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:
George W. Pyle, Jr. took the above photo in 1963. Next is same room, taken by me in 2016.
Next is another photo taken by George W. Pyle Jr. in 1963. The little dots are basically age spots on the 1963 negatives. What follows is a photo of the same room that I took in 2017.
George Pyle sent me more photos. This morning I have lined up his 1963 photos with my more recent vintage photos taken over the past couple of years.
I do not know what of the ornate plaster work will survive the adaptive reuse in progress, but I imagine what can be saved, will be. It was so badly deteriorated in spots, and in other spots just plain missing.
But it is so cool to see the rooms as they once were. Add to that the juxtaposition in time of when my photos were taken, decades later – 53 years later give or take.
I received a note form this nice man asking if I wanted to see photos he took in 1963 of Loch Aerie in Malvern/Frazer (I say Frazer, but others say Malvern.)
He lived here when he was young and his name is George W. Pyle, Jr.
This is what he had to say about the photos, some of which he sent overnight:
These and all of the photos to follow were taken by me around 1963. I found the Loch Aerie Mansion, LLC Facebook page. It is quite interesting. I saw a picture of the new owner (?) with Eugene DiOrio. Mr. DiOrio has a very nice section on Loch Aerie in his book, “Chester County. A Travler’s Album” I believe that book is out of print but I was able to find an excellent copy, #51, signed by Mr. DiOrio, in 1991 at Baldwin’s Book Barn.
The first picture is a higher quality image of the one you already have. The stairs were not carpeted. There were area rugs in the entry way but bare floors on either side of the staircase. Against the wall on the left was a large and heavy mirrored hat and coat rack with holders for canes or umbrellas on either side of a bench seat.
The second picture was taken standing about halfway up the stairs. On the right side are the bell chimes that were used to call the upstairs or downstairs maid or housekeeper. There is a note safety pinned to the back of the chair on the left. There was a ribbon stretched across the arms at one time. The note said the chair was valuable and shouldn’t be used.
Outside the front door was a mat that had a couple pair of large men’s boots on them. Mrs. Reilly said they put them there to give the impression that men were there and not just two older women.
Mr. Pyle also tells me that in the photos, the dark spots are artifacts on the negatives from development. The last two photos are one of his and one of mine. Just to show everyone what time and neglect causes. Mr. Pyle’s photo was 1963. Mine was 2016 from a similar angle.
I will post any others he might send. Thanks for stopping by!
Things that make you wonder include this.
Why would Janssen Biotech, Inc NOT do their legal advertising for this in a Chester County PA paper? If their office is in Malvern, unless they’ve moved Malvern it’s still in Chester County isn’t it?
Does that seem odd to anyone? I have to ask a question and the question is this is: is it good legal advertising if you don’t advertise in the paper that is the daily paper to the area where this would occur? Or would this just still be considered satisfactory legal advertising, albeit slightly sleazy?
And how will potential discharge affect this creek? The Valley Creek? Wonder what Trout Unlimited thinks?
Doesn’t the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection think that poor East Whiteland has enough going on?
I guess people that live in Chester County are going to have to start looking in Delaware County newspapers too? I just don’t understand why this wasn’t put in The Daily Local News? That is Chester County’s daily newspaper, right?
Here is the raw link to the notice:
A lot of my friends like the cool historic houses and properties around Chester County. It’s not just me.
So above is that once lovely 18th century farmhouse. If my research is correct, it was built in 1734. According to the Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society, Lincoln Highway, Lancaster Pike, Lancaster Avenue was laid out in 1732! (Now I know the place has to be on a historic resources inventory list, but I can’t find that on East Whiteland’s website, although I can find it on one of the little maps on the comprehensive plan.)
I am not sure if the house’s address is 307 or 310 W. Lancaster Pike. Or W. Lancaster Ave. Or W. Lincoln Highway.
Ironically, I have previously photographed this same farmhouse April/May 2013, April 2015, and April 2016.
Looking at the naked acres of it all today makes me wonder what is going on with the property. The trees that were around it are gone, and possibly one of the dead Saabs I remembered on the side of the house. So is it going to be rehabbed or is stripping away the greenery mean it is truly marked for death? Inquiring minds would love to know.
Historic houses seen rotting is never pretty, is it? So Clews & Strawbridge or Clews Boats, what’s up with the old farmhouse?