marooned and desolate in frazer: lockwood mansion (“loch aerie”)

There is a mansion which has fascinated me for years.   A giant Victorian creature, marooned and perched on an island of land in Frazer, PA along route 30, a/k/a Lancaster Avenue a/k/a Lincoln Highway.   You also see it when you go into Home Depot.

Every time I see the mansion I look for signs that either someone has bought it, or someone wants to tear it down.  It deserves to be saved as it is a truly magnificent structure.

I learned more about the house thanks to a You Tube video I am posting.  It should be preserved.  It’s very cool.  It is also of the designs of Addison Hutton .  Once upon a time a few years ago, I was on a committee that saved a house called Beechwood, on the Lower School Campus of the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr.  It was also an Addison Hutton house.

Anyone have any stories to tell on this house?  The Daily Local wrote about it a couple of times in 2010

Am I to gather from another article sent to me that was also in The Daily Local that this poor house is owned by the Tabas Family?  Hmmm, I knew Susan Tabas Tepper growing up, knew about the Downingtown Inn, Mickey Rooney’s Tabas Hotel, Twelve Casars, and Riverfront and City Line Dinner Theaters, but not this.  Are they going to let this just rot?  Why don’t they restore it and sell it?

Lockwood Mansion owners reject bid

Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010

By GRETCHEN METZ, Staff Writer

The Lockwood Mansion is going back on the market.
The seller, the Estate of Lockwood Mansion, a Tabas family trust, turned down the winning bid of $720,000 by a New York businessman.

The bid was too low to satisfy the family, said Robert L. Dann, executive vice president at Max Spann, an Annandale, N.J., real estate and auction company that handled the sale.
The auction was held at the estate May 27. The sale was contingent on the approval of the seller.
Shekhar Gioyal, a telecommunications executive, said he was the top bidder. The day of the auction, he said when he heard about the property, he decided to bid based on the building and location. His plan was to maintain the exterior of the 1865 limestone structure and convert the interior space into commercial use
Dann said the Tabas family wants to sell the property for more than $1 million. However, the family has not agreed on a listing price and until they do, Dann said he cannot put the 2.1-acre property back on the market.

Here is the delusional offer sheet on the house – apparently it is the listing of a Keller Williams guy in Exton named Bob Liberato.  He needs to buy a clue and a better head shot.  The property is listed at $2,250,000?  And oh yes, it can be yours as a commercial rental for $20 a square foot – you know I guess they just aren’t worrying about reality getting in the way of the economy, right?

In my humble opinion, the owners don’t care about this mansion, or its history or the fact that it was a work product of an incredibly famous Philadelphia architect.  Mind you this is what is wrong with the corridor along which it sits.  Drive up through Paoli and beyond – through to Frazer, Exton and beyond and  you will see a lot of pretty amazing structures just rotting.  And in between them are hodge podge commercial developments dotting the landscape with no thought to planning whatsoever.  (Another rotting structure I have always been curious about is the house so falling in on itself it is dangerous either right next to or near Clews & Strawbridge.)

I also found a very cool slide show on Flickr .  You know what is crazy?  This is exactly the kind of structure that should be on The National Trust for Historic Preservation watch list.

They don’t build ’em like Loch Aeire / Lockwood Mansion anymore .  But much like La Ronda in Bryn Mawr once sat rotting in her faded glory, so does this home.  And generally speaking, people either don’t care, or only care when it is too late.

I dub Lockwood Mansion the La Ronda of Malvern.   May we only hope her ultimate fate is not so horrible as La Ronda’s was.

15 thoughts on “marooned and desolate in frazer: lockwood mansion (“loch aerie”)

  1. Carla, thank you for this post. For over 20 years, I have wondered about this house — every time I go to Home Depot, I think how absolutely sad for this house. The video and history is fantastic, really — thank YOU for sharing it!!

    • Pattye you are welcome. You know me and old houses. Call this Frazer’s La Ronda. There is also a cool Victorian apparently located at the intersection of South Whitford Rd and Clover Mill Rd in Exton.

      • The house at S. Whitford and Clover Mill is what my family always called “the scary house” growing up. I pass it every time I head to Exton from Downingtown… doesn’t freak me out anymore, but it does still kind of look like it should be the setting for a horror movie! I don’t think I’ve seen this mansion, though.

    • Whoever owns this house are selfish, money hungry and crazy to let this old house be lost to the weather and eventually vandals . Sad , sad , sad !!!

  2. Pingback: maybe loch aerie is chester county’s la ronda? | chestercountyramblings

  3. Pingback: lockwood mansion in photos… | chestercountyramblings

  4. I always loved this place and it is very sad to see it being jostled by a Home Depot parking lot! My wife and I used Loch Aerie as the subject of a gingerbread house for a contest that was sponsored by the Exton Mall in the mid 80s. If you’re interested, I have a small post about our gingerbread Loch Aerie. It won first place that year.
    Thanks for your post!

  5. I remember this house very well from when I was a kid. My aunt used to care for the 2 sisters who lived there. She was their night time nurse. I recall one evening she forgot her keys and called her son to bring them to her. I went with him because I loved that house. It was starting to storm. We went to the front door and stepped inside just as the lightening hit something and the lights went out. My cousin was scared of this house for some reason. I never heard a grown man scream like that before or since. I am saddened to see the condition of the house. It used to be so grand. And now it is invaded by Home Depot. I grew up on King Rd and went to, what used to be, Immaculata College, it’s a shame to see how things have been built up and commercialized. I moved to Florida over 20 years ago, most likely would never recognize that area at all now.

  6. My families home is located on prospect avenue. i’m in my fifties now but I had an opportunity to meet the sister when they lived in their fathers home. Most families in the area were afraid of the house and what was inside the home. We as children were told to stay away from the home. My father was a rail road worker and we actually have the rail house for our garage. The sister were very nice people. Every time I ride by the home I wish the property would have stayed they way it used to look without Home Depot in it’s back yard. Thank you for bring back so many memories.

  7. Mr. Lockwodd was the inventor of the paper collar. I interviewed one of the Lockwood sisters who still lived in the house in the 1970s as a very young journalist starting out. She told me some remarkable things, such as the story of an early Lockwood male who would throw parties dressed as a woman. The poet James Whitcomb Rily visited the mansion. I did a feature on this house for the Wayne Suburban Times sometime in the mid to late 1970s.

  8. I came across this house(I lovingly call it “my house”) on Pinterest and fell absolutely in love with it. Thanks for the inside tour!

  9. just cross posting this from another post I replied to on Loch Aerie. My uncle leased this property for about 20 years starting in early 80s. I spent the last 2.5 years of high school living there; graduating in 1987. Where the Home Depot is used to have a dilapidated barn. The parking lot used to be a large pond with a fountain large enough to keep a john boat.

    Interesting fact on this house, if you look at the highest point of the house that little room is actually a look out ‘tower’. A spirally staircase leads up to the landing. Just below the landing sits (or sat) a large water vat. In the past, it would be gravity fed with water automatically by a system of piping underground and miles up the hill (to the rear of the property) to a fresh water reservoir. I believe the fountains at one time were fed by this spring as well.

    When I lived there, you could see the reservoir from the road as you drove under the train trestle and up the hill…about 2 miles from the house.

    If you have any questions I can answer, post here and I will reply


    • Do you have any photos of your time spent there? Of the house or the grounds? It is a cool old house and I bet it was a neat experience living in it

      • i’m not sure about pics from when i actually lived there…but i do have tons from my last visit to my uncle before he moved out…fully furnished etc. i think those are from 2002 or so and I made sure to take shots without Home Depot in them. I will however, see if my uncle has his pics of the place digitzed as he had oodles of pics from throughout the years

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