Late yesterday, almost like the perfect birthday present, George W. Pyle, Jr. sent me more photos of my favorite old lady, Loch Aerie/Lockwood Mansion. The photos came with a note:
These photos were taken in 1991. My family and I were back visiting relatives and I saw some people standing out in front of the house so I took a chance and drove in to speak with them. The person living there with his family at the time was Anthony Alden. Mr. Alden was an architect. He allowed me to walk around the property and take pictures. I have 23 photo total.
Anthony (“Tony”) Alden is an architectural curator who loved Loch Aerie and put buckets of his own money into her from around 1980 until the mid 2000s when he moved out. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2016:
In 1980, architectural curator Anthony Alden moved into a Loch Aerie with boarded-up windows and no heat. He sank thousands into its restoration, hoping to buy it from the Tabases. Alden called it an “undertaking of love” but was unable to reach an agreement with the Tabas family. He moved out in the mid-2000s.
Before he left, Alden joined with a group of residents, environmentalists, and historical commission members who fought to keep Home Depot at bay when it bought land next door to build a store in the mid-1990s. The historical commission negotiated to minimize the impact to the house, Caban said. But its gas works were removed, and the pond and much of its grounds were paved over.
These photos are truly amazing to see and they show Loch Aerie BEFORE Home Depot when the beautiful old fountain still worked and the pond existed. Remnants of the original Lockwood Gardens still existed.
After looking at the photos, and knowing the history which includes two fires (one believed to have been started by vagrants), it is truly a testament to how she was built and her architect Addison Hutton that she survived.
If you drive by Loch Aerie, as I do weekly, you will notice work is progressing nicely. The lovely new owners had hoped to be opened by this spring, but if you have ever lived through an old house restoration or an adaptive reuse, you will know that it takes it’s own time. I am so grateful to the Poirier family for taking on the restoration. It makes me so happy every time I drive by!
Here are the photos: