photos of houses in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
2008 - Houses in Elkins Park
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some photos of the neighborhood where I grew up.
#1 - My parents' house, Elkins Park (a
suburb of Philadelphia)
#2 - Note that every other house was
built in the 1920s-1930s. Then the wide lots were filled in, in the
#4 - A house around the corner.
#5 - Same. Note the garage around
the side of the house, in the basement -- a common design element.
#6 - This is next door to the previous
house. Tall maple trees, probably 80-100 years old.
#9 - Up the street -- One of my favorite
houses in the area. Rear of house. This house is 2 blocks up the
street from my parents' house is on, at the corner of an old straight street
with bigger houses.
#10, 11 - Front of same house, not a
#12 - About 3 houses down from the corner
house, on the street with the big houses.
#17 - Around the corner in the other
direction, the Mediterranean / Craftsman house that started it all for Fred.
If it hadn't been for this house, my interest in 369 Park Avenue might never
have occurred. I walked past this house on my way to elementary
school, and, later, to the bus to highschool. Note the fake beams in
front -- two are missing.
#19 - My parents' house, from the corner.
#21 - Back yard
designed and had this house built in 1960. Prior to that, it had been an
1870s or so, Elkins Park had been one of the areas around Philadelphia for the
very wealthy to build mansions. As the mansions came down, by fire or
unaffordable maintenance by the heirs, subdivisions were put in. Many of
the curved streets, lined with 120-year-old trees, were driveways to the
estates. The first wave of subdivisions were around 1900-1910, then
again around 1930, and then again around 1960.
elementary school that I went to was built in 1892. The principal at my
elementary school had
been my father's highschool English teacher.
high was built in 1910 and 1928. And the high school was built in 1959.
oldest house in Elkins Park (one of the oldest houses in Philadelphia) was
built in 1682. It had been in continuous residence until 1978, and now
is a museum. The only estate owner's names that we might recognize today
are Stetson (of Stetson hats), Breyer (ice cream), and Curtis (Curtis
Publishing: Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal).
miles away from Elkins Park, about a mile from the location of my high school,
was Stotesbury Mansion (Whitemarsh Hall), the 2nd largest house ever built in
the U.S. -- Built in 1921, about 100,000 square feet in size, with
147 rooms and 45 bathrooms and 335 acres of fountains, formal gardens, and
manicured lawns. More than 70 gardeners worked full time on the grounds.
Stotesbury died in 1938, and the building was torn down in 1980.
At the start of World War II, his widow donated the two mile long, eight-foot
tall steel fence to the War Department, to be turned into metal for 18,000
synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is in Elkins Park.
half-a-dozen of the old estate mansions are still standing. Most are
religious retreats, so as to have tax-exempt status. The largest still
present is Lynnewood Hall, with 110 rooms. For info, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynnewood_Hall
Another old mansion, Grey Towers Castle, has become a college. When I was growing up, it was
"Beaver College" but in 2000 the name was changed to Arcadia
University. The popular rumor for the name change is that on the
Internet, searching for the words "beaver college" produced results
that were not appropriate.
University is included as a question in the 20th anniversary edition of Trivial
Pursuit. The question, in the news category, is: What Pennsylvania
institution changed its name to Arcadia University in 2001, after web filters
began blocking its old moniker? The answer, of course, is Beaver College."