington DC has formality, Chicago has brawn, Philly has strangeness. It's really fascinating to me, at least an outsider who's only been twice.
disregard women. acquire finances.
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2009, 12:03 AM
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The La Ronda saga continues

New wrinkle over historic mansion in Philly suburb
The Associated Press
Posted on Thu, Aug. 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - There's a new element to the battle over a historic mansion in suburban Philadelphia that is threatened with demolition.

The former owner of the La Ronda mansion in Bryn Mawr is now claiming he retained salvage rights for the property.

It's not clear whether former owner Arthur Kania's new claim could affect the quest to save the house. A lawyer for the current owners says Kania is mistaken.

The mansion's current owner has a team salvaging items ahead of a planned September demolition.

Meantime, Florida developer Benjamin Wohl has made the current owners a six-figure offer to save the house. He wants to move the 18,000-square-foot, 80-year-old castle-like mansion to a nearby lot.

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Old Posted Nov 9, 2010, 4:11 AM
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